One of the best gifts my mother gave to us was the summary of her funeral wishes that she wrote up more than 30 years ago, and had revised in early 2002 when they updated their estate plan to include a trust. In her guidance, she mentioned the dress she wanted to be buried in. Had she not done that, I just realized she might have been buried unclothed–or it least not in something she loved.
Over the course of our journey and this blog, I have told you about the two times we have moved mom. First, when we moved mom and dad from their Independent Living residence into Assisted Living. Then after dad passed away and Assisted Living was no longer the best place for mom, we moved her into a Memory Care community. During the first move, we took special care to find and store the dress she wanted to be buried in. Knowing that in advance and being able to plan for it is helping me move toward her life celebration service easier. I don’t have to wonder, squabble with siblings about the choice, or feel guilty because in the overwhelming process of one of the moves, we ended up donating her silk ball gown thinking she would never again wear it again.
Today as I drove mom’s clothes to the funeral home, I realize the car is filled with the scent of my mother. It has been years since I smelled the mix of Aqua Net hairspray and Charlie perfume. I start to wage a battle of my will over my tear ducts. I lose momentarily and then begin to fill my mind with all the wonderful memories of mom from my 50+ years with her.
My grief over the loss continues to battle my relief and understanding that mom’s journey on this planet had run it’s course. Now is the time to revisit all the great experiences, lessons, and memories that contribute to the legacy of mom. Cherished.
8 thoughts on “The unmistakable scent of Mom”
Oh, Kay, this had me filling up. Lovely post.
Thanks. It was nice to have one last moment with the healthy mom I can now remember.
Oh, yes, the scent of the departed … my mom wore Charlie sometimes too! I’m glad that the advance planning helped make arrangements easier on the family and give you time to reflect on happier memories.
It is a gift I plan on leaving my family.
What great memories you have of your mom. When Maureen’s daughter died three years ago her planning of her funeral was incredible. Wasting away from cancer she spent ages planning her farewell. We always remember Denise asking us to use her name as often as possible and never to say ‘we have lost her’. Maureen is often unsure if Denise is dead but at the right times I try to talk about the great times we had with her beautiful daughter who passed away far too early.
It is a gift to loved ones for sure. My mom would sometimes so clearly remember dad was gone then other days ask when he’s coming back. I would choke up every time.
Smells carry such strong memories. I still cry when I go to a lumber yard, fresh cut pine lumber always reminds me of him.