Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sweet, sweet smell...oh how I love you!

The past week has been dark, very dark for me. I'm at a place where its difficult to see any light at all. It feels as though I am moving backwards, in slow motion. Withdrawing from the world. (Mom, if you are reading this don't be too concerned) I know this time is just part of the journey through my grief. I think I am in fact moving forward in terms of grieving - feeling more and accepting the reality that I must somehow learn to live the rest of my life without my first born, my baby girl, my perfect Isla Michaela. Either that or I am really going crazy! Perhaps after reading what I am about to write, some of you make think it's the latter.

I smell her.

Her sweet new baby smell, and not the odour of the morgue which has saturated all the garments in her memory box thanks to the medical examiner performing her autopsy prior to the photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep arriving to take some final photos.

I smelled her for the first time the night I arrived home from the hospital. As I was climbing into bed, that sweet smell filled the room. I actually thought it was coming from her little hospital gowns in the memory box that was then sitting on a dresser in the bedroom, so I got up to smell the box. Nope. The smell was not coming from there, or anywhere else in the room.

As I laid in bed I inhaled deeply. Mmm. That smell, sweetness. It did not fade. I smelled her again the night before her funeral, when Tim and I were both so anxious about facing the reality that the following morning we would be with her little body again, in a coffin, and that we would have to bury that little body, never to see or hold it again.

Then she came to me one day at work. Again, just to make sure the smell was not coming from somewhere "real", I moved around my office smelling books and files. Nope. The smell was just around me as I sat at my desk.

Two nights ago, Tim was already sound asleep in bed when I crawled in after 1:00 a.m. As I snuggled up behind him, there she was. That sweet smell. It was as if she had been sleeping in bed with her daddy, and once I crawled in she was safely nestled between the two of us. I whispered "I love yous" to the air, and peacefully fell asleep.

Again last night, as Tim and I crawled into bed she was there. I asked Tim if he could smell her, but he couldn't. Hmm...maybe I am going crazy, I thought, but no matter how deeply I inhaled the smell would not fade. I silently mouthed many "I love yous" to the air and again drifted peacefully off to sleep.

A figment of my imagination? Maybe. But, had you have asked me before Isla's death if I believed in the presence of spirits around us, my answer would have definitively been yes.

The loss of my daughter has, however, forced me to reconsider all the beliefs I previously held. I think I have become somewhat of an agnostic. I still believe in God, but I certainly do not believe that Heaven is an actual place, separate from earth and the universe, where all our loved ones hang out in forms resembling the bodies they inhabited during their time in this life. This means I can not take comfort in believing that when I die, I too will go to Heaven and my baby girl, in infant form, will be there waiting for me in His arms.

I previously believed in reincarnation, and that souls visited earth many times over, in different forms, at different times, to learn many different lessons. This belief now frightens me, for I fear that when it is my time to go back to the spiritual world, the spirit of sweet Isla will be here on earth, in another body, and we may never have the opportunity to meet and embrace in the same realm. I also can't rationalize why little Isla's spirit would come to earth for such a brief time. What lesson she was here to learn? Unless of course she was here to teach us something. But that takes me back to the belief that everything happens for a reason, a belief I strongly held before and which now just makes me angry. If this has happened to us for some reason, than I am angry at the Big Guy pulling the strings. It leads to a bunch of whys. Why us? Why Isla? Why, why, why! Anger towards God is just not an emotion I ever want to feel.

So, for now I guess I believe that Isla's death was just an act of nature. An accident. Sometimes people just die for no reason other than their bodies have failed them. And, once people die, their spirits or souls go somewhere, and sometimes those spirits are around us, here on earth, and they can show themselves to us. I am comfortable with this belief right now. I have no one to be angry with and it makes me happy because then I can believe that sweet smell really is my baby girl, and that she is close to me. She is coming to me in my darkest hours, perhaps to ease my pain and to let me know she is okay; or perhaps because she needs to be closer to us, her mommy and daddy, to feel our love. Her visits have given me the opportunity to tell her I love her. Something I unfortunately never actually said out loud to her the day she died, and so desperately regret.

In a beautiful post dedicated to her sweet baby girl Georgina, Catherine W ( recently posted a clip of Nick Cave's Into My Arms, a song I had never heard before. I think the beautiful lyrics to this song are so fitting today, the one year anniversary of Georgina's passing:

I don't believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms

And I don't believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that's true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
To each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk,like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms

But I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candles burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore

Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms
Into my arms, O Lord, into my arms

Thinking of Catherine and her family, and remembering baby Georgina today.

Also thinking of Sarah and David, and remembering baby Ezra today, on the day he was silently born.
I desperately hope one day, in some way, we will all be able to hold our precious babies in our arms, where they belong.


  1. I think it is amazing that you can smell your sweet Isla. I like to think that our babies visit us when we need them most. For some of us it might be a smell, others a butterfuly or hummingbird, and for some it is just a presense we can feel. I do not think you sound crazy, you just sound like a mommy who loves and misses her precious baby. xx

  2. I do believe in the aroma that you smell. How wonderful to have them come to you. I have often been in awe of an aroma, from someone who has passed, when they have come my way.
    You are not crazy. ((HUGS))

  3. Beautiful post, for so many reasons.

  4. What a beautiful thing, to feel Isla so close.

    A few months after Rose died, when I was at a particularly low point, I had the most glorious dream of her. She was with me, and present and smiling and so full of love. She carried me through some dark sounds to me like Isla is sending you the same love.

    HUGS and love to you...

  5. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!!

  6. I'm glad you liked the song and that you feel your beautiful little Isla near you. Even if you never said those words aloud, I believe that she knew somehow, how loved she was, how cherished she was.

    Thank you for remembering my daughter, Georgina. I think of her, Ezra Malik, your sweet Isla Michaela and of all our little ones who are lost to us. Those whom I know by name and those I don't. I think of them whenever I hear this song. I play it often. xo

  7. I am new to your blog but just wanted to say that this was an incredibly beautiful post. I am glad that you feel Isla near you. I am also so very sorry that she is not physically here with you.