One unique characteristic of losing a child is the loss of the physical touch of another person— the holding of hands when walking, the hugs of greetings and departures, the snuggles while reading, and kisses on the cheek before bed. When you have a small child, you are always touching them and they’re always touching you.
When Constance was little and I worked from home, she would come up to me and say, “Take a break,” to get me to look at her and not at my laptop. Grabbing my hand, she’d then say, “Come here please,” and lead me to whatever she wanted my help with. If she needed me to open a childproofed pantry, she’d say, “Help me,” which is clever, because if she’d said, “Chips please,” I would have said no. But who can resist a request for help from a baby? A trip to the refrigerator, or anywhere, is improved mightily by walking while holding the hand of your child.
With the exception of hugs from beloved friends, there isn’t a lot of touching in daily life. I appreciate all the hugs my friends have given as we grieve the loss of Constance. When my crying upsets strangers, I offer them a hug of mutual comfort. Still, my body wants to snuggle up with Constance and feel her heart beat as we eat chips in bed and read together.