It must have been the wet rainy day that drove me to my cleaning frenzy. “Time to clean out the closets”, I thought to myself. After all, the holidays are quickly approaching and the house will be full of out of town guests! Little did I know that my cluttered closets would open the doors to so many memories tucked away.
Amidst the boxes of papers and old framed pictures was a box of various trinkets, cards and perfumes from my mother. Sighing, I remembered this would be the ninth winter without her. I picked up the nearly dried out bottle of perfume, so worn I could not read the label. Opening it, I breathed deeply. In a flash, I was 5 years old, lost within the holiday shopping crowd of Montgomery Wards! My mother had left me in the capable hands of my older sister. As we happily played with the Barbie dolls, dreaming of the Barbie house, I realized mom was NO WHERE IN SIGHT!. The displays were tall, the store was huge and I was utterly lost within a sea of coats and legs. Panic hit and we both started to cry. Then….I remembered...my mother had the most beautiful smell! “Over here, she went this way!” I yelled to my sister, who blindly followed me, nose up in the air as we swept through the isles, sniffing my way back to my mothers arms.
Holidays are like that for me. I close my eyes and breath in deep the scents of the season. Pumpkin pies, pine cones, spiced apple cider and Boston brown bread. Each unique scent a layer, memory upon memory growing into a huge warm feeling of accumulated winters and happy feelings.
Tomorrow will be a busy day, gather scents of the holidays to create a “Feels Like, Smells Like” bag for my dementia residents. I am hoping perhaps through the thickened, tattered, or lost layers of their memories, perhaps...just maybe...when they breath in deep, they will feel many layers of Holidays past...and remember a mothers hug.