I’ve opened the little cabinet attached to the bathroom wall and this particular time as I look inside, it’s to fixate on a few of the decorative bottles of Parfums I had once given to my Mother. Back in the 90s I would go shopping and sometimes I would be given samples of lotions, lipstick colors and fragrant scents, after I’d made a purchase. I especially enjoyed my sojourns into Garfinckel’s, Hechts (which was absorbed by Macy’s) and Woodward & Lothrop stores. The sales clerks would be affable and generous to me once we’d concluded our transactions. Off I’d go, homeward bound, to show Mother what I had bought. Often I would get her a present or a treat. The freebies were something new for us to experience and we’d giggle like girls trying this and that.
Mother made her home with us and after she died, we’d kept her bedroom the same. But it was up to me to go through her belongings, something I put off for such a long time. During this sad time of boxing-up her clothes, personal things, sifting through photographs and cards given to her by the family, I came across a gift box at the bottom of her dresser drawer. Melancholy tears made their way down my cheeks once I saw the contents. I couldn’t bear to part with the box, so I put it away thinking perhaps I might use them someday.
It’s now six years later. I found it was easy for me to reopen that box and dab some of the beautiful scents behind my ears … a little against my wrists. Now I can smile as I repeat her little ritual. The scent wafts up through my nostrils and I smell the expensive, but not overpowering blend of the jewel-toned liquid. What a find! No longer must the tiny bottles rest inside that box unused and forgotten. I placed them into the bathroom cabinet and now this little thing we shared is close at hand.
I have written a number of posts about our relationship, but Mother had been my best-friend as well. I’m one of the lucky people who can claim this. I didn’t just lose my Parent, I lost my best friend, too! There are times I want to share my day, a movie or book, just the little things we used to do together. I have no one to fill this niche … not the way she could. We would talk about any subject, thumb through different catalogs on a pleasant afternoon, turning the pages uttering oohs and ahs over the pretty things inside. Mother taught me to love shiny gadgets, kitchen equipment and household items. She didn’t cook but she loved doing laundry. Once she pretended I was flushed and hot and handed me a SALVO detergent tablet. It was huge. She winked and told me to take this aspirin. My astonishment (I was only eight) turned into whooping laughs as she picked me up and swung me around. We hugged, kissed and she sent me back outdoors to play.
My Mother loved to eat and it was a pleasure to prepare and enjoy meals with her. Joe and I sometimes talk about how we miss having Mother with us when we go to dine, we cannot help but notice the empty seat at our booth or, when we venture out to the movies. We all loved movie theatres, VHS tapes and DVDs. Joe and Mother got along very well, too. It was great … She would watch football games with him while I escaped to the stores or baked something in the kitchen. Near to the end, before she fell down the dark well of dementia, one of our favorite things to do was to sit before the television set. She in her wheel-chair, me on the sofa, and hold hands whilst we watched a movie. The ones we liked a lot, had their funny parts and happy endings re-played over and over, so we could laugh or sigh over the final scene, that romantic embrace and long-awaited kiss. Two hopeless romantics.
Mother loved Shalimar and Snob. One a popular favorite and the other an exclusive Parfum from Bermuda. “A tiny dab will do and it lasts all day,” she’d tell me. Next a demonstration about how to use the stopper, applying just the right amount behind her ear lobes and again on the inside of her wrist. Then she would touch both wrists together and daintily move one under my nose for me to whiff. She was such a lovely lady.
For those of you who think after a loved one dies that the mourning period passes in time, you’re right. It does. It’s been six years since she died and finally, I no longer mourn the great loss of a Mother and friend. But the feelings that come from missing that person … the timbre of their voice, their sympathetic touch, their brilliant smile, their infectious laughter … ah, this loss is permanent. And the empty feelings pop-up in our lives whenever something triggers a memory. Much like how I felt as I looked at the tiny bottles recalling her delight whenever I pampered her with little treats. I can remember her face lighting up and her beautiful mouth curving into a smile. Wow, was I ever fortunate!
Moral to the story is to drink-in the essence of those you love. Gather these treasured moments so you can take them out and reminisce long after they’ve gone. Do these things and have no regrets.
I no longer mourn her, but I’ll repeat myself when I say, “I miss my Mom!”