I’m so grateful that I have all my senses. Before you pipe up and debate me that I have no sense at all I’m not talking about common sense. I’m talking about the five senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell.
I just spent an hour picking up a package at the post office. People were waiting in line, patiently moving forward at a snail’s pace in order to send their packages off to who knows where. I spent a lot of time looking at random packages, wondering where they’d be going. One package was heading to Florida. I wondered who the recipient was. An elderly woman? A sister? Someone the sender felt obligated to send a gift to? Were the contents something that would elicit a squeal of joy? Would it be re-gifted? Would it end up at Goodwill? Was it frivolous or was it something they truly needed? Who knows. I waited patiently for my turn. What was waiting for me behind the massive counter at the USPS? Did I want it? Or would the box be more useful than the contents?
Turns out it was from my sister. She told me she’d be sending something that wasn’t necessarily a Christmas present so I could open it right away if I wanted to. Of course, I opened it as soon as I got home. I love presents and I stink at being patient when it comes to gifts. As I slid my paring knife along the strong packaging tape, I smelled something I hadn’t in nearly two years: the scent of my mother. My sister had sent me a box of mom’s belongings – some jewelry and a couple of her gardening hats. As I took each hat out of the box I felt it between my fingers. Smelled what was undoubtedly her scent. Remembered seeing her wearing them as she tended her garden. Hearing her voice as she explained to me what each plant was. The only sense I didn’t use was taste. I didn’t lick it.
Her scent brought back a flood of emotions. This time of year is hard for those who have lost someone and I’ve really been missing her lately. It seems I have some questions that only she could answer… she was always very astute at answering tough “life stuff.” I didn’t fully appreciate how often I asked for her help on something until I lost that privilege. Even though we often butted heads like rams I knew that I could always go to her no matter what.
So I’ll sit here, holding her hat, finding a stray hair or two, and wondering how it’s going away from us. In my search for answers I haven’t quite figured out this heaven place that people speak of. I want to believe that it’s real and that mom is there tending a garden or curled up with a bed full of cats. Or maybe she’s decorating a Christmas tree or something? I envision Heaven a lot like high school. They must have an arts and crafts period, right? I mean, after home room and the class that debunks the use of the Gregorian calendar. I cannot fathom that mom is nothing more than ashes in a box near my bed instead of hanging out with her friends who have passed on and kicking some angel ass during a hearty game of dodge ball.
Meanwhile, I’ll use my senses to remember her. Perhaps cry a little bit for how much I miss her.
But I’m still not going to lick it.