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The Hat Stand

Updated on June 17, 2011

A Family Heirloom

Jenny was reading the daily newspaper over breakfast, when suddenly from over the top of her glasses, she looked quizzically at the old mahogany hat stand; situated by the front door in the hallway.

Gathering her thoughts, she remembered happy times when the hat stand stood proudly caressing hats and coats of various sizes and colours. There would have been her mum's favourite anorak, her black woollen scarf and not to mention David's collection of motor bike leathers. Sadly now, scratched and faded, the wonderful effect of the French polish no longer shining, the hat stand only played a gracious host to her dad's brown and grey checked trilby hat.

Jenny gave a little wry smile to herself, as she sucked the stem of her horn rimmed glasses, twiddling them around on her little finger.

"Ah dad we had some fun with that hat, didn't we?" The wry smile now breaking into infectious laughter.

"Do you remember the day at the game fair, when you picked up the feather from the pheasant cock that had run startlingly in front of us, or the day I won that badge for writing the best short story at Secondary School? Or the day David bought you the birthday card with a Best Dad badge on the front, and you pinned it to the side of your hat." Jenny now more sombre, lifted a tissue from the box of tissues on the hall table, and blew her nose.

She ran her fingers lovingly over the stem of the hat stand, down the feet, eventually stopping to run her finger around the rim of Dad's hat. Picking up the hat, holding it with both hands, she pressed it to her face and sniffed. Lightly at first and then with a really deep intake of breath, finding comfort in the smell of her father which remained on the inside rim of his hat.

She muse to herself how such an inane object as a hat stand could capture so many memories. After all it didn't breath and it wasn't alive. But whatever the reason this morning, it had brought Jenny to stand at it's side.

The light from the stained glass window in the front door, danced a ribbon of colour around the hat stand, and from her minds eye, Jenny could recall the sight of her mother and father dancing in the moonlight. They had been such a close couple, so much in love even after thirty five years.

She reflected on her past and what a brilliant childhood she had had. Memories of David and herself flooded her mind. Beautiful days spent picnicking in the park, mum always there to bath a grazed knee, dad, a big kid at heart, was pushing her on the swing. Happy family holidays and fantastic days spent on the beach. A single tear tumbled from her eye lash, and she quickly wiped it away with the back of her hand. All those days where all gone now.

Looking skywards, Jenny asked, "Why was mum taken away so soon?" they were such a happy family. Never a cross word passed between mum and dad's lips, they worshipped each other. Five years ago the cancer struck her vibrant, beautiful mother down. But through pain and suffering her mother never complained, she just wanted to spend the time she had left, loving her family.

Oh they carried on, Dad, David and her. They managed to support each other in a way that all loving families do. Dad never got over his wife's death, but living with Jenny, reminding him every day of her mum, he coped.

Tomorrow was the anniversary of her mother's death and Jenny had promised her dad that she would buy the largest bouquet of red roses that she could carry to her mother's grave. Jenny was grateful for the strong shoulder that her brother David would offer, just like all the past five years. He had married two years ago and had just celebrated the birth of his first little boy, Damien. Damien was one of his mother's favourite names, and he considered it a fitting tribute to his mother's memory to name his first son Damien. Jenny opened the front door as she heard David's car pull into the drive way.

She walked quietly into the driveway to welcome home her younger brother with a reassuring hug, when she heard her dad call from the living room.

"Coming dad," Jenny lifted one of David's suitcases into the hallway.

"Yes Dad, David is here, didn't he say he wouldn't let you down?"

David followed his sister into the living room and bent to kiss his father's forehead. He noticed how well his dad was looking. He believed he could see that old familiar twinkle in his dad's eyes, and he smiled taking old of his father's hand.

"Dad, the plan for tomorrow is to go to the cemetery early and leave the red roses on mum's grave," he said," and then we will catch our flight to Switzerland after lunch. We should reach our destination about 10pm and will meet with Gloria first thing the following morning."

Tearfully his father nodded. Jenny rubbed her father's shoulders with tenderness,

"Are you sure this is what you want to do dad?" she asked

"Quite sure darling, I am lucky to have the choice and the support of my family. This is what I want to do?"

"And what about the hat dad?" Jenny played with the pheasant feather sticking precariously out from the front of the hat band.

"Oh yes, the hat", her father took his hat from Jenny's hands and pulled it into shape before placing it on his head. "We can't leave the hat, that has to go every where that I go." He gave his daughter a warm smile.

Jenny hugged her dad, "You are so brave dad." she said.

"No darling, not I. Your mother was the brave one, she fought her cancer, I can not do that. Assisted suicide is what I have chosen. I am taking the easy way out."!

Assisted Suicide

Do you believe in the choice of Assisted Suicide?

See results


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    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Sharyn, thank you for stopping by. I expected this hub to be a little controversial, and it has been. But it has also been a revelation regarding the comments to understand what people actually feel about this subject. Thank you for voting. x

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Blue,

      I didn't expect the turn this story took. It was a good read. Brought out emotions and thoughts about how I really feel about this subject. I answered the survey "depends on the circumstances." Thank you for this powerful work.


    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you to everyone who recently left a comment. I am afraid although I approved them all, when I visited this morning, they had all gone. Sorry

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Bill, I was unaware of the views of some doctors, so that has been a real eye opener! Thank you. Cardisa thank you for your comment. This topic will always see a division of nature. I have been on the receiving end twice in my life. The first was my mother who took an overdose of vallium to end her life after a seven year battle with cancer. I will never forget the amount of pain, insecurity and emotional suffering she went through to reach her decision. At first I hated her for leaving me, now I am proud to be her daughter, she was a very special lady.

      Secondly, my ex husband is a paraplegic following an accident in the forestry in 1995. The torment he suffered and still suffers at the prospect of living his life in a wheelchair has broken our family apart. Still I can see him pounding his legs with his fist screaming for me to let him die. I do not condone assisted suicide nor do I defend it, but I do think it is up to the person and their family to talk and agree what is the best for their circumstances.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Bluestar, the story was well written. For me kinda sad that 'Dad' wants to end it but I guess to each his own. For a story it is a great read but personally I don't agree with assisted suicide.

      Assisted or otherwise it all seems the same to me. Pain, anguish and illness makes you want to end your life is no different from heart-break, suffering and loss to make you want to take it.

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Annette,

      "It will never be so simple as a taking a lethal dose pill."

      Actually, it is. My wife is a hospital labor and delivery nurse, and we know a lot of doctors. We've discussed this one, and it was the docs who assured me that it's as easy as taking an overdose and just drifting off.

      Most doctors we know want no part of killing, whether it's abortions or euthanasia. Most of those guys are not very good doctors according to them, so that's what they do. After all, if the patient dies, they did a great job!

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Bobbi, thank you for stopping by my friend. I am nothing if not controversial sometimes. Your support is great and always welcome, and what a lovely comment regarding my short stories. Something I hadn't considered. x

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thanks for the support and link Sally. I hope I haven't offended too many people writing this hub. It was intended to make us think. Much love. x

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you Mck, looking at my account you are correct. It has taken courage to write this hub. I have so many people view, but so few comments. But, I hope each person who visited left thinking about the subject. x

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      To get an Excellent from you is praise indeed. Thank you very much for that. I knew this hub would cause a little bit of tension. Humans in general are an emotive bunch, and somewhat indecisive by nature. It will never be so simple as a taking a lethal dose pill. Fools seldom agree, and fools we are when we discuss such an emotional topic as death. We insist on freedom of choice, and for me that choice is also an extension of death in certain circumstances. I do not condone it nor am I fully against it in the presence of suffering. But I agree that sitting on the fence is not the answer either. x

    • BobbiRant profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      What a beautiful story and it moved me very much. I love old hat stands and had one just like the picture so that is a nice picture too.Very nice writing. I loved it very much.I hope you are going to publish your wonderful stories.*hugs*

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful hub - love between a husband and wife AND father and his children. The ones that are left behind have the hardest time. Reminds me of a line from

      Crying for Me by Toby Kieth - I'm not crying for you, I'm crying for me.

      This is not a great video, but it is from a live concert in Dublin.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      7 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      I admire the courage it took to put this together and present here. Excellent.

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Excellent Hub.

      I don't like the idea of licensing doctors to kill. From there, legal euthanasia is almost certain, whether the patient agrees or not. That's exactly what has happened in the Netherlands.

      If we decide we have the right to legally choose to commit suicide, why not just make buying the proper medication legal, without involving a doctor?

      After that, it's just a matter of pushing a plunger or taking a lethal dose pill.

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you my dear friend b. I have been tied up with my two projects on the go at the moment, but I have a little free time this weekend and can't think of anything nicer than to drop in on my Hub Pages family. Your heart is always their to admire b. and today is no different. Much love.xx

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      epi darling, thank you for all your inspiring encouragement. Death is often a taboo write, but we are all guaranteed to reach that stage in the end. My answer would be "Depends on the Circumstances" if asked, but I would never stop anyone having their own opinion. For me death is a choice just as life is. I am very honoured that you want to share this story on your facebook page, thank you so much. Much love xx

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      7 years ago

      Well first off, Welcome Back my Friend, you were Missed here on Hub Pages. Now this is a Poignant story on Death and how to handle it personally. I feel there is No Right or Wrong...just our own Circumstances. I voted "Depends on the Circumstances". Another Wonderful Read so delicately written by you and so helpful to those in such situations.

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago

      ..well let me be the first lucky reader here to say how moved I was by THE HAT STAND. You have such a gift in writing these most wondeful short stories and yet somehow your writing contains the power and epic feeling of a novel - so much can be felt in so few words - and this touching piece could easily be adapted into a film.

      It has a cinematic quality and to me was a very visual story.

      Ironically speaking I have in my possession the two favorite hats of my mum and dad and they are both on the wall where I often look at them and have fond memories of their love and good times. I really believe there is some kind of energy force coming from them.

      The ending of this story came as a jolt and that is what makes you a masterful writer - this is a bold, brave and courageous piece of writing and offering no easy answers for some of your readers, I would imagine, on the subject of death and dying, but to your credit, and to my lucky eyes, you have created your masterpiece!

      Please allow me to post THE HAT STAND to my Facebook page with a direct link back here.

      And thank you my fabulous BLUESTAR for all your love and support ......Saturday Lake Erie time 8:54am


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