Synchronicity and the Scents of Loss

A few years ago, I read a book called The Holographic Universe that made my head hurt. I need to read it about ten more times to really understand it. It’s about the holographic theory and I’m no physicist; however, there is a concept discussed in the book that I did understand and that we experience regularly. I certainly did last week – synchronicity.

We call it coincidence – I’m thinking of a particular old song and, without my mentioning it, you start singing it or I hear it on the radio, that sort of thing.

On Monday of last week, a friend marked the tenth anniversary of his father’s death from cancer saying how much he loves and misses his dad, their talks and just being together. Joe’s words describing his feelings reminded me of the Sandra Bullock movie Hope Floats.

Then, on Friday, I saw a list of Sandy’s best and worst movies. On the best list was The Proposal (yes), The Blind Side (of course) and Demolition Man (are you kidding me?). On the worst list were Speed 2 (I’m sure), Practical Magic (what?) and, you guessed it, Hope Floats (no way – if for Harry Connick Jr’s scrumptious self alone!).

In the movie, Birdie and her mother have a complicated, often conflicted relationship. Still, they clearly love each other as is illustrated when Birdie is dressing for her mother’s funeral. She walks into the closet, catches her mother’s scent on the clothing and, grown woman that she is, sobs like a baby.

Now, in case you didn’t know, I have a weird thing about smell. I once couldn’t date a man because he smelled wrong – not bad, just wrong. (Pheromones, I guess.) I used to try to swipe my dad’s handkerchiefs so that I could carry his comforting smell with me. And when I see my son after a long separation, the first thing I do after hugging him is to smell his hair. It’s just something I do.

My parents on their wedding day surrounded by a host of nieces and my mother's little sister, my precious Aunt Judy.
My parents on their wedding day surrounded by a host of nieces and my mother’s little sister, my precious Aunt Judy.

Anyway, because I do this weird thing, that scene struck me hard the first time I saw it and it still gets me every time. My relationship with my mother was also complicated and conflicted. She was not my best friend; but, she was my mother and we loved each other. Cancer took her just over eleven years ago. No closet contains her scent anymore.

If we are lucky, we have relationships the losses of which we can mourn. Imagine losing a parent or friend and not feeling the hole they left in your life. It is our choice to both love and like others that makes them precious to us and makes us feel their loss acutely. Joe clearly had such a relationship with his father. I had that with my friends Joey and Sandy whom I still miss every day. And, there’s my mom.

The smell of my mother may be gone; but, if it’s not and if I should ever encounter it again, I will know it instantly and, grown woman that I am, will sob like a baby.



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