Short story by Jujus Pearls
God has bestowed us with a wonderful sensory system. All the five senses play a pivotal role in our lives and are connected with our emotions and certain situations, be it happy or sad. Sharon was a preterm baby. Her mother delivered her during her seventh month of pregnancy. She stayed in neonatal intensive care unit for two months and was discharged once she weighed two kilograms. She was born after a gap of twenty years of marriage. So, in this way she was a special child. Her mother was devoted and gave up her job to raise her. Her mother wore a particular lavender fragrance and Sharon used to find warmth and security in that smell. She felt her mother’s presence nearby. Gradually she gained strength and was at par with children of her age. After completing her schooling, she enrolled in a university across the other coast of country. After graduation and masters, she joined a Doctorate program. Contact with her parents decreased as she was riding uphill of success and her parents were treading downhill in the journey of life.
Sharon started enjoying her life and gradually started drifted towards the ills of society. Once she was arrested for driving while drinking too. On her parents, golden jubilee anniversary celebrations, her parents, she celebrated with full enthusiasm, seeks forgiveness for her irresponsible behavior. With a promise to be in regular touch, she flies back. Her parents were overjoyed by her mere presence and did not disclose the terminal stage cancer her mother was fighting with. Her mother’s deteriorating health troubled her father and he called up Sharon. After unsuccessful attempts, he left a voice mail message to contact him immediately. His wait stretched into weeks and one day his wife got defeated in the fight with cancer. He was devastated and full of remorse. After so much difficulty, his wife had born Sharon, their only child and his wife died waiting for her. Honoring the promise with his wife, he sent message to Sharon to come home taking the very next flight.
His wife had taken the promise that her body would be buried only after Sharon arrives. The whole house should smell of her favorite lavender fragrance, no one should break this sad news to Sharon until she arrives and sees for herself. Sharon called back and informed about her travel plans. When she reached her hometown, she felt a feeling of anguish and sadness. The driver was waiting for her. With head bowed, he kept her luggage and silently drove towards home. Sharon’s attempts to break the silence failed. As she reached her Porsche, she saw swarm of people with sad expressions. Her heart pumped louder and louder. Slowly, she opened the main door; the same lavender fragrance hit her. This had a calming effect for she was relieved that her mother was nearby. She felt the same security and comfort as she gad felt in her childhood. Paving way amongst relatives, her eyes searched for her parents especially her father. Inwardly, she was feared the worst. Suddenly, she saw her father in a somber mood in one corner. She hugged him from behind and almost yelled, “Dad, where is mom?” Her father turned his face towards left side and pointed his index finger of right hand towards the lawn. Sharon rushed outside. The lawn scene swept the ground underneath her feet. She saw a glass chamber. A woman in bridal dress was inside in sleeping posture. Her feet seemed to stick to ground. With great effort she inched her foot one by one towards the coffin. There were lavender plants everywhere – English and French variety- her mothers favorite. Inside, she knew what she was going to see. She ran towards the chamber and slid the cover open. There, inside the chamber, her mother was lying in a peaceful poise with a piece of paper in her hand.
Suddenly, she felt a hand on her left shoulder; she turned and hugged her father. All the while she was running around in making a life for herself that she forgot her parents were growing old and they might need her. Feeling of remorse and bitterness engulfed her and she started weeping loudly. Her father comforted her and asked her to read the last letter by her mother. With trembling hands she opened it. Her mother had written a beautiful paragraph for her.
We waited for twenty long years before God blessed us with you. With your birth, I felt complete and it gave me a purpose of life. Our lives revolved around you. We know you were embarrassed at times during your parent teachers meeting because we looked older than other young parents. We always wanted you to have a flight of your own and build a nest wherever you wanted to. In this process, I forgot to mention that when a bird flies away, she knows about her nest and where to come back. Your nest is in our arms, our house where you grew up. Each and every nook and corner has a story to tell. I stopped your father in letting you know about my cancer – terminal stage when you visited us on our Golden Jubilee anniversary. I always wanted to leave this world with you smiling face as my memory. Please forgive your father. He was honoring my promise. I got lavender plants planted in our lawn so that whenever you come home to visit your father, you should always feel me. Please forgive me for hiding my illness. I love you my darling daughter for you made my life worth living. God always bless you,
Sharon read the letter umpteen times, sat with the plants, touched them with her finger. She felt connected as if her mother had left her mortal coil only. Her mother was everywhere in this fragrance
It was time to bury her mother. She walked with her father and laid her mother’s coffin to rest. With her father, they planted lavender plants near the grave with a message: ‘Laid to rest only in physical form, her fragrance spreads in all direction. love, Sharon and Dad.”
After the church ceremony, she went back to west coast. She shifted her base to her hometown and started living with her father. Having tea together in the lawn with lavender fragrance in the morning air entering their nose reminds her that her mother is nearby and giving them company.