Today I smelt an aroma I had not smelled in years. As soon as it hit my nose I was taken a back, memories began to fill my head, memories I had no idea were still there. I was young, by young I mean a toddler. The memory came from one of the many times we would go North to Pennsylvania to see my grandparents. My grandmother was in the kitchen, I remember it being small, maybe 10x6 feet. Over time this memory has become distorted as memories do, she was most likely cooking something but it is unclear to me.
What triggered this memory was something insignificant at the time. The walls of the kitchen, from what I remember, had light pastel pink wallpaper covering them. Scattered all over the wallpaper were maroon flowers, this is where the memory becomes foggy. All of those minor details have been lost in time. On those walls were shelves made from green painted wood which was made to look fairly old. Protruding out from under the shelves were pegs that you could hang things on, this is where the memory is clear to me. Hanging on those pegs were multiple pairs of decorative primitive candles, one set was white and the other was dark red. Those candles had a tough texture on the outside where wax had run down the sides during the making of them and solidified. These candles had that scent, the scent that came to mind immediately, and with that scent came that old memory along with many others.
This scent came to me at such a strange time, in all of these memories I remember seeing my grandmother who had been duking it out with cancer for as long as I can remember. Yesterday was February 2nd also known as Groundhogs Day, but I will now and forever overlook the 2nd for the 3rd. February 3rd, 2013, was the day my grandmother died. It seems like it was just yesterday she was getting back from her final trip to see the West. It was not yesterday though, five years have gone by. In those five years I have changed dramatically, if my grandmother saw me today I don't think she would recognize me, but when she did I think she would hug me and never let go. Five years, and I have thought about her every day since.
The month before she died was a very difficult month for everyone, her final birthday was one month before she passed. She was already bed ridden by then but didn't appear that way if you were just there visiting. Over the next month her physical state declined rapidly. However her mind was there until the end. I will never forget the last time I saw her, she could no longer talk or open her eyes, but when I spoke my final words to her "I love you" she raised a fist up in the air. She was so weak, but somewhere deep inside her, she was able to find the strength to raise that fist. Before she went out she taught me one final lesson, never give up, throughout her battle with cancer she never gave up. She couldn't speak anymore, but that simple motion meant more to me than anything else could have, through that one simple motion she said "Mark I love to the end of the universe and back and am so proud of who you are, in life you will have hardships and you will face adversity but never give up. My time on this Earth is up, I love you and I will see you again". Wow... Time really flies.