Sometimes I wonder how smells can so influence my life. We are all familiar with the memory trigger of a well-loved song, or the feeling of looking at a picture, a snapshot of a time and place enshrined in photo paper, but smells often elude conversations of memories.
Have you had the experience of getting a whiff of a familiar perfume and having a scene from the past jump up as if it were yesterday? I can conjure up an image, a person, a time and place when I walk into a room and a familiar scent wafts over me like a warm blanket, an old friend. This happens to me daily when I walk into my “mothers” part of our home and truthfully, I do it so I can “feel” her through the comforting aroma of…what? I am really not sure what it is that I smell, two years after her passing. It is true though, and my sister backs me up on this one. She now owns my mother’s dresser and says that every time she opens a drawer she feels mom is there. I wander into her living room, bedroom, office or bathroom and feel a wave of sentimentality, but also one of comfort and reassurance. I cannot bear to think of leaving the scent and happily drive her ten-year old car for the same reason.
We bask in the memories of those we love and have lost for one reason or another, a favorite recipe, coming home to a kitchen filled with the smell of brisket or waking up to fresh coffee brewing. These are the smells I cherish. So sometimes, I just sit in mom’s living room, gazing lovingly at her favorite books, still on the shelf (I will read them all), her tea-cup collection and the photos of her as a college graduate, a bride, a wife of 25 years, a grandmother, and breathe deeply, filling myself with memories and love.