The scent of the departed

I just talked to Mom, and she’s still missing Dad a lot, which is understandable, since he has been gone less than six months. Everyone’s grief process works a bit differently. I have a feeling Mom will grieve herself into her own grave. She is good about getting out of the house so she can interact socially with other people, which is very important.

But she admitted to me that she had not been able to go through any of Dad’s belongings yet, other than what had come from the nursing home. She keeps most of her clothes in a separate closet, but she says when she does have to open their shared closet, she feels like she can still catch a scent of Dad lingering in the clothes that haven’t been worn in well over a year.

Scents of people are a funny thing … they linger in the memory. I’ll always remember my dad’s scent of cigarettes and aftershave.

It makes me think about how many people’s scents I’m hit with on a daily basis, going to work on the subway. Perfume, cigarettes, alcohol, sweat, babies … it runs the gamut of human experience.

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