by Laura McKittrick
When was the last time you held your parents hand?
Up until this past year past, I can honestly say that I don’t recall the last time I did. The once automatic gesture of reaching for your parents hand, looking for the reassuring safety and guidance, suddenly goes dormant as the years pass. A gesture that suddenly vanishes with the inevitable act of merely growing up, an act then lends to the assumption of no longer needing that reassurance. With time, we all learn to always look twice when crossing the street on our own and, now, we can shove back on our own when the bully’s rear their ugly heads.
With the years comes the natural transference of reserving hand holding for our significant other, replacing this gesture of safety once filled b our parents to our significant other as an intimate sign of affection.
But over the past year I realized that hand holding should not just be reserved for your significant other. No matter what age you are, I have actually found that the older I get, the more I yearn for that feeling from my parents.
While surviving the holidays can be beast on its own, this past year I experienced a tremendous amount of loss. Sudden, gut wrenching loss, and not only with death but with all ranges of changes and unwavering fear that pierced me to the core.
But I also experienced unmeasurable gratitude, spiritual growth and unshakable faith as I had no choice but to push through these events with as much honor as I could. Among the many coping mechanisms I have utilized over and over again, the one I found myself returning to was holding hands with my parents.
At different times and places, I found myself reaching for their hand. Holding my Dad’s while praying for his strength to return, and holding my Mom’s when a beautiful song brought her to tears. Simply sitting, in silence, meant more than any words could have expressed. Moments of holding the very hands that always reassured me only now, I too reassure them. This innate knowing brought an inner sense of serenity with unexpected nostalgia. Something about the warmth of the sentiment alone that now, even just for a moment, maybe I could comfort them too, the way they always had with me.
Such a simple act that so many of us likely never even think about anymore, holds tremendous value in what it’s gesture alone represents. Allowing each of us to connect with our loved ones on a deep (unspoken) level, allows us all to not only find a reassurance from them, but to extend it to them now too, and to bond in the mutual exchange of the precious moments where just a feeling, and a memory are created.