It took me 27 1/2 years to throw them away. 27 1/2 years..
Perfume. New packages I took from Mom’s bedroom dresser after she died. Christmas gifts that she never opened.
Christian Dior’s “Poison” and Yves Saint Laurent’s “Opium.” No light florals for her. No, these were a mixture of determination and resilience with undertones of compassion and humor. The woman who wore these scents made a statement; had presence.
27 1/2 years in the bottom drawer of my bedroom nightstand. Packages of perfume that I could touch when I needed to be close; boxes that she had touched, too. They were precious to her…designer fragrances that she couldn’t afford, that she kept for those special occasions that never came.
Over 10,000 days of my life going on when I couldn’t imagine one day without her. I survived, but not without losing parts of me along the way.
In that length of time, I sold my optometry practice and went back to grad school for psychotherapy. I raised a boy into a man and saw him get married to a lovely young woman. A second career flourished in community mental health, higher education and hospice. A difficult divorce and re-marriage. Two moves. Dad’s death, and his burial next to Mom.
So much life has happened, and so much loss. When do I no longer have anything that she touched with the same hands that held mine when we crossed a street, that made me my favorite foods, that touched my fevered brow, that held me when I cried?
Throughout, the constant has been those two perfumes, and my love.
Then again, maybe it’s too soon to throw them away…