Smell is an extremely powerful sense for humans. It, more than sight or hearing, has the ability to evoke memories, to repulse, to seduce, or simply to produce a sense of peace. Every time I smell axle grease, I'm instantly transported back to France, where I spent 37 days backpacking in '97. That smell reminds me of all the train stations in which I spent countless hours, but particularly Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est.
Amanda had a smell, too. I don't know whether it was soap, perfume, lotion, or a combination of the above, but it was hers and hers alone. I knew she was near by that subtle scent, and it brought me instant peace and calm. But that smell is gone. It's not in her clothes, her suitcase, or her bathrobe. It's just gone.
Shortly after her first round of chemo, she changed her bathing habits, using new lotions and abandoning perfumes. Her old stuff either made her gag or wasn't seen as conducive to her health, so she changed it. I can't fault her for it, but her scent changed with it. The new one did not bring peace or calm, and I think to a small extent played a part in our distance during her battle.
But that's not the worst of it: both the old and the new Amanda smells were gone from this house before she died. And I've searched. I've gone through drawers, hunted through baskets of old laundry that never got put away, and dug deep into the coat closet. Gone. Poof.