Stu is gone six years on Thursday. Shortly after he passed, the boys and I went through a few of his favorite things. Casey wanted his dad’s Marine Corps album. Cuyler wanted his watch and wallet. I wanted his ratty Marines sweatshirt. I used to tease him about its decrepit condition, but he sure looked cute in it. And he let me wear it when I was pregnant with Casey, and then with Cuy, when I was as big as a bear. I keep it on a box under my bed and every now and then I pull it out and bury my face in its softness. It hasn’t smelled like him in a long time and yet a few days ago, when I sat on my bedroom floor holding and kissing and sniffing it, and it smelled of nothing, I was surprised. And angry. Six years is a long time. The three of us have been through so much in that time. And I’m not whining. No one’s life is smooth sailing. But, crazy as this sounds, I sat there thinking we deserved some sort of reward for having survived and just a whiff of the dad and husband who left us too soon would have been enough.
And then it hit me. If it couldn’t smell like Stu it’ll smell like Sue. It’s not the same by any means, but the boys will be happy to see it. They might even want to borrow it. And then God knows what it’ll smell like.