January 20, 2022

Jan 20, 2022

Image: Nina Bisognani

Scents and Memories 

With the holidays a recent memory,
the scent of cookies baking in the kitchen
still lingers in my mind.
But there are other scents that remain
with me as well. 

One of the most memorable of these is the scent of
Old Spice, my father’s shaving lotion.

I always associated that strong, clean scent
with my dad as he shaved each morning
before leaving the house for work.

On Father’s Day, I often gave him 
Old Spice products as gifts.  Many years later
when Dad moved to a nursing home,
I made sure he brought his Old Spice. 

Toward the end of his life Dad sometimes slept for long periods of time.
Would he ever awaken? I often wondered.

Then the night came when he lost consciousness entirely.
His nurse called me early on Valentine’s Day of 2011.
 “Come quickly,” she told me.

Though I arrived at the nursing home minutes later 
to hold his hand, he was already beyond my earthly reach.
The person I knew and loved had left on a new journey.
He was still warm. His beautiful blue eyes were closed. And he smelled wonderful.
One of the nurses had splashed him with Old Spice aftershave 
the night before he died.

I kissed him on the forehead and prayed that he was at peace, trying not to cry.
Deep in my heart, I knew God would take care of him.

That morning I brought Dad’s small bottle of Old Spice home with me
and tucked it away safely in my medicine cabinet.
Eleven years later I still open the bottle on occasion to smell the memory
of his presence.

Nina Bisognani