In Memoriam

by Nava

How many of us have loved and lost? I’m not just talking about perfume: friends, family members, spouses, pets…we mourn for different things in different ways, and no two are ever alike.

Three years ago, my life as I knew it changed forever. The details of this transformation don’t matter, but in coping with all the upheaval, I decided, who better to help get me through it than family? Turns out, this was the worst decision I could have made.

Those of you with close, reliable family ties might be thinking: how could family possibly turn their backs on one of its members? The answer to that question is: quite easily. This isn’t an essay written in anger, and as I said, the details don’t matter. What matters are the lessons we learn from our experiences. The lesson I’ve learned is this: no matter how awful things get, the only person you can rely upon when the going gets tough is yourself. Nothing and no one else matters more.

I’ve lost my entire perfume collection; all my Serges; everything. As far as I know, the bottles themselves are still alive and well, I am just being denied access to them. Unfortunately, they will be elsewhere in a few weeks time, and there isn’t anything I can do about that. Many of you know I’ve been living with my aunt and uncle in Toronto for the past year, and sadly, my relationship with my aunt took a turn so sharp that not only am I no longer living in her home, I am not allowed, by her mandate, to access any of my belongings except through third parties. I’ve joked in the past about my aunt’s intolerance to my fragrant endeavours, and always did so cheekily, and without rancour. But, our conflict now goes much deeper, and, I fear, there won’t be any reconciliation in the near future.

The casualties of this particular war are my material possessions. In making my move from the DC area in August 2009, I jettisoned most of my belongings. What’s left, I’ve realized, doesn’t mean all that much to me, including my bottles of fragrance. I’m not saying I will not continue to love fragrance; I always will, and I will continue to write here at the Posse indefinitely (or for as long as they’ll have me). Going through as much as I have for as long as I have, has made me realize it is impossible to hang on to everything. I’ve thought about the prolific disasters of the recent past: September 11, hurricane Katrina, the Thailand tsunami, the earthquakes in India, China and Haiti; not to mention others. Those who were lucky enough to survive found the will to carry on, despite losing all their worldly possessions. Thankfully, my situation isn’t anywhere near as tragic as those; but I have a grasp of what matters. The rest is just extraneous; including my perfumes. It might take me a while to get back to the Salons in Paris, but no one will ever be able to take away my memories of being there. The scents will live on in the same manner.

I’ve chosen to share this with all of you because writing it down is part of the journey. My ability to do so is something no one will ever deprive me of. That is the most empowering feeling I can ever know. Dissemination of information may not always accomplish what you want it to, but in this instance, the forum of fragrance goes much deeper than the actual scents. We revel in our knowledge and find solace in our common interests. Loving and losing is part of life. The loss may be a precious, irreplaceable vintage bottle of something, or it could be everything. In my case, the loss is all encompassing; but only metaphorically. The tangible items may be gone, but there is the hope of a brighter future, and even more scents to sniff and enjoy.

Onward and upward…

  • Geordan1244 says:

    Hi Nava,

    I’m reading this late, but hoping you get this. I have a bottle of Fumerie Turque that I don’t wear much (got a non-spray decant and loved it, but can’t seemed to wrap my arms around the spray bottle). I’m happy to send your way to help you start rebuilding (don’t know that’s what you’re wanting to do, as I didn’t read through all responses). Please let me know. Sending you warm thoughts and well wishes.


  • howard jarvis says:

    Hi Nava, WOW What an opportunity to start collecting a whole new range of scents. Let go of the old, thet will return of their own accord perhaps. I will send you 5 FREE 2ml samples of brand new exclusive fine perfumes, if you just order what catches your fancy from our website ( Looking forward to hearing from you. Cheers, Howard Jarvis.

  • Sabbath says:

    Nava, I am so sorry for your loss and in the same time i am so happy, it did not break you, it did not make you bitter. You are a wise and strong person, but still, please accept a hug from far, far away.

  • Tara C says:

    I’m adding my warm thoughts to the voices above as you work your way through this difficult time. As a veteran of a 20 year feud with one of my aunts, I have particular sympathy for you… I’m hoping there will be a positive resolution some day between you and your aunt, but even if there isn’t, you will always have the knowledge that you rose above and were true to yourself. There will always be more perfume.

    big hugs,

  • Francesca says:

    Only catching up with The Posse days late. I’m so sorry about your situation, and sending warm thoughts your way.

  • Ninara Poll says:

    Others have given so much advice that I feel anything I could add would be extraneous. I am in awe of your attitude towards this current situation, and am glad to see your attitue is what it is. I would love to add my hugs to all of the others that have been offered, and offer all of my support and best wishes. (I went through something similar last year, down to the losing access to personal belongings that included the majority of my scent collection and the cat to whom I belong, but the rupture was of my own making, and eventually everything worked out, relationships were healed, and that cat is currently running around the house trying to discipline my mom’s new kitten.)

  • jirish says:

    Just want to add my arms to the virtual hug here. So many wise voices have commented, and I’m glad you know there is so much love and support for you. I was touched by the tone of your writing, and know that you will survive this and be all the stronger for it. Like everyone else, I hope those perfumes eventually come back to you. You are right that they are extraneous, but they are still your possessions. And getting them back to you would be right not only for you, but for your aunt as well. Is it wrong that I feel a little sorry for your aunt? It must be hard for her to live with herself. Those perfumes will be an anchor around her neck until she gets them back to you. She thinks she’s torturing you, not understanding your strength and dignity, but she’s really torturing herself.

  • Jill S says:

    Dear Nava,
    I’ve been there, and my heart goes out to you. I was locked out oIf my house, with all my belongings. I think of it as “the great fire.” All my photos and memories, clothes, etc. prior to age 22 were there. I think it’s great that you wrote about it and shared. You will survive this and bounce back. But allow your friends and fellow perfumistas to help. I have a ton of samples, and am happy to send them to you.
    Just email me your address.
    Sending out warmes thoughts,

  • Kirsten says:

    Hi Nava,

    Like so many others who’ve commented, I too had a painful separation from closest family, and suffered a rift that will never heal. My heart goes out to you and to all of you who have been hurt or have lost so much.
    Some might think its a weakness to walk away. It takes strength and courage to leave everything behind, but you are protecting the most precious thing alive – you!
    Walk a new path, in time the pain passes and gets replaced with fun, laughter and happiness.

    Virtual hugs n cuddles x

  • Stephen says:

    I think you might find that your aunt has a history of this behaviour in your family, however unknown to you, and could be acting out underlying resentments to your parent through you. I would still try to nail the b***h though. The only way to deal with a playground bully is to stand up to them, however difficult it maybe, and you will find yourself regretting your path of non-action in the future. Look on it as claiming your power back. You have invested a lot of energy into your collection and this woman is now telling you that you are, in effect, not entitled to it. It’s time you grew some, woman. All the ‘hippy healing vibes ‘ in the world do not protect the innocent from predators and ‘the path of least resistance’ is an excuse to lie down and take it all over again.

    • Nava says:

      It’s a complicated situation, Stephen, and my inclination to “nail” her has passed for the time being. I don’t look at it as lying down. She knows what she did, and eventually, the consequences will become evident to her. It may take a while, but all I seem to have these days is time.

  • nozknoz says:

    Nava, building on your insight that you are the one you can depend on, and based on my own experience with sudden loss, I would encourage you to focus on your health. Use the motivation of your new insight and change in circumstances to establish healthier habits and do something you may have been meaning to do in terms of exercise, nutrition, meditation, spirituality, community volunteer efforts – whatever is appropriate for you now. Better not to go to extremes but to take steps forward on a healthy path.

    One of my mottos is “You are only a workout away from a good mood!” Wherever you are in health terms, move forward.

    Wishing you strength in dealing with your challenges, and glad you are with us.

    • Nava says:

      That’s definitely true. Those endorphins do work wonders. I’m not back there yet; I used to be something of a gym rat in my former life, and I do hope to get back there one of these days.

      It’s great to be here. 🙂

  • Carole says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Three years ago a family member decided to disappear, and took the operating cash from two businesses with her. It was a very tough time, heart breaking, but we made it through. Sounds like you will too! And I would be happy to contribute some fumes for your future stash.

    Warm thoughts for strenght and tenecity for you,



  • Kristin says:

    Love and hugs your way honey, we’ve all experienced pain and it transforms us if we allow it to. Your strength will buoy you.


  • Mary says:

    Hi Nava– I am so sorry to hear about your heartache. Family relationships can be hard. But if you don’t mind my saying, for waht it’s worth–get your collection back. It is a crying shame your relationship with your Aunt has broken down this way, but if the cops are behind you on your right to get your proerty back, send someone over to get your things. Don’t leave her holding those cards. It sounds odd that she won’t let you back in for them, but perhaps that is all for the best– yuo don’t need to be in the presence of that negativity, or invite any more of it into your life. I am sure lots of nice folks would be willing to head over with a few empty wine boxes, put bottles in slots, and bring your Serges out. There is much we all need to leave behind, and ill feeling and negativity are always better off left in the past. But your Serges are a different story. They’re yours. They’re fun. Get them back. That’s my $ .02 worth– I hope you don’t mind the opinionating__mary

    • Nava says:

      Don’t mind at all, Mary. I’ve got a bunch of people who are more than willing to do the reconaissance work for me, but it’s the principle, you know? It’s my stuff, and she’s behaving the way she is because she can. That’s an oversimplified statement, but it’s the truth.

      • Mary says:

        Hi Nava– You are right– people who get a little bit of power in a situation, unfortunately, have the opportunity to harm others with their bad behavior. My spouse has a favorite saying– the best revenge is to go on and have a good life. You are a lot of steps down the road to your good life– I say wear your perfume while you are at it. Don’t leave it with your aunt. Send a friend to get it, and send them with a nice, big scraper and sponge– so they can slowly and carefully remove the dust from their shoes after they have packed your things safely away on their way to you. Let a friend perform this act of loving kindness for you– it will feel good for you and your aunt will be faced with having someone else witness her mean-spiritedness in person. A consequence which may teach–

  • Winifreida says:

    Like everyone I’ve been through tough times including a painful rift with family that is now healed… trying to hold onto material things has made it tougher, in fact created it.
    It is amazing how as I have gotten older many things I thought were treasures are now just *baggage*.I think I am entering the seventh age of pilgrimage. After first thinking OMG how could you walk away from the Bell Jars, I thought, no she is right, there will always be more BJs!!
    After spending a couple of years and a small fortune collecting perfume, I often now challenge myself with the idea letting most of it go. (But I won’t, I’m too terrified of the post office!)
    I would look forward to just getting back the ones I truly could not live without!
    Let time pass, that distance heals all.

    • Nava says:

      I do hold the thought in the back of my mind that cooler heads will eventually prevail, but at this point it just doesn’t seem likely. It’s interesting what you get used to living without.

  • sybil says:

    I’ve got nothing but healthy, healing vibes for you. I am glad you have support, but so sorry your aunt is crazy. (because, I’m sorry, how could you treat a niece that way?)
    I know you are on sniffing and collecting hiatus, but I have a spart bottle of Fendi Asja…when and if you’re ready.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks for the kind words and the offer, Sybil. The sniffers are definitely on hiatus right now, but I know they will rebound soon. 🙂

  • Tiara says:

    Nava: I know there aren’t any words anyone can offer to erase the pain and emotion you are feeling. Your aunt may have your things but you have your integrity and she can never take that from you. I admire you for not giving her the satisfaction of knowing that you want your possessions so badly you are willing to send in a third party. However, don’t let pride stand in the way should the opportunity arise to make a rescue on your terms.

    Hugs and good thoughts sent your way.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Tiara. I’m not ruling out the possibility of a personal reconaissance mission, but for now, it’s not on the table. And if the situation remains as such, that’s fine with me.

  • Zazie says:

    Nava, you know, from your post and answers to the comments I feel you are standing up straight through this “blow”; you are strong and you will certainly reach the end of the tunnel soon. Feeling confident about yourself and hopeful is the first step!

    And yes, leave your Serges behind, you can do without and find new exciting things to sniff: may those ‘fumes send positive vibes to your aunt… You might get your precious bottles back, when time cools the boiling spirits down, and most importantly you might find your aunt again. Sharing a house sometimes creates acute contrasts, even among people who love each other dearly…bringing out the worst from everyone and words and actions seem so definitive and unforgivable… But things eventually turn out for the best… I wish this will be so for you.

    You know Dante Alighieri? As an exile he found comfort in writing, and he created amazingly wonderful and horrible circles of hell where he merrily put all his political and personal enemies, from popes to emperors. How did he select their punishment? The ” contrappasso” law: your perfume-hating-aunt locked up in her own house with all those Serges, scenting her rooms of dried plums and cedar is as close to hell’s contrappasso as it gets! ;)

    • Nava says:

      LOL! Zazie, that is so true! I never even unleashed MKK on her. I can only image the “punishment” that is capable of!

      I thought I went into the living arrangement with “eyes wide open”, and it was only temporary. Alas, things did not work out the way I’d hoped. I’m not hopeful for a reconciliation, due to circumstances that are far beyond my control, but the strength I am gaining from all my travails will certainly come in handy once things have settled down. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  • minette says:

    a big hug to you. and, yes, i believe you are right – you can only truly depend on yourself in the end – although i would never give up the strength and support and cheering on of my good friends in the meantime. they make it so much easier to go through stuff like you’re going through. but the awareness that you must depend on yourself is a good thing, an empowering thing. you are stronger and more dependable than you know.

    i’d like to add that extended periods of navel-gazing, during which you dissect and analyze every little piece of whatever or whoever it is, are not worth the time. i’ve finally come to that conclusion after indulging in much of it for years, and then, finally taking another tack.

    which is: your intuition tells you the truth. hear it. acknowledge it. move on. getting stuck in that space where you just go over it again and again is fruitless.

    • minette says:

      p.s. from the more-pissy side of me. you might want to remind your auntie that theft is theft, even if it’s between family members, and that the police might be interested in what she’s doing with your belongings.

      • Nava says:

        The thing is, Minette, the police are not interested. And you know what? Neither am I. Things are just things, and eventually, they can be replaced.

        • Sherri M. says:

          You are right, Nava. Things are just things. It’s the broken relationship that is so painful. You just let it go, sweetie. She may or may not come around. You can forgive her, and I’m sure you will always love your aunt (or this wouldn’t be hurting you so much). Sometimes, though reconciliation isn’t possible or even healthy. You keep on loving and don’t let this make you bitter. More virtual hugs.

        • minette says:

          was just thinking that that might motivate her to release them. yes, things are just things, but it also takes time, energy and money to replace them if you choose to, and getting her to let them go would be simpler. oh, well.

  • Ruanne says:

    I am so sorry. I will hold you in my prayers. I once had to walk away with my wallet, Rolodex, and the clothes on my back. There’s a very unmoored feeling that follows- can be both exhilarating & horribly frightening. Once you are feeling settled, don’t let the belongings left behind loom too large. When I eventually got my things back, a year later, I was surprised at how paltry they seemed, especially measured against that Rolodex- the ability to contact people was all I really needed.

    Things will get better- ridiculously better.

    • Nava says:

      Those are very wise words Ruanne. “Paltry” is a word I’ve been tossing around as well, and I can certainly understand the value of a good Rolodex. 🙂

  • Tom says:


    I’m sorry that you’re in this situation but glad for you that you’ve taken the high road. Things are just things, and I’ve always maintained that the family that you’re born into takes a backseat to the family you’ve made.

    Since I am constitutionally unable to take the high road, may I state that your Aunt is a rotten old b&tch?

    • Nava says:

      Sometimes the high road is almost too high, and I thought this was going to be the case now. But, somehow, I’ve managed to rise up to meet the road yet again, and plan to continue travelling on it.

      As for your constitutional rights, who am I to deny your ability to free speech? :d

  • Wendi says:

    Nava: I feel for you my dear. I know you are going through a rough time and I hope nothing but good things come from this situation for you. Mourning the loss of a relationship is so different for everyone, but it seems as though you have the most important thing to get you through: a community of support. Don’t be afraid to lean on the people who care about you, even through this experience of learning to rely on yourself more. You’ll be in my prayers!

  • Tamara*J says:

    Hi Nava,
    I think it’s so crazy how people we love want to hurt us through our fragrances! Just because they know we adore our perfumes.
    You are wise to not let the fear grab a hold of you and run and also to realize it’s not the most important thing.
    But still I know it hurts and I am sorry for that.
    I’m estranged from alot of my family as well and you are correct.
    We learn to hold our own hand don’t we my dear?
    It is lonely but empowering too….
    If I was around I would hug you and then go to your aunt’s house and retrieve your babies for you. NO COPS. Really , it’s more headache than it’s worth and it’s horrible having strangers that could care less about your life be all in your family business… that’s just my humble opinion though.

    My SOB husband did the unthinkable when I escaped our house one night cause he was in a drunken rage and when I left he took all my perfumes in their lil’ boxes and threw them in the dishwasher and turned it on! I came home later , realized what was missing and searched and searched and then found them in made me cry so hard. I was deeply hurt that he would stoop so low to destroy my loves. CRAZY! mutherfubnrbni!

    Be well Nava, I know it sounds silly to say but you have us..
    You know what I mean. Anybody that has made perfume buddies on here knows what I’m talking about!
    Take care dearheart<3

    p.s. My 'fumes survived BTW, just like me. ;)


    • Nava says:

      Wow, he must have forgotten to choose the “pots and pans” cycle.

      I’m glad your ‘fumes survived, as well as you. I hope for the same outcome myself. Thanks for the kind words. 😡

  • MissTammy says:

    My bottles are your bottles, Nava.

    I don’t have any Serges, and my collection is mostly rose, but please let me know what you think you might like. Do get a list together of what you’ve lost, and I know all of us here can pitch in!

    You’re also welcome to come crash at my very messy apartment in SoCal.

  • fleurdelys says:

    Nava, I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. And you are correct, the only person you can depend upon is yourself. Sad but true: the myth of one’s nearest and dearest being a support in times of trouble is just that, a myth. No one can make a difficult situation worse, or twist the knife in deeper, than a family member. I’ve had first-hand experience with mother, father, husband, aunt, uncle, cousins: they’ve all had the stiletto in my back at one time or another. It’s also true that the communities of friends and acquaintances that we make through shared interests (like this one) can make more effective and supportive families than our blood ties. If it helps at all, please know that I am sending you positive thoughts and wishes that you will come out of this sad experience triumphant. As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

    And if you’d like, I have many samples that I’d be happy to send your way, just to bring you some fragrant joy. Let me know if you need my email.

    • Nava says:

      Thank you. I’ve heard that Churchill quote many times, and it is true.

      I’m sorry that you’ve also had negative experiences with your family. If it helps, know that you’re not alone in that plight. And thanks for your kind offer. 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    Oh gosh, Nava… I really feel for you. I, too, have had family members turn against me when I needed them most, and while things appear peaceful now, the love and trust are gone forever. And oh boy, have I made my share of bad decisions! But you did what you thought best at the time, and that’s all any of us can do.

    You don’t seem up for it now, but I’d also like to offer you a grab bag of sniffy stuff from my own collection; you definitely sound in need of some comfort scents, but in the meantime, I’m sending you a big ol’ virtual hug…

    • Nava says:

      Natalie, the second-guess hurdle is always the hardest to get over, isn’t it?

      Thanks for the hug and your generous offer. 🙂

  • Erin T says:

    Nava, I really hope you have some place safe, convenient and comfortable to stay until you find a new residence. As you may remember, I’m in Toronto. If there’s anything I can do to help you – provide a place to hang out, serve as an intermediary to rescue your possessions, or merely get you some decants to keep up your spirits – please let me know. March and Patty have my email and I live in the High Park area – please do not be too shy or proud to drop me a line. I’d love to meet you. Stay strong, sweetheart.

    • Erin T says:

      Also, even though I completely understand you not wanting to pursue legal intervention, Nava, I should mention that my husband is a lawyer. Though civil and/or litigation stuff is not his area of expertise at all, a lot of our friends rely on him for some off-the-record, free but researched advice on legal matters. We have also found that a careful, not necessarily official but well-worded letter to the appropriate party sometimes works wonders…

      • Nava says:

        Thanks Erin. I’m now staying with a cousin of mine who has been terrific through all this. I’ll keep what you said in mind and hopefully we can do a mini-sniffa one of these days. 🙂

  • barbara says:

    Nava-though we do not know each other,I can attest to victory and rebuilding from loss of things dear-persons, possessions, and beloved pets-what can you learn, what value can you create?It appears you have begun ….This is only one blip on your life’s radar-you will live to collect again-and even do some repairs…sending you hugs, and wishing you well…such a lovely piece-keep writing….

  • Aparatchick says:

    “Loving and losing is part of life.” Yes. Change what you can and accept what you can’t has been my mantra these past few years. That guiding principle has helped me through some tough times.

    Wishing you better times ahead.

  • Debbie R. says:

    Nava, she can’t legally keep your possessions. Explain the situation to the police and ask for an escort to go in and get your stuff. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this; it is against the law.

    • Nava says:

      It’s not here. She’s the property owner and holds all the cards. I’ve exhausted that avenue. Thanks.

  • Kym says:

    Dear Nava: I would like to help you start anew in the smallest of ways, if I can. I have more perfume than I can ever use and would love to share with you some of my discoveries. Please feel free to reach me via email (I’m assuming you can access my email address through this post?), and when you’ve settled and feel ready, I’d be delighted to share with you! Meanwhile, please know that I believe you are right about one thing: the only person you can count on in life it yourself. That’s the relationship you can’t get away from in life and the one that matters most. Once you know you can handle anything, you are suddenly free from fear and can soar!

    • Ann N. says:

      I second that, Kym. And I, too, will be happy to share whatever I have. Just let us know what you’d like, and we’ll have you surrounded by your favorite ‘fumes in no time. A big hug to you …

      • Nava says:

        Thank you, ladies. I’m concentrating on getting my act together, working, and just staying sane. The sniffers are a bit off these days; when things are a bit calmer, they’ll be back to their old selves! 😡

  • Teri says:

    Like everyone here, I send you much love and a blast of the best karma I can muster. Sometimes things have to get horrible before they can get better. Hopefully you’ve reach your ‘horrible’ and every minute that follows – starting right now – will be nothing but better.

  • Aimee L'Ondee says:

    Nava, I am so sorry to read about what’s got to be an intensely awful experience for you, and hope that things will get better for you.
    ~ Aimee

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Aimee. As I said, writing about it helps. So does knowing there are so many caring, compassionate people in the world.

  • waftbycarol says:

    I have more fragrances than I will ever wear . I hope you will allow me to share them with you , when you are ready ! Tho no Lutens…sorry !
    e-mail me !
    kafa at aug dot com

  • patuxxa says:

    Dear Nava,due to events in my family which do not involve me directly, but nevertheless payed a role in shaping my life and personality, I know only too well that family can cut you deeper than anything and anyone else. I also know that there are people in this world so toxic that the only way to be free of them is to walk away and never look back, whatever the cost. I’m saddened for your loss, but hope you can find a luminous future ahead.

  • Cheryl says:

    I’m sending out some healing peace vibes. If I have my way, everyone you encounter will let you pass easily or smile upon you. I find these extreme thorns even in families are caused by two main things. 1) power struggles..some folks will kill themselves over a sense of remaining all-powerful and 2)menopausal insanity. Don’t hate me for saying this….I’ve just seen so many folks go through a decade of inexplicable hurtful rage. Like you…I’d be tempted to survive this by distancing myself from possessions that are being held in the hostage situation until there is a cool down period. Just keep yourself calm and whole!!!

    • Nava says:

      LOL! Power struggles and menopausal insanity – I think you hit the nail squarely on the head, Cheryl!

      Thanks for the good vibes. I can use all I can get.

  • Louise says:

    Oh, so sory, Dear Nava-you didn’t deserve another difficult turn. But I know you’re very strong.

    I hope those ‘fumes come back-and give me a call or email.

    Hugs to you.

  • Meezermama says:

    Nava – Keeping your belongings and/or denying you access to them, to me, sounds criminal. I’d explore this with a lawyer. Absolutely do not let her get away with this.

    • Debbie R. says:

      A lawyer would be great, but this is such an obvious case that I think the police department would act even w/o the pressure of an attorney. If the PD won’t, then spend the money on an attorney. You are absolutely right in thinking it’s against the law.

  • March says:

    Nava, I’m so sorry things haven’t gotten easier. I’m keeping my fingers crossed you get the ‘fumes back.

  • k-scott says:

    I too have had an extremely difficult year of hurt and loss, which made me realize how lucky I am to have a supportive family. However, despite that, you are 100% RIGHT when you say that in the end the only person you can rely on is yourself. If you can’t find the strength in yourself nothing else matters. So stay strong Nava! This too shall pass.

  • Kate says:


    Sorry to hear about this twist. You’ve been strong through many situations that no one could have thought would happen. Hang in there. Big hug my dear. Lets chat offline and I will review my Serge’s and see if I can send some north.

  • kathleen says:

    Poor girl, tough times, though it does seem like you see a light at the end of your tunnel. Stand strong.

  • Melissa says:


    I’m so sorry to hear of your difficulties. While moving there may have turned out to have been “the worst decision” you could have made, you couldn’t have anticipated this. You made it in good faith, under tough circumstances. Drop me an email?


    • Nava says:

      I will be in touch Melissa.

      I know there wasn’t anything I could have done to anticipate this, but it’s still a pretty big blow, regardless. Good faith and circumstances aside, well, we always pull the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” on ourselves, don’t we?

  • pam says:

    Nava, I’m wishing and praying for the best for you. I agree you should take legal action to get your stuff back if the relationship is already past repair. Please keep up your posts. Love reading them. And we all want to hear how things are going for you.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Pam. I assure you, I am not going anywhere. Next post will be a perfume review, I promise!

      Legal action would be nothing more than a giant headache. And, as I said above, as long as I am allowed “third party” access, there isn’t really much I can do. It may sound like I’m standing on ceremony, but the thing is, it’s not the stuff. It goes way beyond that.

  • Rappleyea says:

    While others are commiserating on your loss (and I can certainly understand that), I rejoice with you on your gain – the most precious insight and wisdom of the truly important thing in life, the beauty and sacredness of yourself. You can never lose that, and that realization will see you through all manner of difficulties. I will hold you in my heart. God bless.

    • Tara says:


      After reading Nava’s post I was torn. I am very sorry that she is going through, and has gone through, such tumultuous times, however, at the same time becoming one’s self and having insight about yourself (however difficult it is obtain) is a wonderful life altering experience. It does not take away the sadness, but learning that you are your own precious treasure (that no one can take away or change) enhances who you and allows you the gift of grace. You are right there is some hope in this situation.

      As someone who has recently several personal tragedies, loss is always a gain in someway, although at times it certainly does not seem that way, and sometimes the loss is so profound that it is hard to see anything else, but there is always hope.

      Good Luck Nava.

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi Nava, I felt so bad for you reading this and my heart goes out to you. I, too, had a life-changing experience: When I was 17, I was suddenly thrust out into the world on my own to make my own way. It wasn’t easy, but like you, it taught me self-reliance and independence and most importantly, gave me a deep sense of compassion for others. I know it’s tough right now but hang in there. We’ve never met, but just from your weekly posts here, I can tell you are a warm, wonderful, strong woman with much to give the world. My thoughts and prayers will be with you. Sending you a big hug!

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Ann.

      Compassion, self-reliance and independence are three of the most important things we can ever have. No amount of perfume or any other material possession could ever replace them.

      Big hugs right back to you.

  • DinaC says:

    I’m sorry for your troubles with your Aunt, Nava. I hope you can get your things back, including the perfume collection, and that eventually your relationship is healed. It’s very discouraging to have these major setbacks in life. I’ll be thinking of you in the days ahead. Best of luck and hugs, too.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Dina. All I can do at this point is hope for the best. Setbacks are just that; and they’re usually not permanent. This too shall pass (I hope).

  • dinazad says:

    Another virtual hug from me…. And if you like, I will be happy to send you a scented surprise package to start your brand new fragrance collection in your new and hopefully happy life. E-Mail me your address (March has my e-mail address) and the fragrances will be on their way within a week or so.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks, Dina. I appreciate the offer. Right now, I’m just trying to stay busy with work, and find myself a new place. When things fall back into place, there’ll be plenty of time for sniffing. 🙂

  • Marsha says:

    Nava: I am so incredibly sorry for this yet another disruption in your life. But you are right. In the end, all you really have to rely on is yourself. I also learned this about 2 1/2 years ago when I lost my husband, my home and my job in the space of about five months. I’ve had to sell almost everything we had. I live with my Mother now, but it’s not an easy time, because we’ve never really gotten along with each other. I’m also giving you a big virtual hug. Please take care and do see if you have a legal remedy.


  • Elizabeth says:

    Dear Nava, Sorry to hear of your loss! The rupture of a family relationship is so often traumatic. I do hope you are able to repair that relationship in time. I hope that you will recover your belongings, not least of which is your treasured perfume collection–granted, they are just material belongings but also cherished mementos. Can a legal remedy be taken? Best wishes, Elizabeth

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Elizabeth. I think the rupture of the relationship is more traumatic to me than the loss of my things. But, life does go on.

  • Wendy says:

    Dear Nava. I’m with everyone else above. What can one say….I am so, so sorry for you, and am giving you a big virtual hug as we speak. Take care!

  • Stephen says:

    Apply to the police for access to your belongings. If she is keeping them without your agreement, it is THEFT. If you owe her back rent, or some such, she cannot legally hold your stuff unless you have a contract stating that she can. Sue the b**ch! Don’t give up, you will regret it later.

    • Nava says:

      Nah, Stephen. The thing is, I won’t regret it. I’ve lost so much already that the rest of it is literally immaterial. Really.

  • hongkongmom says:

    Nava, loving and losing is and has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It sure teaches u the real values of life, and the differences between the physical and spiritual and yes, what we have in terms of freedom of choice is how we r going to cope…and yes onwards and upwards with indomitable will and optimistic thoughts. for me too, a total faith and belief in G-d and the knowledge that there is purpose to everything and with His help we will achieve our individual missions on earth.
    If i was Uncle Serge…I would send u a bottle of everyone of my fragrances! You r a strong woman..G-d Bless!:)

  • Elizabeth says:

    Oh my gosh, Nava, I’m so sorry. :( Lots of hugs for you, and I hope that you can resolve this soon.

    • Nava says:

      Thanks Elizabeth. I’d like there to be a resolution, but I can’t say I’m hopeful there will be one.

  • KT says:

    I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through, and that you’ve been hurt by a family member like that. Like Amy says, though, can you not contact a lawyer or the police to get them back? It’s your property, and your family doesn’t have any more right to them than an apartment manager has a right to keep a tenant’s property if you no longer want to live there.

  • Amy K says:

    I’m sorry about your situation, Nava. Family can be so complicated sometimes. I hate to ask, but have you considered contacting the police or an attorney about the loss of your possessions, or is that not a route you’re willing to take?

    • Nava says:

      The police don’t want to get involved in stuff like this. The problem is, I want to gather my things myself, without the intervention of third parties. My aunt is refusing to let me do that, and apparently, that is her right. My own stubbornness is playing a role here, and my desire to not inconvenience any more people than have already been.

      • Debbie R. says:

        Have you asked the police or are you assuming this? Because here in Ohio, they would definitely go in there with you to get your possessions.

        Having said this, tho, I know you’re the only one who can weight the options. I just want to ensure that you know she is committing a crime. It’s not right to let people commit crimes against ourselves, whether it’s abuse or theft.

        • Nava says:

          The police have a different take on it here. As long as she’s willing to let a “representative” of mine access my things, I don’t have a leg to stand on. That really bothers me, but it seems there is nothing I can do. It is her home and her property.

  • Mindy says:

    I wrote a long comment and then erased it all. I just want to give you a big hug.