Today would have been my sweet mom’s 59th birthday. Happy birthday, Mumsie. I know you’re partying up there in heaven.
Everyone has a scent. Take away the perfume or cologne, take away the sweat and blood, take away the smoke and mirrors, and everyone has a fragrance that is uniquely them.
I remember when my grandpa passed away I was devastated. He was my hero. Heroes don’t die. We were rifling through his things, as is customary after someone passes on. Picking out what items of his we wanted for ourselves, to remind us of him in the every day. I picked out a few things, and I remember for months to come, taking out those things solely to get a whiff of him. Like that made him present and here with me, even if just for a moment. I’d close my eyes and there he was, wrapping his arms around me. It was a gift straight from heaven.
When my mom passed away, I was more reluctant to go through her things. It was on a whole different level for me. I was scared that touching her things, moving them and dislocating them, would make it all the more real that she is in fact, gone. So I put it off. And then one day, I decided to be brave, and I opened up her closet and took a deep breath in. And there she was, like she’d never left. Like she’d been here all along. I breathed in that scent and closed my eyes, and nothing had changed. In that moment, my world hadn’t been turned upside down. In that moment, she was so real I swear I could feel her with me.
I collapsed there on the floor in front of her closet, pulling clothes off of their hangers, and just wrapping them around me. It felt so good to feel like she was here again, even if just for that moment. I never wanted it to stop.
But here’s the thing about clothes that I realized from what I had of my grandpa’s: the scent starts to fade. It sometimes take a year or two, but slowly it dissipates and you’re left with a hint of that person, until one day, it’s gone. And all you’re left with is a sweater, but no loved one.
Thankfully I have a good imagination. And when I close my eyes, I can still smell her. The loveliest mix of lavender and vanilla and heaven.
And when I want something more tangible, I spritz on some of her perfume- the perfume that I brought home with me after she passed away. And she’s right back here with me- if even for just a moment.
The thing about a person’s scent is that it’s more than a smell. It’s a feeling, it’s a memory and it’s something you can’t bottle up in a pretty little package. But it’s also something that you can have with you forever, if you only hold on to it tight. Sure, I may not be able to breathe in her scent any more, but I feel her with me everywhere, and that, perhaps, is even more precious.
This is so sweet and true. My mom died almost 6 years ago from cancer. For Christmas this past year my sister gave me my moms favorite perfume. Now I wear and think she is right there next to me :)
Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
Katie, I love this and I understand just what you mean. My grandma past away almost 20 years ago and I miss her now more than I ever did. She was taken away from me at such a young age, but even though we were together for a short time, we very close.
She was always cooking in the kitchen and to this day whenever I smell the scent of fresh basil I think of her. I miss her more than anything, but every time I smell that smell, all those memories coming flooding back to me. I use fresh basil in my cooking a lot and I even grow it during the summer, and I think the main reason is because it reignites that connection I had with her. It’s amazing how a scent came bring back so many memories.
Oh, my heart. I just feel for you and can’t (and don’t want to) imagine how a day like this must feel. My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, oddly enough…and then Mother’s Day on Sunday. Fortunately, Mother’s Day will be a day of celebrating YOU and, of course, remembering your sweet mom. I know what you mean about scents bringing back memories so quickly it makes your head spin.
This was so beautifully written and heartfelt; thank you for sharing, for opening up. It always amazes me how, more than any other sense, smell can truly bring you right back to a moment or person from your past. Your mom would be so proud of the smart, strong mother you have become, yourself!
<3 Haley @ http://www.beautyinthischaos.com
This is so absolutely beautifully written – it brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling, especially around this time of year. Your mom is always around, and she must be very proud of you! <3
This post made my heat ache. I lost my mom as well and I understand that fear of going through a loved one’s belongings. My mom also wore Chanel no. 5 and every time I smell it I feel like I’m right back in her arms. Sending virtual hugs your way, my dear!
Oh my goodness, this post made me tearful and my heart ache. I’ve been the same with my dear grandmother’s clothes. She died just before my 18th birthday and I’d do anything to open her wardrobe once again, climb in and be surrounded by her ballgowns and coats like I used to when I was little. She was an amazing dancer and taught me to swirl around in a waltz in her front room. I’ve kept a handful of her belongings sealed up in a tin, opening every now and then to try and keep her smell. Everytime it just hits me, making me catch up my breath and I wish I could be back as a child with her there. Sending hugs to you today, she’d be so proud of the mum you are now xx
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
Such a beautiful post! Thinking of you today… Sending hugs! <3
Catherine @ foodiecology
I can't imagine how tough it is losing your mother, especially so young. My thoughts are with you today and throughout this weekend of celebrating our mothers.
This post brought tears to my eyes! SO beautifully said. I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. Know she is always with you, and very proud of the great mother you have become :)
This post made me tear up a bit too. I lost my mom when I was six, so I don’t personally remember her scent but this past Christmas my Dad gave me her actual perfume (also Chanel No 5). It has been 23 years since she passed away, so I was so happy that he saved it for me. Unfortunately, because the perfume is so old its a little musty but I plan to buy a new bottle and keep them side by side.
This post made me cry. Scents definitely do carry more than just a smell. Thank you for sharing about your mom, I’m very sorry for her passing. Big hugs to you <3
Such a beautiful post – thank you for sharing your thoughts