Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Smell of Death

The black, industrial-strength trash bag lay unopened on top of the laundry room washer. Though the bag's top was tightly twisted shut, a hint of its contents drifted toward my discerning mom's nose.

It was the kind of trash bag in which dead things are usually contained.

And a whiff of death was present this afternoon.

Reaching into the back darkness, I began to slowly pull out the contents... piece by piece.

"How odd," I thought, "that this offensive odor smells more to me like life than death."

Life and death, strangely mixed, pouring forth from a common trash bag in my laundry room.

But, this was not a common trash bag, this container of death; it was packed full of dedicated discipline, strife of a worthy goal, sweat and body odor seasoned with sophomoric hopes held tightly since grade school playground days.

The bag's contents were soon exposed by sunlight twinkling through the oak's yellow leaves which dangled outside the room's window: football cleats, chinstrap guard, ankle brace, receiver gloves, half-used deodorant, dirty compression shirts, crumpled socks...

and some crushed dreams.

An emotional tsunami washed ashore; the effects of death are like that. Expected times of grief are contained... while death's small reminders overtake unexpectedly.

Tears pouring down over stinky football locker's contents?

The season had not ended as expected. At this point, however, the wins and losses were secondary to the realization of this ending: my last son finishing his last football season.

And that's how "lasts" go.

Sometimes we know we are experiencing a "last", but most times the "lasts" pass quietly without notice.

Can I remember the last night I read this 6' football player (correction... ex-football player) "Good Night Moon?" or tied his shoes for him or kissed him good night or gave him a quarter for the gumball machine? Nope... but...

I will never forget this laundry room death scene.

P.S All of Hillcrest Cottage, including Lucy, are sad:
Lucy and (Ex) Football Player Nap on the Couch


  1. What a sweet picture of Lucy & her boy!


  2. Yes, it's all so bittersweet.

  3. I remember that tightness-in-the-chest feeling when the younger daughter cheered at her last event. And the laundry.

    It gets better.