Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mom, Hope and Eau Du Soir

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. 


  1. What a poignant post Josephine and I really feel for you. I lost my mum about 5 years ago but the pain never totally goes away. The memories are good, but painful and that loss is never replaced.

  2. This month is very blue and filled with painful anniversaries. Loved reading your thoughts...beautifully written.

  3. What a strong post. Strong words, emotions.

    I've never tried this perfume.


  4. Very touching post - I hope you are finding the process of writing about your mother to be cathartic. I am sure it would help anyone else going through the grieving process too. The first year is the most painful because of all these "anniversaries" you have to get through, though as Michael said above, the loss of your mum will never be replaced - in my case, 11 years on.

  5. Just wanted to mention that Darren and I both had insomnia last night as well. I only know this because we hooked up by chance on Facebook, surfing the internet to pass the anxious, painful, not sleep filled hours. I agree with mermaid, that was so beautifuly written and I feel every sentiment. Thanks for your call. We will hook up soon. I love you,
    Your Baby Sis.

  6. Thank you all for your kindness.

    It helps to write about my mother at those times when the loss feels overwhelming.

    Your shared experience, and comments of support, strengthen me.



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