“After we hugged, and I walked away, all I could think about for the rest of the day is what you will be facing the rest of your life, living without your firstborn son. Your fragrant perfume . . . ”
Every time I open my cosmetic drawer and reach for a bottle of fragrance, I see a bottle which I have not touched since the death of my firstborn to suicide a number of years ago. It’s a lovely perfume by a well-known designer. Even so, I cannot bring myself to wear it. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I wore it to my son’s funeral. In spite of its sweet fragrance, the perfume is forever attached to the horrific memories associated with my son’s death.
Receiving lines. Remember the receiving line at your child’s funeral? Can you recall the names of all the people who loved your child and came by to pay their respects? For me, most faces remain blurred. A few I remember. Some friends were so choked up they could hardly speak. Others offered hugs with a few whispered words. Even though I cannot recall all their faces, I know they all came because of their love for my son and his family.
A short time after the funeral I was in the grocery store, mechanically dropping things expected to sustain life into my cart. My life seemed fractured beyond repair. I wandered from aisle to aisle, feeling overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of normal. Suddenly in front of me was a lady whom I had last seen at the funeral. We smiled a greeting. I would have preferred to keep on going so that the tears would not spill over, but instead, I remembered my manners and stopped. After a hug of greeting followed by a little chitchat, she said something I have never forgotten. A few precious words from her heart to mine, as she recalled the memory of that receiving line:
“After we hugged, and I walked away, all I could think about for the rest of the day is what you will be facing the rest of your life . . . living without your firstborn son. Your fragrant perfume clung to me. All that day and evening, every time its pleasant sweetness graced my nose, I sent up a prayer for you.”
I was touched. Her kind words stirred a deep place of pain within my shattered heart. Tears welled up in my eyes as I fished around in my purse for a tissue. We hugged again and went our separate ways, but the blessing continues. Whenever I recall our meeting . . . the sweet fragrance of her words still lingers and blesses me.
A well-spoken word at just the right moment is like golden apples in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11 Voice
Recently I came across a little story in the Reader’s Digest entitled “The Kindness of Strangers.” Someone else had a similar experience involving a sweet fragrance:
“A woman at our yard sale wore a perfume that smelled heavenly and familiar.
“What are you wearing?” I asked.
“White Shoulders,” she said.
Suddenly, I was bowled over by a flood of memories. White Shoulders was the one gift I could count on at Christmas from my late mother. We chatted awhile, and she bought some things and left. A few hours later, she returned holding a new bottle of White Shoulders. I don’t recall which one of us started crying first.”
. . . the sweetness of a friend is a fragrant forest. Proverbs 27:9b GW
Media Stooksbury, Powell, TN, RD, October, 2015
Scripture selections: The Voice (VOICE); GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)