A recent Life Event soap

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earlene

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Yesterday I cut the soap I made in honor of my recently passed brother. It reflects some of his oddities, conflicts, disorganization, non-conformity, sometime cruelty, sometimes violent and antagonistic nature. He had his foibles, was mentally ill, poorly equipped to live 'normally' within this world and often incapable of getting along with others, which lead to severe estrangement and some long lasting animosity towards him and now his memory within the family, which is ongoing and disturbing to me because loosing one brother should not mean all brothers are lost. But to mention him at all within the sibling unit, leads to severely expressed feelings that seem to threaten just that.

So I talk only with my husband and sons about my recently departed brother, and even then not a lot about my feelings except to my husband (not wanting to disturb my sons). I still have 3 brothers left and don't want to lose them prematurely either. I've already lost 2, there just aren't that many of them left. I do wish they would get beyond their ill feelings over him and let it go. I don't claim to be more advanced than they are, or that I know best what's good for the family or each individual within the family, but I am certainly glad that I am not ruled by the negative emotions that our past experiences contain(ed).

So the soap: I made it a few days ago using non-approved colorants for soap (he was definitely non-conforming), a spin swirl using a lazy Susan (start & stop, change directions quickly, sudden jerky movements - all kind of his thing), then after a calm period while the soap started to solidify, a spoon swirl which of course disrupted the look & feel of the spin swirl (so similar to how my recently departed brother lived his life). In any case, event the cut represents my brothers disorganized personality & his disrupted life by cutting the bars in multiple shapes and sizes. My multi-cutter even helped with that! Tightening caused two strings to break, so I just went with it & removed them to repair later and went ahead with the cut regardless. The cut reveals so many variations that to my eye and brain, do a very good job of representing some of his internal conflicts, its uncanny. This can be seen in the 3rd picture below.

I have yet to come up with a name for this soap other than to call it after my brother for now - later I may give it a different name. I also have yet to determine if I will share it with any one of my other brothers. If I do, I would not be able to tell them why I made it or who it represents, so that would be dishonest on my part and I am not into dishonesty within the sibling unit.

The first picture is after the spin swirl.



The second is after the spoon swirl (which followed the spin swirl) just as I was beginning to start the cuts.



The third photo shows most of the bars after the cut, but before beveling:



A sampling of 3 bars that I beveled this morning (many more to do):


 

cmzaha

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Oh, Earlene those are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story. I know you have and do go through a lot. I myself would keep those bars to remember my brother since you do not want to share your story with your other brothers which are very understandable. We all have our issues and it sounds like while your brother had a lot of them some were not necessarily under his control.

To me, family is family no matter what, I still talk to my sister even if we are not as close as before but my husband will not even go to my mom's to help with little repairs on her house. She is still my sister and I still believe she had some type of mental break when her dad passed away. She is my only sister/half-sister. I simply cannot hold grudges, but my kids, sadly will not speak to either their grandmother or aunt again which does sadden me. I know my daughter will never forgive her grandmother for evicting her, and will most likely not go to her funeral. Sorry, little hijack there, so many of us have been around this forum so long we have shared a lot of stories.

Bottom line Earlene, keep your soap and your memories, your brothers have to live with their feelings you do not. Hopefully, your other close family member is doing well since the big move. 🤗🤗
 

JoyfulSudz

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A beautiful soap and a beautiful commemoration of a complicated human being. I applaud your wisdom in finding such a creative way to express your feelings and perfectly portray the many aspects of your perfectly imperfect brother.
 

Orebma

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Yesterday I cut the soap I made in honor of my recently passed brother. It reflects some of his oddities, conflicts, disorganization, non-conformity, sometime cruelty, sometimes violent and antagonistic nature. He had his foibles, was mentally ill, poorly equipped to live 'normally' within this world and often incapable of getting along with others, which lead to severe estrangement and some long lasting animosity towards him and now his memory within the family, which is ongoing and disturbing to me because loosing one brother should not mean all brothers are lost. But to mention him at all within the sibling unit, leads to severely expressed feelings that seem to threaten just that.

So I talk only with my husband and sons about my recently departed brother, and even then not a lot about my feelings except to my husband (not wanting to disturb my sons). I still have 3 brothers left and don't want to lose them prematurely either. I've already lost 2, there just aren't that many of them left. I do wish they would get beyond their ill feelings over him and let it go. I don't claim to be more advanced than they are, or that I know best what's good for the family or each individual within the family, but I am certainly glad that I am not ruled by the negative emotions that our past experiences contain(ed).

So the soap: I made it a few days ago using non-approved colorants for soap (he was definitely non-conforming), a spin swirl using a lazy Susan (start & stop, change directions quickly, sudden jerky movements - all kind of his thing), then after a calm period while the soap started to solidify, a spoon swirl which of course disrupted the look & feel of the spin swirl (so similar to how my recently departed brother lived his life). In any case, event the cut represents my brothers disorganized personality & his disrupted life by cutting the bars in multiple shapes and sizes. My multi-cutter even helped with that! Tightening caused two strings to break, so I just went with it & removed them to repair later and went ahead with the cut regardless. The cut reveals so many variations that to my eye and brain, do a very good job of representing some of his internal conflicts, its uncanny. This can be seen in the 3rd picture below.

I have yet to come up with a name for this soap other than to call it after my brother for now - later I may give it a different name. I also have yet to determine if I will share it with any one of my other brothers. If I do, I would not be able to tell them why I made it or who it represents, so that would be dishonest on my part and I am not into dishonesty within the sibling unit.

The first picture is after the spin swirl.



The second is after the spoon swirl (which followed the spin swirl) just as I was beginning to start the cuts.



The third photo shows most of the bars after the cut, but before beveling:



A sampling of 3 bars that I beveled this morning (many more to do):


Just wow - through all the turmoil and 'broken', there is still a wholeness of a brother that you love. Beautiful
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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@earlene
Wow' my heart strings are pulled as I read "yours & his life event's" describing your brother's. I have someone in my life you described to a "T" what is most sad is no one can imagine the pain your Brother suffered as well as those closest to him, especially we loved ones that cant let go from trying endlessly from a long life of trying to help & not giving up' when all others have. I give my condolences to you on the loss of your Brother & may he RIP 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Thank You for sharing. Earlene your a true "writer" in every sense of the word. If your not writing novels' you should be. Truly a gift you behold 💞🤗💫
Update: love your soap' beautifully explained & depicted. 🧼💫🙏🏼
 
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linne1gi

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@ earlene
Wow, also. We all have some family that doesn't conform to society. And I think we all have family that we want to love, even when sometimes we can't. I think your soap reflects that. Thanks for sharing with us.
 

earlene

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Thank you, everyone. You are all such fabulous supportive people!

I finally finished beveling the rest of them & showed them to my husband. He said they represent my brother so well & suggested that I photograph them all. Of course! He has always been so supportive of my soapmaking, and to receive validation that my creation fits the complexities of the man, was satisfying.

I went out yesterday to get a new SD card for my SLR camera, as I prefer to use it over my phone camera, excellent though it is at capturing brilliant colors. Perhaps I'll get those photos today or tomorrow. My left arm hurts so from the Pneumovax23 vaccine, that I am being quite gingerly in all endeavors that require me to use my arm, which unfortunately is pretty much every move I make.

The different designs that came out of this soap are really catching my eye and perhaps I see more than you all will see in them, but I am loving them. My hubby saw a duck in one and couldn't un-see the duck when I told him I saw doberman heads, which I was sure he would see and love. It will be interesting to see what others see in them when I manage to post them here.
 

lianasouza

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Earlene, your soap is made of love and art.

I had un uncle with lying problems and after reading your story I think I understand my mom's feelings a little better. I believe if she showed me and my cousins something like your soap and explained its creative process it would be really therapeutical.
 

Mobjack Bay

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I’m sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing the story and for detailing how you made your beautiful soap. Soap making can be very therapeutic, and this takes it to an entirely new level.
 

TashaBird

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@earlene Thank you so much for sharing this story. Art can be so very healing. I find your soap and how you were inspired to make it both very beautiful.
 

earlene

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Here is a collage of some more of the soaps cut from the slab. These ones, in particular 'speak to me'. The bottom right pictures all of them placed back into original order of the slab (after they were cut & beveled), less a couple of slivers left out for testing purposes.

In some I see certain animals, faces, even aspects of my brother's personality or character or parts of his troubled life. For me these are powerful representations of his life and his death, which was lonely and alone, but violent in its abrupt end to all opportunities for reconciliation with his family. I can only hope he found or finds the peace in the afterlife that he so strongly believed waits for all who are faithful in their dedication to the God of his understanding.

 
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