The other day I was looking for something in my closet when I caught a glimpse of one of my husband’s hats. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was overcome with grief. I held it in my hands, lifted it to my chest, and hugged it tight and cried. Then I lifted it to my face. I wanted it to still smell like him. I know that probably sounds mental, but the more time that passes, the more I long to feel him in a tangible way. So like a weirdo, I stood in my closet deeply inhaling into that hat. And….nothing. It didn’t smell like his hair. It didn’t smell like anything. It’s hard for me to describe the sadness of not being able to smell him. I was mad at myself for not putting something of his in a storage bag to try to hold in his scent. It was just another reminder that he’s gone. Gone-gone.
Grief is kind of like the movie Groundhog Day. My brain understands he’s gone. My brain knows I won’t see him again until Heaven, but my heart has a severe case of amnesia. My heart has to re-remember he’s gone almost daily. And when it does, it’s like I’m realizing it for the very first time. Over and over and over again. Stupid Groundhog Day. Stupid heart. Stupid grief.
I know the memory of Mark isn’t in his “stuff.” I am not interested in building and keeping a shrine of his belongings or anything, but I do long to feel him, smell him, hear him. I worry about forgetting these things. I don’t want to forget what his voice sounded like. I don’t want to forget his scent or the way it felt to hold his hand or to be held in his embrace. And yet I know it is inevitable, because time is a thief.
Occasionally I’ll find Lolo swimming in one of his sweatshirts, or Gman wearing one of his hats. On school picture day, Gman decided he wanted – needed to wear his Dad’s hat and his special necklace I had made for him. I understood. There’s comfort in touching his things….we feel a little bit closer to him through his belongings. I don’t know what grief experts would say about this – don’t really care. “It is what it is,” as Mark used to say.
How about you? Any other crazy clothes sniffers out there? Have you found yourself doing any of these things too? Or ARE we truly weirdos? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave me a comment if we aren’t alone here.
Grief=Extra Grace Required, man. Truly.