Pieces about the things we never knew we needed until they were taken away.
“Everything is important, regardless of how big or small”
The language of touch by Kate Bowman
God says, I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek. With this analogy we are meant to understand that God wants to be like a parent to us. Most of us are moved by this vision because we were all children and whilst we cannot always remember particular incidents, we can remember being picked up and cradled when we were in need or in pain. There are exceptions and there always will be, but most of us remember touch. Not necessarily how it felt, but the expression and meaning behind the gesture.
Touch is the first of our senses to develop as a foetus. We learn that when we become parents. The midwife or obstetrician places the baby against your skin, so that bonding begins. That touch continues throughout your life and the parent-child relationship thrives on touch and close contact.
Touch has influence on who we like and dislike, how we behave and what barriers we erect. The billions of neural pathways from our brain to our hands and fingers and back again pulse at an imperceptible rate. We talk about our split-second tactile reactions. A good example is how we learn not to touch something hot – the sensation in our fingertips sends a signal straight away – but it has to be learned. We have to recognise it.
Whether it is a magazine, the TV or a radio show, most stories that we hear now are about our dislocation and despair during the lockdown. The connection that we learnt during early childhood, that we took for granted throughout our life-course has been, not only forbidden, but prevented. The pain that we feel at not being able to convey with a hug or caress, our love, our willingness to share a burden is a physical and mental strain.
Studies have shown that just touching the hand of someone you love can act as a natural painkiller. Mike held my hand as I went through an emergency caesarean and sitting here, writing this, I know the touch and shape of his hand in mine.
Neuroscientists and psychologists tell us that what we are missing is a most basic need which they term skin-hunger. We are wired for touch and our basic biological need has been denied. When my Dad was dying, I would sit with him and hold his hand, palm to palm. He knew that I was with him and words were not necessary.
I have experienced a kind of bereavement where my Mum is concerned. As a child and even a teenager, I would sit on the floor and Mum would sit behind and stroke my hair. That caress spoke volumes. Now my Mum is in a care home and she receives all the necessary care and support she needs to wash, dress, eat and spend time with others. In some ways she is lucky. She can choose to be with or without people and right now there are many of us who don’t have that choice. But the reason she is changing, losing interest and declining in health is that she cannot touch the people she loves.
Touch speaks love, kindness, compassion and it feeds the soul. No Zoom call or phone call can achieve this.
The language of touch is at the heart of our fear – to touch is to pass on a mortal threat to the one you love and our fellow human beings. We will know we have a brighter future when we can hug, embrace and kiss without fear.
Reflections by Elizabeth
Prior to COVID I feel sure we all took life for granted & just carried on with routines of school runs, work, shopping, cooking & going out enjoying our time with family, friends, holidays & visiting the theatre, concerts to name a few.
The sight of the wildlife & sound of nature has become more apparent which we possibly didn’t realise was all around us at the time.
The one thing that I took for granted was the freedom to go anywhere. To meet family, friends, going out to celebrate special occasions with them, with lots of laughter , banter & making memories to treasure.
I will take from this that life is short, we never know what is around the corner, enjoy everyday like it’s your last & appreciate waking up everyday.
Lockdown is a Constant Reminder by B
It is easy to take anything for granted, but at the end of the day change is inevitable, we just don’t know what is round the corner.
Lockdown has made me appreciate what I have even more, and I believe it is best to make the most of the time we have, with what we’ve got in life? While we’ve got it.
It’s strange to think about what we miss when we can’t do or have something.
Everything is important, regardless of how big or small, but often the small things can mean much more to us, when we don’t have them anymore. Like a text or a phone call to or from a loved one, or a hug, playing games or a walk in the park together.
Even reading that book that’s been sitting on the shelf for ages! We can’t forget the small things! As these are usually what we take for granted the most! Often shoving them aside or putting them off!
Due to our busy lifestyles. Not seeing that they are just as important as work and money and bills to pay!