We may all be outlived by our perfume bottles

I haven’t yet figured out whether it’s easier or harder to lose someone to death after having lost the closeness of the relationship while they were still alive. In a way, it’s a loss in two parts. The difference is the finality of death—as a fait accompli, it leaves no further opportunity for any kind of change in the relationship. Never mind that given each opportunity while they were alive, one may have chosen to reject it. In that case, death is simply a detail, another punctuation mark in a life filled with many others.

Perhaps, there is only one way to deal with those who are dying: on their terms. Why should it be any other way?

Regarding those who were living representations of their era, their departure becomes symbolic as well as personal. Things will no longer be, or pretend to be, as they were.

But relics remain. Inanimate objects that carry the mark of their time outlive us to convey our history to strangers as unforeseeable as the acquaintances we made over a lifetime, bringing a strange reassurance.

Display of perfume containers at the Corning Museum of Glass

3 thoughts on “We may all be outlived by our perfume bottles

  1. As with everything related to death, we all are different, and we deal with the losses differently. For me, in the described scenario the answer is resounding yes: it is easier (and I don’t think, I know so).

    On a lighter note, talking about perfumes: yep, bar earthquakes/fires/locusts, most of us has what Vanessa (Bonkers About Perfume) calls SABLE – stash above and beyond life expectancy. But if you think about it, perfumes aren’t the worst worldly possessions people might leave behind: those have not only resell value, but also are easily re-homed – unlike the most of stuff that is left. There was a sad article in New Yorker about things that are left from the previous generation that their children do not need or want.


    1. So true – earlier during the pandemic, we learned that charities had to stop accepting donations of items for a while because they were overwhelmed by the amounts they were getting from houses being cleared out.


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