It was a simple navy blue hoodie. I dug it out of the pile of my Dad’s coats and jackets that my Mom had laid out for us to go through before she donated them. I tried it on, looked in the mirror and decided to take it home.
I hung the hoodie on the coat rack in our back hall. A few days later, I grabbed it as I headed out the door to take Q to school. I slipped my arms through the sleeves, zipped it up and headed out the door. After I had dropped him off and was back in my car, I noticed that the hoodie smelled like Dad. I don’t know if it was the smell of his cologne or deodorant, but in that second, it felt like my Dad was there in the car, giving me a big warm hug. I started to cry with the realization that this sweater, this navy blue hoodie with the smell of my dad infused into it was probably the closest I would ever get to having him hold me tight again.
There are days when it still feels so surreal, days when I pick up the phone to call and tell him something or text him about a game I saw. He is in my thoughts all the time. I miss my Daddy.
Sitting in my car, wearing his hoodie, I didn’t want to take it off. And then I didn’t want to wear it anymore, because I knew that if I did, over time it would start to smell like me, and not like him. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to smell that slightly spicy smell that was a part of my Dad if I kept wearing it. How would I remember? Even if I smelled the products that Dad wore, it wouldn’t be the same because it wasn’t him.
I know in my heart that the hoodie is not the only thing that will keep me connected to him. If I am honest, I don’t even really remember seeing him wearing it that much. It wasn’t a piece of clothing that I would have looked at and said “that was my Dad”. In that moment, though, it felt like the last physical link I had to him. I can still hear his voice in the videos I have, or on the voicemail at my parents house. I can see his picture. It’s the little things, though, like the way he smelled or how he greeted me that I will miss. It’s crazy how much a scent can bring you right into a moment in time, one where everything is ok and you don’t have this aching hole in your heart. But it’s only a smell and only a momebt, never to be had again.
I will wear the hoodie and I will remember him when I do. And for a few minutes, as I I zip myself into that hoodie, my Dad will be hugging me again, just for a second.