I have been crying for over a thousand days and nights.
Throughout this time my grief has had different smells, in the beginning it smelled of him, I refused to wash his clothes and I would wear selected items depending on how needy for his presence I felt, it took me over a month to finally change the bedding, I couldn't even bear the idea; then my sorrow started smelling of hospitals, particularly of psychiatric units and coffee shops and terrible food in the institutions. It never smells like food in my home, I don't cook anymore, I hate eating by myself so I very seldom eat anything I made. I eat very little now, the whole desire for food eludes me.
My own body odour is also indicative of my deepest sadness, I can't care for having a shower for many days when I'm alone, it had never really been this bad, I guess I'm just allowing my exterior truly match the way I feel. It is not a punishment, for me it is a form of surrendering to my pain, and I can only do that when I am alone. Living alone just facilitates this form of surrender.
But when I must go out I use his aftershave as moisturising base before sunscreen, I also have shower gel and eau de toilette matching the aftershave, I don't care if it's a men's fragrance, it smells like him and it's all I have now.
This year has been so cruel, I'm sure I smell of medicines - analgesics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, antiemetics, anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatories, and all other classes of pills I have to take every day to help keep my body surviving. Pain smells of chlorhexidine hand wash, and it began smelling like the hydrotherapy pool. I'm sure I smell of bitter desperation.
The day it all began I smelled of doubt and uncertainty, of exasperated nerves by countless hours of waiting for news by the phone, of interviews with detectives, of rejection from his family,
and then, not long after came the smell of the tedious ritual of filling all sorts of legal paper work and thousands of forms and applications. And the smell of pitiful wilting flowers.
Since the beginning my loneliness smells of anguish at not having enough money for rent, bills, essential medications, and food; smells of pretending I'm managing and utterly collapsing in a heap of sobs behind closed doors. It smells of strange cars of people trying to be nice to me by driving me to airports or medical appointments. Airports are amongst the olfactory cues that I identify with my grief.
My heartache smells of death, of pain, of desperate loneliness, of tears and poor hygiene. Why did it all go so wrong? He was finally getting better, we were actually having a good time as a couple after having what had felt like the longest time of fighting, hurting, and resenting one another. We were lovingly looking after each other.
In my head I can play every word we said, I have the blessing/curse of a gifted memory, and I remember even the most inconsequential details, but I don't control when my mood will be better for thinking specific memories, so when my mind presents me with bits of conversations and times shared together it can make me feel good or just aggravate my grief.
That look in his eyes that was full of love, the look he had just for me every time I returned from a trip away or I cooked something he really enjoyed eating or when he felt particularly proud of being my man for whatever reason, that look of pure love, I miss it so much it aches. I miss being able to share a full meaning with just one look, I knew it was love because it was the same look he had when he spoke of the ocean and surfing, and the same look that was in his eyes whenever he spoke about flying. It must be the same look I had every time I saw him walking towards me and he could see only me. I miss him every living minute, how could I not? He was TheOne.
"I love you very much, I will be OK XXX" those where his last words to me in the beginning.