Memories: A Bookbag Full of Lotion, Body Wash, and a Hairbrush

When our loved one dies all we have left of them is memories. And, memories come in many different forms. Sometimes it may be a special photo, which brings both smiles and tears.

If you’re walking this grief journey alongside me you understand this double-edged sword.

Perhaps like me you will never have a photo of your child walking down the aisle. Or graduating from college. Or maybe you won’t have a photo of them holding their first child. So, what do we do? 

We hold tight to the memories and all we have left of them.  

Even if it means we hold on to a half bottle of body wash, lotion, or perfume because it was the last one they used.  Or perhaps you refuse to clean out their hairbrush, because the bristles still hold strands of their beautiful hair.  

I know some women who have kept their mother’s china and silver even though they never use it. Some guys have their father’s old tools tucked away in the garage.

My husband who has hair like The Rock, keeps his father’s comb, which is over 50 yrs. old and has missing teeth! He obviously doesn’t need it for his hair, so, why does he keep it? Memories! It’s a piece of dad, and all he has left of him.

These small, tangible things become our memories, just like a photo. It’s all we have left.

Don’t tell us it’s been long enough and it’s time to dispose of these things.

It may never be time, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Since Melanie ran off to heaven I am determined to hold on tightly to all I have left of her. Which is why I continue to keep her blue canvas bookbag, filled exactly as it was when I received it the day after she died.

It’s chock full of her favorite lotions, body wash, shampoo, and her hairbrush.

Occasionally, when I open it I can still smell her scent. And if I close my eyes tightly, I can hear her voice telling me, “Momma, it’s okay. I’m better now. I’m healed and I’m free.”

Published by pat

Mom. Wife. Honey. Jesus-Girl. Love to travel, cook, make beautiful things grow and spend time with family & friends.

11 thoughts on “Memories: A Bookbag Full of Lotion, Body Wash, and a Hairbrush

  1. Im holding back the tears of this commentary. Im sorry your heart breaks over and over again. The wounds go very deep. May God wrap his arms around you and keep you close. May your memories of Melanie give you the peace you need to run the race of life till the day you meet again.
    Your a strong woman and I trust that our heavenly Father will see you through today and to the end of time.

  2. Sending you love and hugs as well as a bushel basket of prayers. My grandmother’s homemade housecoat has been in my closet for over 35 years. I still smell it from time to time, wishing her scent was still there. I feel like I still have a piece of her. We NEED our memories, we couldn’t survive without them. Friends and family think I am a strong woman. If they only knew what I endured to gain that label. My grandmother raised me and every time I feel that housecoat, I am a little girl of eight all over again. Thank God for memories, hold tight to them Pat.

    1. Thank you for sharing a part of your story, Sharane. I’m so glad you still have your grandmother’s housecoat. I know how much she meant to you. 💜💜💜

  3. I get it – While straightening out a closet of towels, I came across an old open box of tissues. I pulled it out, deciding to use them up. When I pulled out the first tissue and brought it to my nose, I was shocked because it smelled just like my sister-in-law who passed away almost 10 years ago. She had stayed with us post-Katrina and must have been using those tissues! I put the box to the side, not to use the remaining tissues but to inhale the box when I want and invoke so many memories of our wonderful Joe Ann.

    1. Oh Leslie, what a surprise that must have been for you and a beautiful gift. Yes, we need to be so thankful for our memories. 💜

  4. I saved my Mom’s powder, my dad’s deodorant lol…so uncanny that you happen to mention that. I have a few things that I saved that were my parents. Jace didn’t have much when he came home so I saved it all. I do have a small bag that I keep in a special spot of the clothes that I bought him the week before he passed. I won’t wash the few he wore…I can still see the shape of his foot in a pair of socks. On the really hard days I just hold and hug a shirt he last wore. I know it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s like an embrace, that probably doesn’t make sense….I can’t really describe it.
    Someone told me I shouldn’t save too many things. I remember saying…”Memories and things are all I have left. There’s no way anyone is taking those things from me!”….
    It surprises me what people will say sometimes. Actually, it surprises me that it usually comes from a mother who has no idea what this is like.

  5. Heartfelt, beautiful, and helpful blog Pat. We have a little cap and smiling face Apple Toy from our son Christopher – and a phone, a few school work clothes, and school papers from our Grandson Stephen. They are very special and meaningful to us. Jean

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