My dad wore one of my mum’s sweaters out to dinner last week. He’s not alone. We’ve all been delving into mum’s wardrobe since she passed. An old pair of mum’s black leather gloves is one of my most cherished possessions. ‘They’re falling apart,’ Dad said quizzically when I said I wanted to take them. They are too precious to wear. They are like a life cast. I can see the shape of mum’s hands in them and especially her tapering fingers. These were the hands that bathed me, fed me, bandaged my wounded body, hugged me and wrote me long newsy letters. And yes, occasionally, these were the hands that smacked me when I was a ‘cheeky little monkey’.
More than anything, though, what I love about these gloves is that they are imbued with mum’s scent. I bury my face in them and inhale the very essence of her being. The essence of the person who loved me unconditionally all my life. Since the moment I was born.
The night mum died, my sister, dad and I each took one of mum’s scarves to bed – like a comfort blanket – so we could still hold her close. ‘It smells of her,’ my sister said, like me, hungry for her scent. But, in the days that followed, the scarves lost their magic as their scent faded, replaced by our own.
Our tracks in the sand, our scent and our things soon vanish from this earth. All that’s left behind is the trace in the heart. And the miracle is that while all else fades, love never dies.