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Monday, 11 July 2016

Who will be holding your hand?

One of the most memorable events in my life was holding Joan’s hand at her sickbed for nearly 3 weeks. It also made me realise that such a person is absent in my life. I reached out to a former girlfriend but she was evasive. She said that I will soon get someone who will and wasn't sure if she would be around (in touch and in time). I replied that this was a rational answer to an emotional question.

At a certain moment I had the guts to share my concern with Joan. She asked me not to worry about this and promised me that she would send someone to me. She insisted however that I should not be looking myself. Latter request is not as easy as I assumed it would be. Recently, I shared this info with Joan’s sister. She said we were a very special couple. Very close and special, I replied.

Death has few friends, I noticed, perhaps as we have a hidden fear of contamination. This observation strengthened me in holding her hand as often and as much as possible. Soon she reached out to me herself as if she felt the same. We often exchanged a quick gaze in each other's eyes to acknowledge its importance.

The subject of this blog – who will be holding your hand – has been on my mind for some two to three weeks now. I couldn't even start writing this blog given its emotional content. It's still hard writing it now as my face would show to you. I am also wondering why it's so important who is holding your hand in the last weeks or days of your life.

Whenever people noticed me at her sickbed holding her hand, she would introduce me to them by saying: “This is my boyfriend” and I would add “and I'm her best kept secret”. Most people never saw us together despite knowing each other since 1999. I suppose that only Love defines who is holding your hand: parental love and romantic love.

For young animals and humans, physical contact is an important part in defining their social hierarchy (BBC). Physical contact between adult animals and humans is much more of an exception than default behaviour, at least from a time/space perspective. Essentially, there are only two extreme types of adult physical contact: fighting and loving. Fighting is clearly a breach of our existing social hierarchy. Holding hands is a confirmation of a social bond, a.k.a. Love.

The idea that there may be no one to hold my hand is not appealing. I have come to realise that this person cannot just be your latest romantic conquest. It requires much more. In my 19 January 2016 blog, I mentioned the 7 ingredients for a unique relationship: communication, forgiveness, intimacy, respect, togetherness, trust, and vulnerability. I feel that togetherness (see my 20 January 2016 blog) played a crucial role, besides the obvious ingredients like forgiveness, respect and trust.

Togetherness does not even have a Wikipedia page. Combining the results of 2 dictionaries (1, 2) would give: "The pleasant feeling of being close to another person". Holding each other's hand at her sick bed felt like a perfect expression of our togetherness. Togetherness is indeed a wonderful feeling and so the question remains: Who will be holding my hand?

The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand (1963) - lyrics, video, Wiki-1Wiki-2


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