Yesterday I couldn't get past stepping out of the shower dripping wet and feeling assaulted by the 22 degree below temperatures that sneak through the cracks in the doors and windows of my house. I seldom skip a daily shower. Today, I couldn't get past the fact that I didn't take a shower yesterday and felt just plain grimy, so I reached in the shower and stuck my hand under the spray to test it. It had to be hot.
I stepped in and started to rub the soap onto the nylon mesh ball. Jerry had a stockpile of his favorite French milled soap. I ordered it every month for him two or three bars at a time. During this phase of showering I always think of him. He never used a washcloth or a mesh ball, instead he held the bar and kind of rolled it around both hands to gather a lather.
Days after he died, I took the sliver of soap that he last used, dried it and tucked it in the top drawer with my underwear and passport. I can't explain why. Maybe in time of grief no explanation is necessary. I often act on a need; a deep unexplained need and I just go with it. This is a strange time in my life; a mishmash of emotion that cannot be fully understood. I feel like one with multiple personalities, often confused by the swirl of opposing emotions. One moment I feel intense joy, while in seconds waves of sorrow overcome me. There are times of clarity and times of uncertainty. Sometimes fear wraps me and strangles, while later I may feel the excitement of opportunity and freedom. None of it makes sense.
I run my fingers over the top of the smooth oval, the soap showing signs of wear through the vein-like lines that run through it. I bring it to my nose, inhale and tuck it back in the drawer for safe-keeping. Mango scent, one of his favorites.
Each day following prayer, I am quiet if only for a few minutes, listening to what I need. It may be simple like skipping a shower on a cold day or saving my husband's soap and handling it like an artifact of the MFA. I don't always have to have a logical reason for what I do. I just do it, act on my intuition. Grief is messy. Grief is complex and sometimes the wave of varying emotions are confusing and make no sense. It just is-what it is.