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It’s a fall morning, golden and mild, much like the day had been five years ago. My eyes were just opening up to it as I lay still and alone with the memory, allowing my senses to respond to it, when the whiff of lavender passed over me. I took it in and noticed my arms were crossed over my chest just as they had been that morning five years before when my mother lay still beside me, asleep in an identical position. I had noticed that. I felt like I could have been five or 55, ageless, lying in a sheath of timelessness. The clock had stopped or been wound up to eternity–I didn’t know which.

The memory came back to me last night when I opened the drawer of my nightstand, forgetting why exactly. I shuffled through my special letters and greeting cards I have saved and stored there, the cold pills and pencils, a pile of index cards that had now spilled out of their wrapper, a jar of Vick’s Vapor Rub (does anyone still use that? Does it do any good?), and a loose stack of Kleenex. I pulled one out and lay it beside my pillow and turned back to close the drawer when I noticed it. The tube of Lavender Body Cream.

I remembered her voice then, “Wait, don’t leave yet. I picked up something for you today,” she had said as I stood in the doorway. “There’s so little I can do for you anymore.” Her words upset me as I waited. She returned with the box of lavender body cream.

“I use it at night. I rub it into my hands before I go to sleep. I thought you would like it.”

“Thank you, Mom.”

It was a rich, luxurious cream. She had bought it at the hospital in the shop where we had picked out her hats and a wig. I would use it sparingly, only at night, rubbing it into my hands before I went to sleep, allowing the scent to calm me before turning out the light.

I didn’t know I had saved the tube and picked it up out of the drawer, opened it and squeezed. I squeezed again as Dad had taught us to squeeze the tubes of toothpaste–bottom to top so we wouldn’t waste any. Empty. I sniffed. Nothing.

But that whiff of lavender earlier…I know I smelled it when I woke up this morning.

Mom left us five years ago today, in body. Ageless, now timeless, she visits me from her place in eternity. There must be fields of lavender in Heaven. Yes, I am sure of it.

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