Seven years ago, on Thanksgiving Monday, I drove home after holding my father’s hand. He took his last body-shaking breath, and just like that, he left his earthly body.
Grief is an unpredictable thing. It’s a bit like the ogre analogy from Shrek, the one about the onion? It seems the sadness can be healed, but underneath each layer is another with a story that’s been waiting for its turn to appear. Just when I think that I’ve got it mastered, osmosis kicks in and I’ll find myself with oniony tears stinging my eyes.
I spent this past Thanksgiving with my in-laws and most of that time with my father-in-law. It felt comforting to have conversation with people who are more grown up than I, and to be honest, I hadn’t given a lot of energy to this (un)anniversary, until I leaned in and hugged Pa (the name that has lovingly been given to my children’s grandfather) goodbye, catching a whiff of that Old Spicey scent.
Smells are like the powerhouse of memories…the times, all of the times my dad kissed me on the cheek and scrubbed my face with his whiskery beard…they all found me. Though, it’s a bit of a relief knowing that something as simple as a sniff can dig up some of the oldest memories because then I know he’s not entirely gone.