The Aroma of Remembrance

January 18, 2010 | 27 comments

I still see the car careening into my lane.

My mind replays the split-second decisions made at 50 miles per hour.

I still hear the music blaring through my speakers. Oh, do I hear the music.

And then this:
The crunch of steel on steel.
Glass shattering.
Seatbelt locking.
Airbag smacking.
Van spinning, spinning.

And the one thought racing: “I’m going to die today.”


The girls remember, too. They weren’t in the van with me, but they were at home when I walked through the back door after coming home from the hospital on the same day. (A miracle, truly.)

Maybe they remember that it was a snowy day when I hobbled in with torn pants, bloody shoes, crutches and a face of deep gratitude at the miracle.

Maybe it’s the fact that — exactly one year later — I’ve been playing the song over and over again.

Our senses are acutely aware.

“Mommy,” Lydia said the other day. “It smells like the day you were in the accident.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I don’t know … It just smells like that day you came home. I can’t really describe it.”

The day of my accident, I held Lydia close and long. She sobbed, and so did I. And we breathed each other in. They say smell is one of the most powerful memory triggers.

(I wonder, now, about the fragrance of Christ. For Christ was close. Very, very close.)


A rush of emotions swirls about our home this week. Gratitude and sorrow, peace and grief. One year ago, so much changed here. And we’re still trying to process it.

We faced death in our family, twice in one week. In the front seat of my crushed Toyota Sienna, I survived.

And then, four days later, from the bed of a hospice room, my father-in-law’s story ended differently. He died on Jan. 21, 2009.

We both claim victory. Sweet victory. Four days apart. Two separate battles. One loving and gracious Savior at work in both places. The aroma of Christ swirling all about us.

I may take a few trips down memory lane this week as I sort through this mix of emotions. I may share a bit of it here, or I may hold it closer, more quietly and privately.

It’s a tender time here ….

Photo: Taken from a friend’s cell phone shortly after I arrived home on Jan. 17, 2009. In the embrace, Lydia and I let tears fall. And today, I do the same here quietly as I tap at these keys and remember …

RELATED POSTS: The Miracle on Highway 75 (the story of the accident)
No Eye Has Seen (the story of Paul’s Home-Going)
Captain May I? (One of my favorite moments of communion, taken with Paul a few days before he died)
Scar (The story of the Y-scar on my leg)


A note to my email subscribers: Some of you have asked about the words in blue or pink. Those are links to other places on the Web. Sometimes, I link to Bible verses at that inspired words here at Getting Down with Jesus. Sometimes, I link to old blog posts or to others’ words or blogs. If you click on the colored words, you will travel to those places. Thank you for inquiring, and for caring, and for reading. You bless me with your words in my inbox, and with your silent witness, too. I thank you for your quiet journey with me.

by | January 18, 2010 | 27 comments


  1. Lyla Lindquist

    Breathe the fragrance deeply. (Not much more worth saying, but with you from here.)

  2. patty

    tears flowing with you and for you this week…love you, dear.

  3. A Simple Country Girl

    Oh Jennifer,

    So, it was one year ago that I first "met" you here. I followed a prayer link and read your accident post. Praising God for you this day and all you continue to bring into my life! You and yours rest tenderly in my heart and on my mind today.


  4. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    Praising God that He protected you that day.

  5. Beth E.

    Oh, Jennifer…Praising God that He kept you safe that day!

    I will go now and read the story.


  6. Deidra

    Jesus is in there with you. That mix of sad and glad and joy and sorrow. He is well-acquainted with it. And oh, how He loves!

  7. Bina @ Bina's Pad

    You are full of the frangrance of His testimony that breathes thru you…up and out to others. I praise Him with you today for the miracle of your feet still residing on this plane with us…

    I love you today…

  8. Kay

    I praise God for your salvation – both your eternal reservation in heaven and your opportunity to linger here a little longer. So thankful to know you and read your words each week.
    Blessings this week as the events come crowding into your memory with a fresh force. Focus on Him and the good.

  9. Julie

    Oh Jennifer…I was just thinking the other day that it was coming up on a year when I read about your accident and your scar that points to Yahweh.

    Saying prayers for you this week as you step back and relish in His fragrance.

    Blessings to you,

  10. Graceful

    This is such a powerful, moving story — and I love the connection you have made with scent and the fragrance of God. I am so deeply grateful that you survived that horrible crash — you have had such a profound impact on my life in these last few months since I've "met" you.

    And words cannot express my gratitude for the message you left on my blog today. Your prayers and kind thoughts and words are lifting me up, buoying my sagging spirits, carrying me along. Thank you, dear friend.

  11. Wylie

    And I am crying to. Thank you for sharing. God is SO good…

  12. Missy

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for your transparency through this.

    Praise God that He continued to breathe life into you on that day. Praise God for the work He is doing through you.

  13. Steph

    Remembering with you, Praising Yahweh for life!

  14. Faith Imagined

    I remember the phone call that I got when my twin sister almost lost her life in a car accident.

    I remember the supernatural preparation God gave me just minutes before.

    I remember the ER doctor telling me that he didn't know if she would live.

    I remember her lungs collapsing, people praying, brushing her matted hair and her asking me every minute if she was going to die or not.

    I thank God for His miracles on you and her!

  15. annkroeker

    I haven't followed/known you long enough to know, to have been there, to recall.

    This is powerful. So powerful.

    It also demonstrates the power of *remembering*.

    Thank you for taking us back and reliving a still-tender piece of your history. I feel I know you even better…and appreciate you even more.

  16. Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife

    Life is a gift, isn't it. A gift we take for granted each and every day. I, too, was in a car accident. I ended up breaking my back, but for about two hours I thought I might have been paralyzed. Everything went numb. I thought, this is it, I'm 15 years old and this it. I won't ever walk again. God spared me and chose to heal me. Thank you, Lord. Do I take for granted the use of my legs everyday? you bet I do. Father, forgive me!

  17. elizabeth embracing life

    The fragrance of Jesus as he passes by and takes me from that compressed Suburban almost 7 years ago. The tow truck driver gave my husband a silent nod and said he was so sorry for the person who died in that crash. I stood there, two days after I fell asleep at the wheel and drove my SUV 60 miles straight into a tree. I walked away just a little bruised. I know that Fragrance and it's Him who says…not yet, not yet I still have more for you here. Praying that you never forget your day of being needed on this earth

  18. Rose

    Isn't it something how smells can flood our minds and emotions with thoughts of things good and bad. I understand the overwhelming thoughts that can crowd your mind when you flash back to a certain time and place. How blessed you are to have survived. Sorrow and blessing all in such a short space of time.
    I was fine reading this till I got to the photo of your daughter/you crying. Oh my, that is so touching. God bless you and lift you up as you go through this time of remembrance.

  19. Jackie

    Jennifer…..praising the Lord for His Mighty hand of protection.

    I can sooo relate to the emotions of such an event. The sights, sounds, smells and raw emotions suddenly experienced in that one instant of time are beyond description.

    I witnessed a miracle as He touched and saved my daughters life last month and my emotions have been all over the place! Senses so acutely aware of everything that transpired in that moment! Joy, tears and sorrow (at seeing my baby so near death before the miracle, life support tubes and sounds and smells of the hospital ICU and surroundings). But above all, SEEING Him revive her and watching His miracle working power – astounding, Glory to God!!

    When I sit with in His Presence and "re-live" those emotions, I'm drawn to think about what was transpiring in the Heavenlies before and during Katie's miracle.

    As with your accident, the angels were dispatched to preserve and protect! His wings bending closer to shadow and save! The fragrance of His Presence so clear and present to defend! Oh, what an awesome God we serve!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart……Somehow, it helped me process/explain/heal another depth of my emotions that are still so fresh!!

    Sweet Blessings!

  20. Jon P

    Great Post Jennifer!
    I can remember the smell of my dad, Larry's, Wallet, which might sound weird. I sometimes take it out of the safe I keep it in so I can remember and get that warm feeling.
    Thanks for the post.

  21. legendswife

    God's forever loving presence. Soak in the Spirit. God bless

  22. Kelly Langner Sauer

    Every time I see a car the color of yours, I have thought of you. I have cringed at the thought of the pain you went through, thanked God for SUVs and being higher off the ground, thanked God for His protection of my husband when he rolled my CRV driving home to retrieve a forgotten engagement ring on my birthday five years ago, thanked God for leading me here to see Him in you and hear your voice and hold a little more beauty close to my heart, thanked God for a second life after hitting a Mack truck who turned in front of my sister and me in the rain one day…

    Is it odd that I feel so connected to you, when we are miles and miles apart, when I have never seen your face in real life? It must be His Spirit; it must be something He is doing, for He has placed you in my heart.

    I am so glad He left time for you here. So, so glad.

  23. Jennifer

    Tears here for your remembrance. I have been blessed with your writings this past year and thank God that He wasn't finished with your story.

  24. lynnrush

    I share your tears.

  25. Rosario

    You have blessed me with your stories. You are witness of God's amazing power. Of his grace and mercy. We all have stories of our own. Some are meant to be kept in our hearts others are meant to be shared. Mary, Jesus mother, kept her stories in her heart.

  26. Amber

    I go through a lot of Aromas of remembrance. I usually think back while I'm driving and have talks with God and talks with myself. Tears follow. I was in a bad accident once and I feel chills everytime I go near that accident place. I am so blessed that I was protected!

  27. Melissa

    Oh Jennifer, you bring tears to my eyes with this post as I remember the day of my car accident. In the end a beautiful memory because I accepted Christ into my life that very evening. I was told over and over by people how that if the car had hit just 1" one way or the other I would have been dead. I knew than that God had a plan for me and my life wasn't done yet but just beginning with Him in my life and heart. God bless~ Melissa


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