This isn’t meant to be sad, so don’t reach for the tissues. It’s just a little human-interest story that I would like to share with those who have lost someone special.
After my wife passed away, for a long time I didn’t change much about the house. By choice I had never played much of a part in the decorating or furnishings, so she pretty much had her signature on everything and she did a good job at it. I had some fears that as time went on everything in the house was just going to remind me of her at every turn and make me sad all of the time. But those fears were largely unfounded. I too had lived there the entire time and really the things I’m talking about weren’t hers or mine, they were ours. In the ensuing years I have changed a few things-- but not to get rid of her ideas, only to keep up with the times.
So the only things I gave away were the things that had no value to me such as her clothes and jewelry. In fact I emptied her dresser in the bedroom except for one thing. A small jar of perfume she had always used very sparingly. It was the only scent I had ever remembered her using. She had used it most of the time when we went out socially or at the times when she just wanted to make an evening special for me. I’ll leave that right there. Her dresser has remained empty except for that jar of perfume because I had my own dresser and really being a pretty simple man who lives in blue jeans and tee shirts I didn’t need the space. Then the other day I opened the drawer for some reason and saw that bottle again. I picked it up and looked at it and then opening the cap, I took a shallow breath. I had to sit down on the bed because my knees got weak. I didn’t break down crying or bury my head in the pillow. I just enjoyed the memories of a very special lady who had more to do with making me the man I am today, then I care to admit and all of this brought on that day simply by the scent of her perfume.
Our senses play such a big part in jogging our memories. When I was a kid there was a bakery in my hometown that made the best Bismarck’s or jelly doughnuts. I had a morning paper route so when my route was done, and before I went to school; I went to the bakery and maybe for nickel or a dime you could get one in those days, still warm and filled with raspberry jelly with white frosting on top. Even today going in a Bakery and smelling those aromas I still think of those winter mornings in that bakery.
Its not always smells either-- sometimes it’s a sound. Back to my hometown and an old house a block from the railroad tracks. At night you would hear that long mournful whistle on the steam engine coming into town from the west, and then, through our open bedroom window, you would hear the clickity clack of the steel wheels on the tracks and the boxcars cars lurching back and forth. It was a railroad town so this happened many times a night. Later in life while living in the cities I could hear the trains again, farther away across the river but always it brought me back to those nights in of my youth.