August is proving to be a more challenging month than I was prepared for.
It's after midnight and I'm wide awake, flooded with memories of my mother, anticipating two significant dates.
Very soon, six months will have passed since her death and one year since her heart surgery, which marked the beginning of the end.
This time last year, Mom had just decided to go ahead with the surgery. It was risky and complex, but she had given it a great deal of thought and she was at peace with her decision.
I spent August of last year marking time as the 25th drew nearer, dreading that day, vacillating between hope, numbness and terror.
Nightly, leading up to the surgery, B-man and I sat together on the deck, drinking wine and talking out every scenario we could imagine. With him, I could share my fears openly and he simply listened and then sat with me in silence when there were no more words.
And every night, I wore Eau du Soir by Sisley.
For some reason, this perfume communicated emotions that were far beneath the surface. The green opening notes seem bitter to me now, but then, they seemed...hopeful, like new life emerging. Even though it is a chypre, Eau du Soir's floral heart was gentle and reassuring. The warm base notes glowed deep into the evening, like the sunset against the mountains.
I promised myself that if Mom came through the surgery, I would replace my decant with a full bottle in celebration of her triumph.
Even though she did survive the surgery, Mom's life would never be the same and neither would ours. Suddenly, we were caught up in a drama beyond our control and we watched, over the coming months, as the vibrant woman we knew and loved slipped away.
Memories of Mom before the surgery are triggered by the smallest things; the weather, beautiful mornings on my way to work, rainbows, music and perfume.
We had one last gathering right before her surgery to celebrate being together and to shore each other up with our collective faith and hope in a bright future. I will never forget how she looked that night, how happy she was to have her family close, how she and Dad stood at the door and waved goodbye as we drove away.
Last night, feeling blue and lonely for my mother, I sat on the deck with a glass of wine, again wearing Eau du Soir, just as I had last year. B-man joined me for this ritual and listened to me talk, then sat silently as I cried. Secretly, I hoped she would join me.
I never bought Eau du Soir last year, but maybe now. For her.