I read the other day that sea otters hold hands when they fall asleep so they don’t drift away from each other. How symbolic and profound is that simple act! Perhaps if humans did more of this there would be less stress and turmoil in the world.
The other day I was holding my husband’s hand as we walked our dog through the neighborhood. As we were walking it struck me that holding hands is such a secure and comforting gesture and an intimate way to connect and bond.
I can recall many times when a hand hold has impacted my life. I remember when my children were learning to take their first steps and how their tiny hands grasped so tightly around my fingers. They totally trusted me to provide support as they embarked on this new and exciting mission. I remember the first time I ever held hands with a boy I liked and how intimate and thrilling it seemed at the moment. It was awkward at first, but grew more comfortable over time. I remember holding my sister’s hand while she stood bravely as her son’s body laid on the gurney in the hospital. It was a moment of support and comfort as I tried so hard to let her know she wasn’t alone with that simple act. (He had passed away unexpectedly from a blood clot.) I remember how she held on tightly as she tried to comprehend that terribly sad moment. I remember holding my mom’s hand as she breathed her final breaths of life. In reality, that was a comfort for me. Mom was unconscious, but just in case she was somehow aware, I wanted her to know her family was there to support her through to the end as she was always there for us. I also remember kneeling by my dad’s body the morning he died. I arrived after his passing because he died very suddenly. I remember picking up his hand and held it one last time as my siblings and I said goodbye before they took him away. My best friend, Jeanne, and I will sometimes hold hands as we walk side by side down the hallways of school. It is a particularly comforting gesture after a hard and trying day in the classroom. Mike and I often hold hands as we drift off to sleep at night. In good times, in bad times, in times of comfort, in times of support, in times of closeness, nothing quite compares to reaching out and wrapping your fingers around another’s.
Holding hands is such a powerful gift and I can’t believe how often it has been underappreciated in my life. I am taking a lesson from the sea otter and will extend my hand more often an effort to keep the important people in my life from drifting away from me!