The hand sanitizer. Who would have thought something so simple could shake me down and rattle me on a normal day at work?
I hadn’t used any since the hospital. In the hospital, at the ICU Step Down unit, where we had to use it before entering her room. We’d be rubbing our hands together, as though for warmth, and actually for warmth, because I never once felt warm that whole week. In the hospital, where we had to use it before touching her. We used it so “religiously,” it became a sort of prayer ritual. Before touching her, we’d be clasping our hands together, praying to the gods of medicine, if nothing else.
The smell of it, first acrid then becoming a fresh powdery scent that even served to make ones hands soft, and became her smell. In the last few days, I came to associate the smell of the hand sanitizer with her. For days following her passing, I missed that smell, because each time I smelled it prior it meant I was near her. Today I went to refill the the hand sanitizer in our office and used some, becoming instantly overcome with sadness when it didn’t have the same smell. I want to smell it again just to feel close to her again. I so want to feel close to her again. Today she would have been 62.