Hypersensitive sense of smell holds memories

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By Lee Scott

The other morning when I walked out into the yard, I thought I could feel autumn. After months of hot weather, the 73- degree air was a big change.

However, the real difference for me was the smell. The fresh north breeze blowing across the marsh had replaced the smell of the southern-ocean breeze. I inhaled it deeply.

But it was not only the outside morning air that was different. The air inside my home had changed.

Our old friend and constant companion, Bailey, is gone.

And although his dog hair and scent is still scattered throughout the house, I have noticed that it is slowly disappearing and the air we breathe is changing.

My spouse says I have a hypersensitive sense of smell. If we ever had a gas leak, he is confident that I could pick it up early.

For me, the sense of smell is extremely important. When I have not seen my children for a while, I make sure to hug them close and breathe in their scent. Even as adults, they are used to me pressing my face into them.

Now my grandchildren have become accustomed to their grandmother leaning into their necks and inhaling.

There are times when my spouse wishes I did not have such a good nose.  Occasionally I walk in our house and find myself seeking out an unfamiliar odor. “What is that smell?” I will ask him as he shakes his head. “Only the nose knows!” he will respond back, knowing that I will continue sniffing until I find the source.

And I confess that when he is gone on a trip, I sleep on his side of the bed and place my head on his pillow so that I can still inhale Eau de Jacques.

It is only now that I notice Brandy, our younger cocker spaniel, going around the house seeking out Bailey’s presence in the form of the smells he left behind. She licks his stuffed animals and sleeps in the bed he used to occupy.

Soon, I will no longer have Bailey’s scent around. Brandy and I will stop seeking him and learn to live in this house without him.

But for now I appreciate my hypersensitive sense of smell more as his blanket goes unwashed until it loses the memory of him.