The scent of memories


They say that scent is a powerful trigger of memories and I know that to be true. Sometimes I will smell a perfume I used to wear, or I will breathe in the crisp, frosty air of a winter’s evening and I’m taken somewhere else. Another time, another place. As a child I used to believe that frost and smoke smelled like my birthday and still now I sometimes feel that aroma and I can be back in my Brownies uniform, playing with my Ala Carte Kitchen and Day-to-Night Barbie… Memories are cloaked in different scents for me.

The other night I smelled a scent that took me back to a place I haven’t been for a while. I was reminded of the Manchester Christmas Markets. The smell of too many people pressed together, drinking hot chocolate and mulled wine and eating sausages and fudge. Before I could stop it, my mind associated thoughts of that day- my birthday- with our feelings at that time. Excitement.

We were so excited about the new baby. We couldn’t wait to meet him; our son. I remembered the quiet first days with his sister and how wonderful it was to devote our every waking minute to her. We used to watch her sleep, willing her to wake so that we could see her eyes once more. I wanted to take him out in the pram, dress him in his tiny clothes and carry him in his sling. I wanted to meet him.

I had a heavy heart thinking back to that day. We were different then. We never knew what was around the corner, waiting like a panther to pounce into our lives and over our dreams. We never knew that the excitement was to turn to something else, something that made the excitement sad somehow, or naive. We never knew that we were about to change so much.

There were happy times. These times get forgotten so quickly. Each photo, each memory, each trigger seems to somehow get lost in the frustration, the anger, the regret, the disappointment, the panic, the fear. Sometimes.

Sometimes I can deal with the memories quite well and I smile at how far we have come, how much we have learned. Sometimes I think that I can cope with anything now, luck is on my side. Sometimes I want to take that scared mum and shake her and tell her that it was all ok, in the end.

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3 responses to “The scent of memories

  • JoJo Kirtley

    sometimes I still smell my Grandad. He died nearly ten years ago. I sometimes catch his smell and it goes so quickly that it makes me cry. I know the manchester markets really well and you can’t beat that smell! x

  • Ithylkalina

    I also have a vivid scent-memory of my grandparents. I think they tend to have the most distinct “person smell” when you’re a child 🙂

  • Midlife Singlemum

    The smell of freshly cut grass is the playing fields at school at the beginning of the summer term. Bonfires remind me of walking home, kicking the dead leaves in the autumn. sage is my mother’s sage and lemon stuffing in the chicken. I can’t think of a scent memory that makes me sad, which doesn’t mean I was never sad – just not sad and smelly.

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