Hi there fragrance friends,

Have you missed me? I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted but here I am. Long story short, it’s been a challenging month.  Right around Memorial Day I found out that two family members were diagnosed with serious, life-threatening illnesses. As I was still processing this news, my brother died of a heart attack. He was 55.

Losing someone close to me so unexpectedly put me in a weird, almost surreal zone.  If you’ve ever lost a sibling you know exactly what I’m talking about. Since my brother was cremated in Colorado it wasn’t until his funeral last week-end in California that it’s finally started to sink it. 

 The sharp shock and pain will gradually fade. The words “Phil died today of a heart attack” delivered by my sister Anne when my husband woke me up that night and held his phone to my ear will stop pounding in my head. The rollercoaster of emotions will start to slow down. 

I know that there’s no right way to grieve. We all mourn the loss of a loved one differently. For now I’m focusing on staying healthy and staying close. I’ve been doing a lot of reading which offers a much-needed escape. I’ve had to push myself to once again go on social media. Reengaging doesn’t mean forgetting and it seems to help. I’ve gotten used to the shocked looks and stumbling offers of condolence from friends and acquaintances when I tell them about my brother.  

A quote that deeply resonated with me that I found on a grief blog the week following my brother’s death:

When a parent dies, you lose the past. When a child dies, you lose the future. When a sibling dies, you lose the past and the future.” – Unknown

After I got my brother’s news was my appetite for food was practically non-existent.  No surprise there; that was to be expected. Death and divorce are known to be the best diets ever. Even though food had no flavor I forced myself to shovel it down regardless. What I wasn’t expecting was that my sense of smell would be on the lam as well.

If you’re a follower of this blog, you know that wearing perfume has always been something that’s given a shine to my day. As it must to yours if you’re even bothering to venture into perfume blogs. When I finally forced myself to try spritzing on one of my favorites, Replica Flower Market (which has never failed to make me feel better, brighter, prettier) I experienced none of that. Its effect was like a bad scrubber. This was so unexpected I was more than a little freaked out. I then tried a few other others and found that I had the same reaction. 

Perfume is intricately linked to emotions and memories. I don’t know if this is actually a scientific fact but I believe it to be true. As a final exercise (which turned out to be masochistic) I dabbed on a little of my vintage Van Cleef & Arpels First. This was my favorite fragrance from high school and I remember my brother mentioning once that he liked it. I was instantly overcome with such intense sadness. It was almost painful, an experience I’ve never experienced before wearing fragrance. The bright aldehydic opening felt like an aggressive stab to my nostrils. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be wearing it again but I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of it. 

Packing for the trip back to memorialize my brother I questioned whether I should even pack a fragrance. Mind you, I always pack something, often a few of my favorite perfumes, but I was just feeling strange about it all. I ended up putting a small vial of one of my favorite scents, Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie, hoping it might lift me up on one of the saddest days of my life. 

I totally forgot about wearing it the morning of  the funeral but did do a spritz he following day before heading back to NY. I didn’t get the same rush of appreciation I normally do but it was pleasant. For now, I’ll take pleasant and also from now on California Reverie will remind me of losing my brother. It will always be bittersweet.

I hope your past month was better than mine and that you have a relaxing and fun-filled Independence Day. Let’s try and enjoy every moment and appreciate the gift of life! 



  1. Mariann says:

    Hi Erica, I just started reading this blog but wanted to reach out to you and let you know I too lost my brother unexpectedly on June 8, 2019. I have been so emotional it surprises me, and the quote you posted about “losing a sibling is like losing the past & the future”- this really hit me as it is so true. I wish you peace during this awful time of loss. I really loved my brother and am so sad to think I will never see or talk to him anymore. Know that you are not alone; I will be thinking of you. My brother’s memorial service is July 29 (his birthday).

    • Erica says:

      Hi Mariann,

      I’m so sorry to hear of the sudden loss of your brother. I’m sure it was incredibly sad but I hope your brother’s memorial service provided a measure of healing from the traumatic loss. I hope you will find peace with it, as I am starting to. I’m really trying to embrace everything and everyone I hold dear and accepting that loss is just part of life. Loss is part of the package for remaining here on this earth.

      Sending hugs and praying for you,

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