Posted by: Kathy | March 22, 2010

Familiar Scents

I know this may seem like a weird title. But have you ever smelled something and it took you back to another time and place? Sometimes when I go over to my parents’ house, I go upstairs, open my mom’s closet, and just stand there. Even after 16 months, my mom’s closet still smells like it did when she was still with us. I run my hands over the clothes she once wore, see her purse hanging the closet, and I’m taken back to the time when she was alive.

I have some of my mom’s clothes  hanging in my closet now. No matter how many times I wear them, they will never be mine. I wear my mom’s rings and earrings, but they will always be hers. Even though my dad wants me to take my mom’s things, it’s hard for me to do. It means she’s never coming back. And even though I know this fact in my mind, my heart has yet to completely accept this.

I wear my mom’s clothes and jewelry in memory of her, in her honor. For over a year now I’ve worn a pancreatic cancer wrist band as a symbol of my love for my mom and the fact that she fought so hard against this disease and wanted to live. It is something I don’t take off, ever. When I really want to remember my mom, to be surrounded by her like her love once surrounded me, I put on one of the powders she used to wear. The smell of these powders is a scent that even my son still associates with my mom.



  1. My mom is in her last hours I believe of dying from pancreas cancer. It is so hard to watch. She can no longer respond or move and I feel like she is just laying there in pain. I don’t want to lose her but I wish she would let go. This is the hardest thing I have ever and probably will ever have to go through in my life. I can’t leave her house. I feel like I am just sitting here waiting for her to die, and I am. My mom was diagnosed in December 09 after multiple problems starting with diabetes (that doesn’t run in the family) to back pain to constipation then finally such pain she couldn’t take it any more and we insisted they do a sonogram of her abdomen that had been growing for months and we continually were told it was constipation from the pain meds she was taking for her back pain. They did the sono the January 1st when we took her to emergency because she could barely eat or drink because it caused her too much pain. they said it was a tumor on her pancreas and when the tumor marker results came back a week later they read just about 6500 (normal count is 34) we knew it was bad. The marker also should it was in her ovaries. That count (normal 34) was 218. She was in the hospital for pain control from Jan 1st till Jan 18th when she then was sent home on hospice. We were able to take a couple trips with her in a wheel chair, the last just a couple weeks ago when for her last wish the whole family went to Disneyland. That trip took a lot out of her and she has just gone down hill real fast since our return. March 18th she went and had 4 liters of fluid drained from her abdomen and now she has hours if not minutes left.

  2. Kathy, this is me, Susan, who wrote the Pack-Rat, about my mom. I loved your description of the scents of your mom. You need to take those clothes your dad offered you. He may not understand your refusal to do so. I’m sure he sees his beloved wife in you when you wear her clothes.

    I feel your loss. Thanks for sharing. I wrote my Pack-Rat one year after she died a painful death from a lack of blood clotting. Her blood, refusing to coagulate, pooled in her legs and then her lungs. She drowned. She too was a writer. I think she helped me write that piece. I felt her presence. I don’t quite feel so alone in my own loss when I read your beautifully written memorial. I can tell that you are a writer. Your mom will be proud.

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