Sorting Out Life: Remembering a Mother by Her Scent

I sat on the dusty wide-planked floor of my attic and sorted through stored memories. I struggled with the final decisions of how much attraction, or need, that I truly held for each item. Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of decisions waited in every box. Piles expanded for things to keep and for things that needed to go. A stack to sell, another for Goodwill or giveaway to family and friends.

As I added to the get-rid-of section, I noticed Mom’s walker folded and laying on the pink insulation. She passed away five years ago. I walked across the wooden floorboards, stooped like a sheller to avoid the rafters, picked up the walker and placed it on a pile, sealing its fate to exit my life.

I stood, as much as the rafters allowed me to straighten. My fingers were sticky. I realized the walker’s handle still held residue from my mother’s hands. I sniffed my fingers and in an instant was reminded of Mom’s scent – a blend of emu ointment and sweetness. It was the sweet that struck me. And the most precious.

People often complimented her sweetness. She was also patient, supportive, interested. I miss her and her attributes that held me up in times of happiness and sorrow, struggle and success. Her sweet consistency pulls me through, even today.

Marta Dorton 2013

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Marta Dorton

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A visual artist and writer residing in Lexington, Ky, Marta E Dorton creates vibrant, textured acrylic paintings and colorful printmaking pieces. When she paints or prints, her focus is on color and texture, form and negative space; she blends these values into her writing. Writing has become an important part of sharing her experiences and emotions. Marta states "My husband's death in 2001 sent me into a deep depression. My feelings of hopelessness and loneliness were overwhelming. Writing and creating art have aided my grief journey and served as outlets for expressing a wide range of feelings".

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