Today I unpacked a box of my mother’s things. In it was a clean dish towel acting as a buffer between two dishes. On a whim I raised the towel to my rose, inhaled and began to weep.
Fourteen months and change she’s been gone now, even longer since she’d had her own place. Yet this towel, packed snugly away for years still held the scent of the place it came from. It smelled the way I remember her last apartment did; a combination of her perfume, fabric softener and the faint scent of cooking. It smelled of home, of love, of a dozen memories so fleeting they were but whispers through my mind.
My heart was heavy with longing to feel like someone’s child again. In this world, I will never again feel her embrace, never hear her voice. It’s unfathomable, but at the same time my reality. For a time, I still have the scent memory of her. I allowed myself only brief moments of indulgence, then got a Ziploc freezer bag and sealed the towel in it, hoping to preserve for a time, my mother in a scent.
Have you ever had a sharp reminder of the past from a whiff of something unexpected? Did it turn you to mush or buoy your spirits?