I have this soap my mom gave me as a present. I think it was for Christmas… I’ve been holding on to this soap for years, thinking I might want to just keep this little gift from my mom… a memory of the fact that she was here to give me gifts at some point in time. It’s this pink bar of soap… she always showered me with expensive gifts, even when she didn’t have much money. I used to get mad at her for spending money, but ultimately that was one of her ways of showing love, so I learned to release that feeling.

I think sometimes we hold onto stuff out of fear… I had a fear that if I used this soap, there would be no more gifts to remind me that my mom was here to give me gifts. It’s SOAP! A simple bar of soap that is taking up physical space… so I started using it. And I though the only way to get through being able to use this bar of soap was to take photos of it slowly disappearing over time… but then I thought to myself, that’s kind of depressing! It’s how I felt watching my mom drift away, why would I take photos of soap that would mimic the same feelings? So I’m simply just using it and letting it be used.

It’s not pretty. In fact it’s falling apart, kind of cake-y, and leaves this sort of gross puddle of soapy water in the dish. It doesn’t even smell that great anymore. Prior to adding the soap to the dish, I had a fear-thought: Would I feel sad every time I’m in this bathroom? Is this soap helping me or haunting me?

The truth is I *do* think of my mom every time I am washing my hands with this bar of soap. And it doesn’t always make me feel sad, but I definitely think of her when I’m doing this hand-washing ritual. It’s nice because there are less and less things in life that are reminding me that I had a mother. That might sound harsh and it’s totally not meant to be, but when she’s not around I have to work hard sometimes to continue to remember the positive, loving memories I did have. I purposefully don’t keep photos around me. For some reason, I can’t bare to look at her, that is a huge reminder that she’s gone… maybe someday I’ll get there. I can post facebook photos or a video every once in a while and then return back to it when I want to; that’s something I have control over. I am not yet ready to put my mom’s face on the way to my bedroom or above the TV so I can see it when I walk in the door. That’s not the ways I want to remember my mom right now… that’s just me.

Anyway, back to the soap; Her buying me little gifts is one of the things I want to hold on to. This soap is a representation of that. Now the idea of hand washing is slowly integrating it’s way into reminding me of my mother, therefor keeping her alive in my thoughts in a positive manner. Eventually when the soap dissapears, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be thinking of my mother when I wash my hands.

So what you can do is choose the kind of memories you *WANT* to hold onto, and put them into a pattern in your head, associating them with positive memories. The soap is just an example, but you can do this with almost anything. I have an awesome pair of my dad’s sweatpants. I didn’t keep much clothing, as he was so much bigger than I was, but this bright blue pair of over sized sweatpants makes me feel so comfortable, warm, and loved when I wear them. It re-enforces the way I feel about my dad (yes, FEEL, not felt, because I still FEEL this way).

Is there something you have, a physical item, you already have a positive relationship with? Something that makes you warm and fuzzy?