Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)
TITLE: The Scent of a Memory
By Rachel Burkum
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Gramma Jane had been my light...my guidance...my world. Why had she been taken so quickly? Why? My heart screamed the question, hurling it with anger towards God, whom I blamed...but not deep down. I knew it wasn't right to blame Him. I knew that sometimes death of loved ones simply couldn't be explained.
At the funeral, I had remained a stoic bulwark, offering comfort to everyone else grieving, while I buried my own sorrow in places I hoped could not be felt. I didn't want to feel. I didn't want to hurt.
But as I sat on Gramma Jane's bed and discovered the handkerchief she'd never been without, all of my pent up energy seemed to explode, making me a blubbering mess. I was glad that I had come alone today - my mother would not come for several hours yet, so I was free to roam the house and look through Gramma Jane's things.
She'd gone peacefully - at least that's what I had been told. Though a shock, perhaps there was a small amount of relief that God had been merciful, not allowing her to suffer a long death. But that didn't seem to soothe my pain much.
I'm not sure how long I cried or when I fell asleep, but when I awoke, my head was resting on her pillow, the blue cotton fabric still in my grasp. My eyes hurt now, but somehow exhaustion and rest had done their job, gently prying me from my anger. I knew that just because I had lost Gramma Jane, that didn't mean my life was over, too. I knew that if she could have spoken to me, that she would have told me to live life to the fullest and to not worry about her - she was quite happy.
An unexpected smile sneaked out to nestle in the corner of my mouth. I could just imagine her dancing with the angels and bombarding God with all the questions she'd ever had. I was left without her, but I knew she was happy.
Managing to sit up, I looked at the handkerchief again, smoothed it out, folded it, unfolded it, smoothed it and folded it again. To someone else, this little piece of cloth would mean nothing. But it was a part of my grandma - a part that I remembered from a little girl on. And that scent...that sweet scent...
I put the handkerchief to my face once more, breathing deeply the perfume embedded in the fibers. Though the sorrow lingered in my soul and though the pain still raged through my veins, this seemingly insignificant item had become the one thing I would cherish. Just like Gramma Jane, I would tuck it in my pocket - but for entirely different reasons.
Thank you, God, for gifting me with a memory I will carry with me always.
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