Monday, July 25, 2016


I went grocery shopping with Lily on Saturday.  Lily likes grocery shopping.  She gets to pick out her racecar(t) in red or blue and she sits somewhat snuggly, her legs looking long and too sharply angled as she sits diagonally across the front seat, but contentedly as we 'vroom' around the grocery store, as I try to get her to find colors in the items on the shelves.

She started to wind down a bit toward the end.  As I was looking for facewash or hand cream or something for Emma, she reached over and knocked a packet of foaming bath soap into the cart.  I finagled the cart further away from the shelves and pulled the soap packet from the cart to place it back on the shelf.

It had a duck on the front.  I don't remember what exactly it was called, but it was lavender foaming bath soap.  I have made Lily's bubble baths with Johnson's Baby Bedtime Bath since she was born.  I love how she smells when she's done. doesn't foam up as much as I like.  So after placing it back on the shelf briefly, I snatched it back with an internal "what the hell" and tossed it into the cart.

I googled it.  Here's what I used.
Sunday when I was starting her bath, I remembered the packet was still on the kitchen island, and ran downstairs to grab it.  I ripped the corner and dumped some into the bath under the tap.  It bubbled..."foamed" might be an overstatement, but it was fine.

And then the smell hit me.  Lavender?  Was THIS what lavender was?   I knew that smell.  Didn't like that smell.  I was on the with it?  Dump it?  I went downstairs to check on Lily, then came back up to turn the water off before the bath got too full.  It seemed like the smell was stronger.  It was giving me stress.  I could actually feel my pulse increasing.  I laughed at the absurdity of it even as I reached into the tub and pulled the plug.  A friend texted me and asked me what I was up to.  I said I was draining a tub full of lavender scented water that was giving me PTSD.  She said, "but it's calming!  Lavender is calming!"  Irony.

I'm sure she was right though.  I'm sure lavender IS supposed to be calming.  It was the smell I always smelled when Leslie's sister Lauren would visit to sit with Leslie and reassure her, giving her foot massages with calming, lavender scented oils.  Lauren's visits were always just what Leslie needed.  They connected together in ways that Leslie and I couldn't or didn't.  More spiritually, I think, since I was always so skeptical of that sort of thing.  Lauren and I were sort of complimentary nurses when Leslie was bedridden at home.  Each of us lent her something that she needed, with perhaps a bit of juxtaposition, but neither of us could seem to duplicate precisdely what the other provided. 

Before I finally caved on hospice, she would take her turn sitting with Leslie so that I could sleep.  I never did, but that was the goal.  She would stroke Leslie's hair or rub her feet or hold her hand.  And always it was with that lavender oil that Leslie loved and I tolerated for her sake.  In the end everything Leslie wore smelled of lavender.

And now when I smell it all I can think of is her last month or so in our bedroom laboring for breath.  And I don't like it.

When the tub was empty I sprayed Tilex all around the rim and scrubbed it down, the strong chemical smell of the bleach overpowering the lavender.  I ran the shower and sprayed down the sides of the tub, then filled it again, this time with Johnson's Baby Bedtime Bath.  I turned on the fan and went back downstairs to check on Lily.

Maybe there really IS something to this "essential oils" biz.  Definitely affected my mood...

1 comment:

  1. Does this ... smell ... like ... lavender?

    Was it a Leslie smell? A Lauren smell?

    My aide was a big fan of aromatherapy.

    And bleach, too, is a memorable smell.