Originally, I wrote parts of this in 2017 and I published a blog about Touch in September 9, 2019. Today, I have revisited this blog and added and addendum to it. Touch is part of being human; therefore, none of what I wrote has stale dated itself. It remains relevant. In fact, for me, it has become even more significant as the months turn into years.
Maybe it will help.
I miss your touch desperately.
When you were alive my skin knew your touch by heart.
I knew how you felt.
I knew that the stubble on your cheeks wasn’t that rough;
Your shoulders were wide and your chest was solid.
Your hands were thick and strong.
I remember that your nails were always kept cut short because you thought it was gross when people were unkept.
I still know how your lips felt pressed against mine.
I still know how your goodbye kiss tasted.
I know how your “ hey, baby come here” good morning kiss feels.
I still know your kiss.
And, I miss it.
I miss it more than any words I can write.
I know how it feels to fall asleep on your chest.
And, I miss this feeling every single night.
Sometimes I miss you physically holding me so much I feel like I could crawl out of my skin.
When I acknowledge that there is nothing that can ever allow me to touch you again I feel nauseated.
Death means, never again.
No matter how much I want your touch and your warmth and your kiss, I can never feel this again as long as I live.
Physically, you are not available to me ever again.
That statement takes my breath away.
The reality of this, puts a lump in my throat and an ache in my chest.
The heaviness of this feels like it is crushing my heart.
I miss you Mike.
And, I miss your touch.
(And, this is a fucking understatement.)
Even though we are separated by time and space,
I know that our Hearts are still connected.
You are closer than it seems. (Maybe you are “with” me right now…)
Sometimes, I can “feel” you with me.
Your Soul continues to hold me close when your arms can no longer do this.
But, all this aside, I’m worried that as time goes on I will slowly forget how it felt to be physically held in your arms.
Where exactly did you place your hands on me when you wrapped me up into a hug.
How did your fingers linked in mine as we held hands as we walked through life together…
What did it feel like to make love to you.
Was it like I remember it?
(I can “hear” you say, “Baby, it was better than you remember.”)
After almost a year, (I originally wrote this in 2017) I still remember some of the less intimate details about sleeping with you.
I know what it felt like to roll over in the middle of the night and physically feel you beside me in bed.
I remember how safe and truly happy I felt laying in bed with you beside me.
It was everything I ever wanted love to be.
I’m grateful I have these memories of us.
I will never forget laying with you all those nights.
The soft moonlight filtered into our bedroom and you slept soundly, neatly wrapped up under the blankets.
You always kept your shoulder and arm out from under the covers because you got too hot.
And, predictably, you had the dang fan blowing on your side of the bed, every night, all year long.
Sometimes, I would come to bed dressed in tights, a sweater and socks.
I remember how you would look at me in my get up, and your blue eyes shone with a mix of amusement and adoration.
You would smile your crooked smile and sweetly say,
“Honey, why are you dressed in a snowsuit? Are you cold? I can turn the fan off”,
Or your other regular line was,
“Stace , take that shit off, I will keep you warm”.
I still remember our nightly bedtime rituals.
And, I hope I always do.
I also remember waking up in the middle of the night and looking at you sleep.
I am so thankful that I woke up on those few occasions because now I have these precious memories of you peacefully sleeping.
It’s odd and beautiful, that something as ordinary as sleeping becomes a cherished memory now that you are gone.
With a grateful heart, I can recall exactly how warm you felt when you lay beside me.
I know the positions you slept in.
I know how you curled up facing me and I know how you bent your arms and positioned your hands as you drifted off to sleep.
You slept very soundly. And, you were very handsome when you slept.
I remember how you moved your body to roll over in your sleep.
What I wouldn’t do to feel the bed move as you rolled onto your side again.
Now, I dread crawling into an empty bed every night.
Since you died I now sleep in the middle of the bed because it makes the emptiness on your side seem less obvious.
Every night, I lay a pillow beside me and I curl up and push my back up against the pillow because then it feels like your body isn’t gone from our bed.
In the first few months after you died I slept on an electric heating pad because I missed your warmth.
(It’s a widow problem.)
When you were alive, I remember waking up during the night; and snuggling up closer to you,
And, every time, you would squeeze me tightly into your arms.
And, still half asleep, you’d whisper “ Ummm, Baby, I love you soo much”.
Sometimes during the night, we’d both wake and our eyes would flutter open.
There was something very intimate about making eye contact upon first opening your eyes.
Not saying a word,
I just knew I was loved because of the way you looked at me.
This unspoken love is something I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life.
Today, as I write this, I’m sitting here alone at the Hilltop – our breakfast place.
Like always, I wish you were here.
Maybe in an effort to feel closer to you, I ordered your favorite sausage steak and eggs.
It still tastes good, but it’s not the same without you.
Nothing is the same without you.
It seems surreal that you are dead.
I can not get my head around the fact that it’s been almost a year since you laid your hands on me.
The once familiar way we touched each other is getting more difficult for me to recall.
Dang it, Mike, Honey, I don’t want to forget our touch.
But, I’m not sure it’s possible to remember it forever.
I know what a kiss feels like on my lips.
But, will I always know your kiss.
I know how a hug feels in my mind.
People have held me in their arms since you died.
But, those hugs don’t feel the as comfortable because the arms around me aren’t yours.
It’s been so long since your strong arms held me.
I can’t clearly remember the feel of your hug anymore.
I don’t know for absolute certain what your kiss tastes like anymore.
Sometimes, there are glimpses of it.
Sometimes I’m close to remembering.
And, if I close my eyes sometimes I can “feel” your kiss.
I think I still know.
But, I don’t really know for certain anymore because it’s been too long since you said, “come here and kiss me”
Here’s what I do know.
Mike, I would recognize if it wasn’t your hug or your kiss because your touch is imprinted on my body forever.
My skin knows your touch even when my mind can’t recall it exactly.
I still have a “sense” of you.
I can “sense” how you touched me.
I do remember the feeling of your hands on me.
But, your touch does not live outside of my mind anymore.
Your touch is just a memory now.
I try to remember how my hand fit in yours.
I try to remember the texture of your skin.
And, I am aware of how your skin felt against mine.
But, after almost a year without your touch, instant recall is starting to fade.
I want to say I can remember, but sometimes I just can’t because touch is not something that is rote.
Still, somewhere inside my cells, your touch is impressed on me – everywhere.
Your fingerprints are all over me.
And, I like it this way.
All my Love,
I originally wrote this in 2017; and, now, almost two years later, I have to admit that it is even harder to remember the fine details of Mike and all that he was. I am glad I wrote this. There are things that, without reading this, I would not remember. My recent blog, “Evanescence”, discusses how our memories become blurry with the passage of time. It is unavoidable. And, it is a further loss we must endure.
It is now June 2021. And, after all these years, 4.7 of them, I *still* miss Mike’s touch. I now know that I always will miss his hands on me. I continue to miss his physical presence in my life. When he lived his lively presence filled the room in the same way that his absence does now. My Soul misses his company; but, it misses him differently now. I miss him in a quieter, gentler way. This is the evolution of grief.
A lot has changed since I wrote this in 2017. My life has gotten louder and my grief has tamed itself and thankfully, it has become softer. And, as I have begun to engage back in life, I have also managed to quench my thirst for touch. Mike is no longer the last man who has touched me…. And, if you are wondering, yes, I thought I would feel unsettled or strange about this, but I didn’t. I used to cry just thinking about it and when it happened I had zero tears to shed. There was literally nothing to cry about. In my head I had imagined it would be a huge deal, but it wasn’t. It just was. It was a rite of passage of sorts.
And, I felt nothing.
It wasn’t the big, gigantic moment I thought it would be.
There was no guilt.
I really felt a bunch of nothing.
I felt glad that the last first was over.
I guess it is accurate to say that I felt relieved in more ways than one.
I DID NOT DIE.
Mike died. I did not. Mike’s life is over. Mine is not.
I choose to live fully and this includes touch and intimacy. And, I am better for the connection. Touch has helped bring me further present. It has helped reawaken me to the moment I am living in. Touch has resuscitated me in ways that nothing else can. Touch has given me the air I need when I was struggling to breath life back into myself. For me, touch has been healing in a new a different ways.
Touch has brought me back in touch with my humanness. I have allowed myself to acknowledged that I am still alive. And, because I draw breathe, my skin still hungers for the touch of another human being. Touch in and of itself is just that. It is not love, but it is something. And, sometimes a nebulous thing is really a big deal.