On Remembering and Trying Not To

#SOL18 Day One


She was in aisle 3.  The cleaning supplies.

“Oh no!  Not possible!  Don’t come near this one!”  Her nose was scrunched up with a look of remembering in her eyes.

“Lavender”, she yelled.  I could hear her all the way at the end of aisle 3, near the milk.

Lavender, I thought.  Lavender.

My mind had the same look of remembering as her eyes.

The remembering wasn’t of the bountiful lilac bush that grows outside of Kolmar School and blooms so beautifully every spring.

The remembering wasn’t of the way our neighbors lilac bush would grow over our fence at the house in Park Forest where I spent my childhood.

The remembering wasn’t of freshly cut lilac stems sitting in a vase of water with the scent wafting from room to room in my condo in Orland Park.


Those pictures in my mind have now been replaced with new remembering.

The walk into the facility.

One ambo driver saying quietly to the other, “Hmmmmmm.   Sure is a strong smell of lavender here.”

Didn’t she know that I could hear her?

That we could hear her?

For the next 52 days, I would be washing that lilac out of my clothes every night.  With the hopes of not remembering it anymore.



12 thoughts on “On Remembering and Trying Not To

  1. I love how you constructed this piece. You engaged me from your first line, I kept thinking, who? Daughter, mother, student? Then this powerful sentence, “My mind had the same look of remembering as her eyes.” Your imagery beautifully juxtaposes what I am now imagining to be a memory best forgotten. You welcomed me, your reader, into the feeling of your memory, yet kept the memory to yourself. Beautifully done.

  2. It is amazing how a painful experience has the power to take a lifetime of positive sensory images and replace them with an association that brings a haunting ache to one’s system. I can relate to this moment. Well done.

  3. I have to pick up my kids… but I cant stop re-reading this slice. So powerful. I hear something new each read. I ache for you. Pain in writing. Therapeutic and calming.

  4. The organization of your piece is so powerful…the one line sentences that create tension for the reader, conveying a message that is so vivid and powerful. Its so interesting the power that our sense have over us- of both our good and not so good memories. I hope the smell of lavender eases the grasp it holds over you and your family over time.

  5. I have to say I began reading this with my face all scrunched up at the first mention of lavender. Totally not my thing! But ended extremely emotional with so many unanswered questions.

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