The lingering scent of love expanding

I think of my mother every day, in quiet ways, sad ways– but now happy ways.

The biggest lesson I can share-and I knew it, but I relearn each time a creature I love dies, or a friend departs–is that with death comes an expansion of love. The expansion is on both ends–I think the person dying somehow bursts open and the person left behind gathers and breathes all that came before, and all that spills over in that burst of death.

Love lives.

There are intense moments. Anyone who has grieved knows this experience. I find they are short now, usually, and intense, but I go on about the day. Recently I was looking for a sweater in my closet and came upon one that I'd brought back from my mother's after I cleaned out her house. I immediately smelled it-just like a sheep or equine would do–seeking a known scent to make everything seem normal and safe.

I could still smell her scent in the sweater. It was fainter than when I brought it home, as it has mixed with my scent for 7 months now. But I could still smell her. At first I winced slightly remembering the reality, but I buried my face into the wool and lived with it for many seconds, in silence.

Those moments are really interactions of two spirits-one still in her body, one not. It was pleasurable, really–like smelling vanilla out of the jar or cinnamon in a baking cake.

I think that is what I want to pass on today–there is grief and shock and horrible jagged waves in the initial weeks of loss. But there are moments of intense love. That is what is really left–love.

Love expands after death.

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