Friday, November 08, 2013

My Mother's Scent

Today is Momma's birthday, and so I can't help but find myself combing through old photos and thinking of her.  That happens more often than I'd like to admit.  No special occasion required, really.  But today will be a closet day.

In my mother’s closet there is a long-sleeved t-shirt covered with gold and silver beads.  The beading takes the form of a deer surrounded by snowflakes.  A Christmas shirt.  For this time of year she loved so much.  She had acquired many Christmas blouses over the years, but the whirls and twirls of this one, in particular, are dear to me.  Special.  So special that it’s buried under a pile of clothing for protection.

Christmas at my sister's house maybe three, four years ago?
No telling what kind of snow-scene was on the vest she was wearing...
I love this picture.  She still looked like herself.  And happy!

When my mother departed this world eight months ago, her entire room in my home smelled of her.  After a couple of days, it was just her closet.  Now, it’s that single blouse...barely.

The green Christmas Crab shirt, personally selected by her favorite crabby (Bitty) boy.

It’s no wonder that the sense of smell can trigger so many memories and sensations.  After all, the scent of a loved one is as singular as a fingerprint.  Though other things in life may pass away, they can be experienced again, like the scent of the fresh lemons from our trees reborn year after year.  But I can’t recreate the unique layers -- her gentle soaps and fragrant shampoos, her lotion, her makeup and smell-good, all swirled with her own personal musk -- that defined her.

Rocking Big Boy on her front porch when he was still itty-bitty,
taking in that delicious new baby smell.

With my brother and me in another festive blouse!
I treasure this photo, but it's hard.  She looked so tired. 

To smell my mother’s unique scent is to feel her presence again.  And there’s only one blouse left that smells like her.  If only I could seal her scent in a time capsule...but instead, when I can stand it no longer, I gingerly lift the blouse out of its fabric bunker, get a quick sniff and re-bury it, knowing that someday it will lose her scent and the memory of it will fade forever.