It is odd what one has left after a life has ended.
My father was a somewhat important person in his time, a distinction that has faded to an oil portrait on the wall of a building he never saw under a director who is the successor to the director who succeeded him.
After he died — some time after he died, actually — I happened upon a grey scarf on the shelf above the coats in our front hall closet. The fact that it was his scarf came to me instantly when I detected the odor of talcum powder that pervaded it, sparking a memory whose nature and origins a could not bring to consciousness. In fact, I have no conscious memory that associated the smell of talc with him.
But there it was, his scarf and the last possible olfactory reminder of him, hanging in my hand. For some reason, since this sort of nostalgia is not something that I think that I do, I took a lung full of this smell, got a rush of some ineffable memory, and put the scarf back where I had found it.
From then on I would occasionally happen across the scarf and repeat the strange ritual.
The smell gradually faded and, one day, the scarf was not there. I do not recall throwing it out, although I may have, and I do not recall asking my wife if she had gotten rid of it. I guess that I was content to let that last shred of physical evidence of him fade into non-existence as the fitting and proper order of things.
And, for some reason, I think that my father would agree with this.