Scent, ritual, memory

In the earliest days of raw, unimaginable, soul-destroying, suffocating grief I would take out my baby’s little knitted outfit (the only thing he would ever wear) and unfold, refold, unfold, refold. The blue blanket, the white blanket, the blue sweater, the blue hat, and the white booties that were heartbreakingly tiny, but still too big for Odin. I would do this over and over again which I could tell by the worried look in my husband’s eyes made it seem like I was coming unraveled. And truly I was. But it was the only way at the time that I knew how to mother my dead son. Unfold, refold, unfold, refold. After I felt like I had performed the ritual enough times I would hold the clothes up to my face and inhale the soft scent that still lingered (it’s gone now). I’ve heard people say that there is nothing sweeter than the smell of a baby’s head. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with that but the scent on Odin’s clothes was not that smell — the smell of powder, tearless shampoo, warmth. His clothes smelled of something clinical, clean, and cold. I loved it so much and couldn’t get enough. The fact that I couldn’t make it stay is a heartbreak on its own. I’ll probably never know what it actually was but I will never forget it. It’s the smell of my baby and I miss it.

2 thoughts on “Scent, ritual, memory

  1. Jenna says:

    This is a beautiful project, and this entry is raw in a way that triggered my own memories associated with smell: How I used to smell my fathers clothes after he passed, to try and get every last particle of his cologne before it disappeared. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to hold onto the smell was terrifying to the point of panic inducing. Thank you for your strength and honesty and above all for sharing your LOVE.

    Liked by 1 person

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