The Shine Journal - The Light Left Behind

Journeys Through Grief and Beyond




Carol J. Rhodes



My first room, the tiny one in which I was born, was filled with baby cries, coos, and giggles. Nothing much decorated the bare plank walls, but my father’s whistling when he walked through the door, and my mother singing me to sleep to the strains of The Old Rugged Cross, or some other hymn was all I needed to know I was loved.


My second room was large enough for napping, games, and the rare tricycle ride inside when it was raining. In those days my father came home for lunch and afterwards I would sit on his lap, listen to the radio, and occasionally sing along with Ernest Tubb’s You Are My Sunshine.


My room in my teen years, which I later shared with a sister ten years my junior, was a tiny one in a war-time, hastily constructed, bungalow. Not much space or place for privacy, but pretty flowered paper on the walls. The country-style curtains gave the room a feeling of pride, warmth and love.


After college and, later on, marriage, my room became our room. Since money, or lack of, was no longer a problem, our room, was tastefully decorated with antiques and lavish fabrics. This quiet retreat was continuously filled with late night small talk, laughter, caresses, and sex.


As years passed. our room remained a peaceful sanctuary, but reading, Scrabble, crossword puzzles, gin rummy, and music became the main activities.


Then, one day, Parkinson’s Disease paid an unannounced visit.


Now our room is once again my room. Maybe still beautiful to others, but to me its walls are cold, empty, and lonely. Years of prayers, tears, time, and money have not been able to change this.




Carol J. Rhodes is a native Houstonian, but has lived in several other cities, and visited many countries around the world. She is fluent in Spanish. Her creative works, short stories, personal essays, poetry, non-fiction, and plays, have been widely published. Included among her credits are The Houston Chronicle, Stroud (England)News & Journal, (newspapers), Country Home, Texas, Good Old Boat, (magazines), book Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend’s Soul, and numerous other journals, anthologies, and business publications. She also is a freelance literary and technical editor, business consultant, and instructor of her popular business writing courses, “Why Not Write It Right?” and “Email Protocol.”  


Contact Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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