Vintage pictures are some of our best memory triggers. But, you may be amazed at how certain smells and odors can conjure up memories, both good and not so good.
Try this exercise. Close your eyes and think of the sweet scent of Mom's apple pie or cinnamon buns just coming out of the oven. There are hundreds of scents just as powerful that can bring you back to a particular moment in time.
But, not all memory scents are sweet. Some conjure up memories that represent a negative event.
The smell of diesel fuel and gun powder instantly conjures up vivid pictures in my mind of an event that happened during a monsoon in Viet Nam.
Obviously, it can be counter-productive to intentionally recall negative memories except when in therapy. But, in some cases negative events we have suffered in our past can be critically important to our grandchildren and to future generations.
Documenting certain tragedies, failures or negative events can actually inspire future generations and, in some cases, provide valuable family history.
Take, for example, the horrible experience of suffering from a life-threatening disease. The odor of rubbing alcohol could trigger memories of the experience.
Documenting the memory can provide important health information for future generations and at the same time provide insight into how to deal with life challenges.
Of course, if the negative experience causes intolerable emotional pain, it is best to leave well enough alone. If not, you could take advantage of a simple memory scent to capture a legacy moment for the benefit of your descendants.
When legacy moments present themselves in the form of certain scents or odors, take advantage of that opportunity to document the moment in your LegacyStories.org Vault. It can be one of the most generous gifts you can give to your family, turning lemons into lemonade.
Tom Cormier, Legacy Coach
You may never know how hard-hitting you avice has been to me, Tom. Whether it is odor therapy or not, what you have said is so impactful, that it inspires me to write a blog on that same theme, "some memories stink"