Shifting through boxes in my over-cluttered garage, I found a bag filled with old clothes. At a stranger’s glance, the bag would be ordinary and disposable, but I knew it as something else.
As I peaked inside, I saw the contents of the bag my mom took with her to the hospital. I saw her brush, her little pill box, and the clothes she never got to wear home. Despite never having thought much about her scent before, the smell of the bag hit me like an ocean wave. It overcame me and left me in a state of deep grief.
Smell is an amazing sense–you rarely think about it but it has the ability to transport you back to a place or a person instantly. Today, as I am cooking my mother’s old chicken pot pie recipe, I have a similar yet different reaction to scent. This scent makes me feel joy and contentment, gratitude for all the time we did have together and our precious memories.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I expect smells around the table to bring back memories of my mother, who always bustled around the kitchen early Thanksgiving day while the rest of us slept in. She was a constant caregiver, never complaining over our lack of help.
We will miss her this year so deeply, but the smells of casseroles, fresh pies, and newly popped bottles of wine will remind us of beautiful memories. The sight of the Macy’s day parade and premature Christmas lights will make us smile. And the sounds of our laughter around the table would be just what she wants to hear.
So we will laugh and smell and drink and dance. And she will be there, in each of us.