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Remembering the Times When Taking a Shower Would Trigger My Tears

I turned the handle, waited and then reached to feel the water temperature. I stepped in.

The task itself felt arduous. Before…it was simple and routine. Who would have thought the simple act of showering in the acute stage of loss would be this taxing?

As fast as the warm water pelted against my skin, my tears broke and ran down my face. I leaned in. My body slowly slid downward until I found myself tucked into the corner where the shower walls met. My chest began to heave from my deep sobs and my shoulders shrugged up and down.

Was it the warmth of the water or the pressure against my skin? What was it about the shower that triggered my tears? In my daily life, as I navigated the fog of new grief, I desperately tried to hold my emotions in check. Simultaneously, I deeply longed for an embrace that could never happen again. Maybe this was why the shower became my place to let go. Maybe there in the warm steam, I felt embraced. I can only hypothesize. I will never really know why. This happened daily. Physically, I was incapable of stopping it.

Thankfully, my cries were muted from the ears of my children by the sound of the pelting water. Sitting on the floor of the shower, knees tucked close to my chest I painfully cried out:

“Why?…I miss you…How could you leave me like this?”

“It’s so unfair! I can’t do this!”

“I would give anything to have you back here by my side.”

I’d lost track of how long I had been weeping on the shower floor. Something brought me back into my current reality. I shut off the water. Still in a fog, I exited the shower, eyes puffy and red, feeling completely drained. I had no choice but to cover up my grief- stricken face with makeup, get dressed and muster both the courage and strength to go to work.

This shower scene was on repeat for what seemed like forever. Was it a year?…Maybe more. And then one day the pattern broke. Perhaps that was the point where the fog began lifting? Did it mark the moment when I became “unstuck”  between the life before and the life after loss?It’s unclear.

The frequency of shower tears diminished after that. Now years later, I can tell you that although seldom, every once in while, a strong sensation of sadness strikes in the shower and the tears roll. For me, it’s evidence that I carry a sadness for this man who will forever be missed and always be loved.

A version of this story originally appeared on the GoodGrief App blog.

Photo credit: Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images