Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Joys of Dirty Laundry

In the weeks following my husband's death earlier this month, I've been blessed by having my house cleaned twice by other people. What a precious gift it was not to have to focus on something as mundane, yet as important, as house cleaning. It seems that even something that simple can take a toll on a grieving widow. However, the time came this past weekend when I had to do it myself. Another first since entering this new phase of life. There never seems to be a shortage of firsts.

I had no motivation to clean but knew I would feel so much better after it was done. I had my list of chores, and my daughter had hers, and we both got to work. I think it took me practically all day on Saturday to get everything done, because I kept getting distracted. I would go to put something away in a drawer and see something that reminded me of Chris, and then I would just park there for a little while.

While hanging up some of my clean laundry, I side-stepped to Chris' side of the closet for a few moments and literally stuck my head into the area where his clothes were hanging. You see...within hours of learning of his death, I quickly ran to our closet to seek out a whiff of him and found comfort in his clothing. I could smell him when smelling his clothes. I'm sure I'm beginning to sound a bit crazy at the moment, but trust me...having his scent around me brought extreme comfort. So, on Saturday...I did my usual routine of "sniffing out" his clothing only to discover his scent was barely there. Actually, I'm not sure it was there anymore at all, but I think my mind wanted to pretend that it was. I actually panicked a little, and the tears began to well up in my eyes. It was almost as if it was my last link to a small piece of his physical presence - even though I know he's gone. But, as long as the scent was there...I still I had a small piece of him with me.

Deeply saddened, I took a 30-minute break to go sit outside and read some. I had no desire to clean at the moment. I felt betrayed...again. This time...by a loss of a scent. It reminded me of when Isaac was comforted by the scent of his beloved Esau (actually Jacob in disguise)...

So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed." Genesis 27:27

That's similar to how I felt whenever I could still smell my husband among his clothing. It was a pleasing and most blessed aroma. But, now...it...was...gone.

After my break outside, I came back to our closet and just started shuffling things around a bit. I'm not sure I was really accomplishing anything. As I was straightening up some items on the floor, I noticed a small pile of clothing on the floor on Chris' side of the closet. Oh my goodness. I remember now! Right after he died, I saw his dirty clothes on the floor and asked everyone not to touch any of it. I wasn't ready to move any of his things. I had literally forgotten all about that little pile until I saw it again on Saturday. I scooped it up into my arms, and YES...his scent was there...boldly there! You would have thought I had just opened the most glamorous gift I'd ever received. And...in a way...I had. Who would have thought that finding dirty laundry would have brought me such joy?


  1. Put those clothes in an airtight bag, Leah. Just to help you get by for a while. One day, you won't need them, but for now...whiff away, my sweet friend!


  2. This was how I was when my father passed away unexpectedly. Years later I married a man who did a small stint in Machine Tooling. One day he came home and I greeted him and smelled the faint familiar smell of the oil used in machine tooling. That odor brought such comfort to my soul as it was the smell of my daddy. I agree with Charlie. I also have several tapes of his sermons, so I won't forget his voice. Blessings Leah as you plod through this chapter. Prayers abound for you!

  3. Every now and then when I go to my mother's house, I go into her closet and take a sniff. Just a touch of the fabric or her jewelry does the same thing. Not crazy at all...unless I'm crazy too.

  4. Please forgive me - I so appreciate your sharing your heart, and I am amazed by your strength. I am glad you are blogging. Losing my own husband is a fear I try not to dwell on, but even looking back through your blog, I feel like I am coming in in the middle of the story, so can I ask? What did your husband die from?