At a recent event where I took questions from the audience, an elderly woman asked me this: “Can a spirit visit a house and leave a scent?” I smiled, and told her that was very likely. Loved ones who have passed into spirit want us to know that they are still with us, and one way of doing that is by leaving a “calling card” that identifies the spirit – a fragrance unique to that person, a knock on the door or, in some cases, a soft voice that calls our name. The woman nodded, then said sadly, “A couple days after my husband died, I smelled his cologne in the kitchen. Was that his way of saying goodbye for the very last time?”

The woman said her husband had passed three years ago. I was surprised to hear that her husband of 32 years had not visited her since that one experience so long ago, because I felt that she was surrounded by a very loving presence. But I kept my curiosity to myself, because I will not tune into someone who does not give me permission to do so. Even if it’s good-intentioned, that act would be an invasion of privacy.

Instead, I explained to the group was that what this woman had experienced was called clairolfaction – the ability to “smell” a spirit energy. For example, when my husband Benjamin smells cigar smoke – and there are no smokers around – he knows his maternal grandfather Benjamin Baron is around.

Another woman shared a story of dreaming about her father, a geography teacher, a week after he had died of a heart attack. “I saw him sitting at his favorite desk,” she said. “He was correcting student papers. Suddenly, the picture went white. The light was so intense, I woke up.”

“I think your father was telling you he was alright,” I said. “He was showing you that he has gone into the light. And that’s another way spirit visits us – they come in a dream.”

I believe that after we die, I told the group, our soul stays around the earth plane for three days to see to unfinished business and say goodbye to friends and loved ones. In addition, our passing triggers a life review, where we assess how we’ve impacted people in positive and not-so-positive ways. And the first step of this process involves going to our funeral and hearing what everyone says about us. Think about it – if given a choice to observe your own memorial service, wouldn’t you be curious to see how many people came, who attended, and what they whispered about you when they thought no one was listening?

Later, after the event, the woman who had scented her husband’s cologne approached and introduced herself as Sarah. As we chatted, I sensed feelings of fear and hesitancy around Sarah, yet I said nothing to address those emotions.

“What you said about your husband smelling cigar smoke, and his grandfather continuing to visit,” she began. “Why doesn’t my husband Jack ever come to me anymore? Did I do something to make him angry?”

“Not at all,” I assured Sarah, then told her of the loving presence that I felt was near her. “Was Jack a shy man?” I asked, trying to bring the spirit closer to me. I sensed the male spirit in my mind, but that’s all the information he would give.

“He was quiet around others, but he was quite comfortable with me,” she said with a smile. “And he could be pretty stubborn at times.”

Jack came closer, and in my mind I saw him tucking his wife into bed at night. “Do you ever think you feel his presence before you go to sleep?” I said. “Or do you ever hear knocking around the house?”

“I don’t think so,” she said, uncertain. “After I thought I smelled his cologne that time, I felt so sad I went to the store and bought a bottle of it. Sometimes I spray it in the air to remind me of him.”

Aha! I thought, and told Sarah to put the bottle away. She looked aghast.

“I might be going out on a limb, Sarah, but I believe Jack wants to tell you in his own way that he’s still watching over you. Trust that he’s with you, by letting his scent come from his spirit, not a bottle.”

Sarah smiled again and thanked me for giving her a few minutes of my time. “The minutes were well spent,” I said, and we shared a laugh.

On the way out of the room, I smelled Old Spice and stopped a moment. I closed my eyes and remembered my dad’s bristly cheeks in the morning, when I was a little girl. After shaving, he’d splash on a little Old Spice before heading to work. That scent is one of the ways I know my dad is nearby. I thanked him for visiting, took another deep breath, and held it as long as I could.

If you have any questions or comments on this subject or on any other spiritual matter, feel free to write me at mail @ carolynmolnar.com. And please visit me again!

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