At this point, I thought that I choked her. That she was gone enough, what’s left of her in my memory could just be gone, too. It had been so long since something affected me–I’ve even grown immune to the smell of her perfume.
But it was a cleaning spray that did it this time–one of Mrs. Meyer’s summer scents, Blue Bell. I’ve used it before and had a slight disdain for it, thinking I just didn’t like the fragrance. It wasn’t until tonight it finally hit me.
That was the scent of her bath oil–I can’t remember now if it was Avon brand or Skin so Soft. I only remember it was in a plastic bottle the color of the bathroom tile and she kept it under the sink.
There are days now where I can completely forget that my mother existed; days where I think I am over it and that the pain has finally gone away. And then there are moments that bring me right back to her in an instant, and I know that–for better or worse–she’ll never really leave my side.
This sounds so cheesy to admit, but I think one of the hardest things about having my mother still be here is that I don’t get to at least hold on to that feeling that she’s “Watching down on me.” Granted, there’s a lot to be argued about what happens when someone dies, if God exists, and if there is any place to go–and I’ve struggled with my notions on all of these–but I’ve always gotten comfort knowing that my loved ones are still around in some capacity–that they’ve simply been freed from their mortal coil and now are simply back being bits of stardust and carbon, floating out there in the collective space. I’m not saying I don’t miss them, sometimes just as profoundly, but I at least can think that they are “here” because they are now everything–released, free, happy.
But with my mother, I feel like she’s in some kind of limbo–some sort of prison where she is here, but not here, unable to escape. Sometimes when I talk to her, I give her messages to pass on to herself when it’s really here. “Someday, mom, you’ll have to thank me for keeping up with your plucking,” I often say to her, because I know she would have NEVER been seen out in public with a stray hair ANYWHERE on her face (and dear God, whoever’s left caring for me, please know that I feel the exact same way). But when I say these things, I feel like I’m sending off a note or a letter, a message that she will hold on to until she can actually deliver it on to my “real” mother. I also sometimes fantasize that I’ll get an answer to that message–that one day in one of those strange moments that we count account for in life, a pair of tweezers will fall out my drawer and onto my lap at just the moment that I was missing her.