Standing in the cooler at work last night, I felt the rush of a memory. Maybe it was a sound, but I could feel the hospital. Earlier that day, as I waited on a customer, something in the air smelled JUST like Tommy for just a second. When we are low on fuel, an alarm sounds in the back room. It sounds exactly like the telemetry monitors. It seems like I can't get away from it. I'm constantly bombarded with sights, sounds and smells that trigger memories.
There are times when I look at pictures or watch videos. Maybe I clutch one of his blankets or an outfit and try to remember. Those are the times when he feels the most far away from me. The harder I try to remember what he smelled like or what his voice sounded like, the more distant the memories become. I have to concentrate on the picture for a second to recall the feelings.
The very same day, I can go outside and see a butterfly or a flower and without even trying, I can FEEL him all around me. I can't look into a small child's eyes without wondering first of all if he "knows" me because Tommy told him about me and secondly I wonder when Tommy would have walked and how tall he would be now. I miss that smile.
I'm torn between letting go and just letting the memories happen and holding onto them tightly so I never forget.
I think what I miss the most is how he smelled. My favorite thing in the world was the way the top of his head smelled. I have read that parents bond with their children by smell, specifically, the top of the head. I have the hospital gown he was wearing when he died, but it stopped smelling like him a long time ago despite putting it in a ziplock bag. While he was in the hospital, I kept myself busy doing laundry. I never knew he would never come home again and that I was washing away all of his precious smell. Every stitch he owned and every sheet and blanket were washed and put away, waiting for his return that never happened. I even washed Wub the night before he died because it was looking so cruddy. Regrets.
I never knew memories would be such a challenge to hold on to.