Smell

I’m in the car. I’m on my way to the music store. A string on my new guitar snapped when I was tuning it a little too thoughtlessly and because this is a special guitar, I need a special new string. The next day I have to play on it and for too long I postponed this car ride. I turn off the radio. A moment of silence on this hectic day.

I don’t really enjoy driving, but I do today. Finally I do what I had been putting off for so long. Soon I will be able to play on my new guitar again. The weather is nice, it is not too busy on the road and actually this is a moment of just clearing the head. How I needed that.

Suddenly I smell something and I am alarmed. All the sudden I am back in time two and a half years. Amanda. I can smell the scent associated with my little one and suddenly I can’t think of anyone else. Memories and feelings flood me. I see myself in her room, sitting next to the cradle again, wondering, feeling love, expressing sorrow. I take her in my hands and dedicate her again to Him who gave her her short life.

I am quite surprised and want to cry like a small child. Self-pity and determination compete for precedence. It would be good to cry again, I think. But it is not convenient right now. I am on my way to the music store full of creative men and I often feel a fool there who is just plucking strings and pounding keys. A tearful face and red eyes aren’t helpful.

This is another wave the mourning books described. A wave of grief that unexpectedly washes over you with great force and causes you to completely lose your balance and orientation. But it’s not all bad and sad. I also feel deep joy. This fragrance makes me happy because she made me happy. I feel like a new mother of my little one again and for a moment she is very close.

Decisiveness wins. I can’t afford to sit down and moan now. I thank for the moment because smelling her means experiencing her and I miss her so much and feel it again. But my list has to be completed and there is a lot on it today. I have my guitar repaired and feel at home again in the big musician world. Then I drive home. To my living children who each need my guidance and encouragement and care. I cherish this memory-moment and I’m happy with her fragrance. Fragrance full of memories. Smell of my child.

Some time later I wrote a song about my stillborn daughter and this memory of sitting next to her crib. You can find it here.

First published in Dutch on October 22, 2019

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