Remembering with the Sense of Smell

Eve got out of her car slowly, weighed down by the loss of her husband, Michael. It has been three years since he was killed in an car wreck. He was so determined to get home, even after she told him that everyone was fine and that he didn’t need to try to get home in the blinding rain.

But, that was the man he was, always wanting to know that he was doing everything he could to keep his family safe. She still remembers how her heart stopped for at least one second when she opened the door and saw the state troopers. The next few days were a blur.

She wants so hard not to ever forget their love and their lives, even as people tell her that it is healthy to move on. Yet, she refuses to do any of the things that they loved doing together and as a family, events that the children continually ask to do, such as going for late night walks on the beach or visiting car shows and sitting in the cars of the future.

Maybe her parents are right, that she does not need to discontinue everything about their lives, for there was so much good between them. So, she is at the store to buy the ingredients for Carter’s favorite meal. Slowly moving through the store, she is afraid of the emotions that might engulf her and her kids tonight, especially her fourteen-year-old son, Chad, who has not cried once since his father died.

As she cooks, Chad comes into the house. When he smells what she is cooking, he stops on the stairs and goes into the kitchen. Eve watches as he lifts the lid on the peppered steak that his father cooked at least once a week. Suddenly, he looks at his mother and says with so much suppressed pain, “I miss him so much!”

And the tears that refused to be shed for three years start to run down his face. His mother holds him close, comforting him as much as she is able.  She is amazed to realize that something as simple as the sense of smell can help us remember and begin to heal. Next week, she and the kids will go to the car show in town. It’s time to take back their lives, letting the pain come and be assuaged along the way.

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