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Was that scent a sign?

signs from the deceased

There are a lot of people who would think I was crazy to look for signs from my son who killed himself. I don’t care. While we all have beliefs about what it’s like after we die, no one really knows even though they think they do. So I’m going to go all kumbaya on you all.

Last week, I woke up from a Charles dream, the details of which faded like an old photo as soon as I was fully conscious. I had not had a dream about him in a long time and I crave them because that’s when he is alive. As soon as my feet landed on the floor, I caught a familiar scent and started to walk around the room.

No, not in here.

I walk into the hallway where I had heard the dog rustling about. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, getting the dog’s nails trimmed hasn’t been a top priority and you can hear those soft clicks across the floor when he moves around. Clickety clack, clickety clack as he trots across our room and into the hallway. He’s an old dog now and he had sounded more active than he has been of late. Just for a few seconds. It’s what roused me out of the fog of sleep.

As soon as I get to the top of the stairs right outside my bedroom door, fully awake by now, the scent shocks my nose and I murmur Charles’ name. I feel something but can’t explain what. That’s Charles’ scent. But this is no ordinary scent.

When Charles was alive, this scent would hang in the air in his room and was pungent only when he was in a depressive episode. Other times, it simply didn’t exist. I remember that my alert senses would perk up when I detected it but at the time, I didn’t associate it with a depressive episode until right before his suicide.

No one else could smell it which was frustrating. So after a while, I stopped asking others about it. It was very distinctive and I wrote a blog post about it years ago.

Even though it was a smell associated with a deep depressive episode, it made me smile. Had he been there in spirit? That’s what I’m going with.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

7 thoughts on “Was that scent a sign?”

  1. I am one who doesn’t always believe in signs. I am not sure if it because I am afraid to ask for them or feel I don’t deserve them, but I am sure I miss subtle signs all the time. About a month ago I had been sending texts to family asking them to pray that my son would make his presence known at his younger brother’s graduation. I wanted my son to feel him there! The night before I was sitting and contemplating sending texts to my friends asking them also to pray. Right as I was thinking this, I got a strong whiff of popcorn. That was my son’s go to snack! He had a small bag of popcorn and chocolate milk every night before bed. I looked around to see if I had chips or anything that could have smelled like that close to me. Nothing! I knew it was him saying, look mom I’ll do it, okay! When I asked my younger son after graduation if he had felt his brother there, he said no, but he had a wonderful visit from him in his dream the night before. That was my boy, doing things his way, as always! He definitely gave me a sign I couldn’t ignore.

  2. I feel and see signs often , Anne , that loved are with me. Not as often as I need or would like…. but both makes me smile and cry.

    So I get “ your signs “ from Charles

  3. I am finally cleaning out Whitten’s room for the last time this week. I have cleaned it out before, only to pile up stuff in there later. It means going through everything and reading it and keeping it or not….As I was sitting yesterday going through pictures from 1991 and 1992, I kept finding notes from him that said “I love you mom….”

  4. About a month ago I was writing down some questions I had for my son’s therapist – I had never spoken to him. I was very emotional, just so sad. On my computer (which I wasn’t touching) a voicemail from My son on Mother’s Day 2018 started playing all by itself. I freaked for a second until I realized what it was. The icon remains on my computer and I listen to it often. In my mind their spirits are still very much with us – just wish these visits happened all the time.

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