So today I was walking from the bathroom to the hallway and I suddenly smelled my mother’s perfume very strongly. This was odd because my mother has been deceased for almost a year and the only bottle of perfume she had left I have wrapped up in a box in a closet put away on a high shelf. If you knew my mom you knew anytime she went anywhere she would put on her Charlie perfume. The smell in my hallway was so strong of Charlie today it smelled like she was standing right next to me spraying the bottle. It took my breathe away as the memories flooded into my mind of my mother over the years. It’s amazing how much smell can trigger a memory. I didn’t say anything to Walter about it at all because I thought it was just a weird phenomenon and maybe just my grief playing tricks on me. Then a few hours later Walter was walking from what used to be my mom’s room into the bathroom through that same hallway and he stopped and said, “it’s the wildest thing Pam, I smell your mom’s perfume.” Well that was it, I was off my feet in a flash. I couldn’t believe he smelled it too! We started frantically searching for the source. I knew I had kept a bottle of her perfume and I found it tucked away on the aforementioned shelf nowhere near the hallway. We then searched the hall, bedroom, and bathroom for any similar smells. We came up empty handed. For the life of us we could not find the source of the smell. It lingered all day too. We never could locate the source and I finally gave up trying to figure it out. Instead I began to think about the last time I had seen my mother inside the walls of this house. It was exactly a year ago to this day and it started out as any regular day. I worked a long day (the kids were out of school at that time) and I returned from work in the evening to find that mom was struggling to breathe properly. She had also used the bedside toilet because she couldn’t make it to the bathroom without having a breathing/panic attack. I remember being a little snippy with her, which was truly just my exhaustion, when I found I needed to clean up her toilet situation. I would later come to regret this conversation because it was the last one we had in person. I hate that in that moment I was less than pleasant and I’m sure I made her feel like a burden. I would give anything to redo that moment. Later that evening after cleaning things up I realized she wasn’t getting any better and I was forced to call for an ambulance to take her to the ER. It was there that I sat for hours waiting to hear any news. Eventually they found me in the waiting room and sent me home. Mom was being admitted into the COVID ICU and then two days later transferred to the regular ICU. Within two weeks she would be passing. Had I known that that evening after work was the last time I would see her I would’ve managed the patience of JOB. But life doesn’t work like that and I had no clue how things would unfold and how important that night would become.
Thankfully a few days after she was admitted I was able to speak to her on the ipad with a nurse holding the ipad and I apologized for my lack of patience in that last moment and she very seriously told me not to worry about it because she knew I didn’t mean it and not to think another second about any of it. Of course, I have thought about it, hence this blog post, but it was nice to have actual absolution from her mouth. She told me she loved me over and over and I told her the same until she could no longer talk through her BiPap machine. I hung up knowing things were ok but also dreading what was to come. If I could go back I would change so many things about her last month on this earth but one thing I would never change is the LOVE and GRACE she always managed to give to her children. She was a living example of God’s love for us and I’m forever thankful for that.
We never did find the source of the perfume smell earlier but I’ve come to the conclusion that it was just Mom checking in to continue to offer me that same LOVE even if she can’t be here in person. I will always miss her terribly but just like the smell of Charlie perfume her memories will now trigger nothing but love from me.