I have to be in the right frame of mind and emotions to be able to listen to certain songs and music as they can take you to a thousand different places as they stir up so many triggers of remembrance of times in your life. The playlist on my iPod is one of the most intimate things I can share with anyone. I find that If I ask people to listen to a particular song it’s because the lyrics mean everything that I’ve been trying to say. One particular song that I will treasure deep in my heart is a song that Jacob introduced me to on the way home from having chemo one day. He said ‘you’ll like this one mum.’ I did love the song as I hid the tears behind dark sunglasses while driving – ‘it’s beautiful’ I replied. This was the song that Jacob took his last breath to as the song finished on his phone. The song is aptly called ‘it’s nice to be alive’ by Ball Park Music and a song they used on the movie with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore called ‘Blended.’ The words of the song are catchy and upbeat with an occasional swear word that can be heard so I apologise if you take offence when you hear the song being played. Jacob was never one to swear (at least he didn’t in my company). But singing the swear words in the lyrics don’t count. I can sometimes sing along but other times it tugs too hard at the heartstrings and tears flow freely.
We lost Jacob on the 7th October 2015 at 4.33pm on a cool spring afternoon in Australia. The sun peaked through the clouds, and shone down on his face all the rest of the afternoon as the Beatles played ‘here comes the sun’ as we continued to listens to songs off his iPhone. They say Spring is the season of new beginnings – our family beginning to learn how to live without our beautiful brown eyed boy. My heart was still in winter with him all wrapped up in his snuggly clothes that covered his shrinking frame and made him need lots of layers on to retain his body heat. With his famous beanies and comfy tracky-dacks that became his new fashion sense. At this point of his life he dressed for comfort like an old man before his time, not for vanity reasons like he used to do to attract the opposite sex. I still have his favourite jumpers that he wore when his body filled his shape and also the ones where they just hung loosely off him like it was hung on a coat hanger.
I wasn’t ready to be bathed in the warmth of the sunny weather that lay ahead. How could I bask in the glory of the sun when was heart was dark and cold? I want to go back to winter where we shared lots of time together when he was away from home, snuggled under the blanket watching movies, falling asleep on the lounge together as mother and son, Jacob exhausted from treatment and me too emotionally drained to keep my eyes open. Another reason why I’m reluctant to embrace the warmer weather is because Jacob wasn’t able to swim since he had his port put into his chest to administer the chemo. Having a swimming pool at our home that he couldn’t use was a major tease so I felt guilty going in and enjoying myself when he could not. But Spring is a time to find out where you are, who you are, and move forward where you are going. How do we carry on?
Scent is the most powerful memory trigger. I love the body spray Jacob used after a shower before going out. His brother Ben uses the same one as well – Lynx Africa. I can visually see the picture of the spray in my mind, the black can with green and red stripes. It brought a smile on my face as they went out the door on a night out smelling and looking really attractive, proud mum moments knowing I’d brought them up well by taking pride in their appearance and hygiene. He’d use the scent while having chemo treatments in the hospital to freshen himself after a shower before getting visitors. These scents are emotions which are bought to life. Eating warm popcorn at the pictures stirs the senses as these were Jacob’s favourite food on these trips as we settle down to watch the latest blockbuster. I can’t bring myself to heat weetbix up in the microwave as he always used to for breaky, for the smell of sweetness floated through the kitchen. Heating up his heat packs in the microwave reminded me of this too. The distinct smell of warm wheat. As a loyal Bunnings employee he’d always buy a sausage sandwich for lunch at the regular fundraising tents outside near the entrance, and I can’t resist buying one either. Nothing smells as good as a sausage cooking on the bbq.
All of the triggers of memory that come up in sound, seasons and scent involve the senses. We hear the songs and music with our ears, we see the beauty of the changing seasons with our eyes, and smell the fragrances with our nose and they all touch our hearts. It consumes us and we feel grief with everything we see, feel, smell and touch. As we think of the things that remind us of loved ones lost, we use the last of the five senses – we taste our tears as they leak from our eyes. The love we have for our loved ones is like poetry for our senses.