Friday, July 29, 2011

touch me

I can handle being alone. Being "single" is just fine and I am often think that this is how I would prefer to live. Loading the dishwasher in the way I deem to be correct is truly satisfying. Dancing spastically in the kitchen while the kids sleep and not concerning myself with looking coordinated or even sexy is fabulous.

But not being having any physical contact with another adult human sucks. Badly.

In the months after Jeff died, people would hug me or rub my back as I stared blankly out a window. My daughter, five years old at the time, was perpetually snuggled next to me as she feared losing me in an instant as she had her beloved daddy. My one year old son was still breastfeeding and slept in my bed. Although I missed Jeff and every small thing about him, I was still often in close physical proximity to others.

After six months, the comforting embraces had dwindled and only my little ones continued to absentmindedly touch my skin and gently stroke my face as they surrendered to slumber.

I remember going to the hairdresser and blinking back tears as she softly brushed my hair. It was not erotic or sexual in any sense....It was just that at that moment, I was worthy of being touched by another human being.

Occasionally, my sweet friend would offer her husband up for a hug as he was large and burly like Jeff had been. I know it terrified him, but I would desperately sob into his chest as I imagined being held by Jeff's safe and strong arms. It was horribly humbling to be embraced by someone who was doing so, not because they desired this, but out of obligation to their wife....and embarrassing. But I still accepted those hugs.

Now, three years later, I am quite happy being on my own. I enjoy making my own decisions and choosing which path our little family should follow. I am comfortable with my own company and am truly never bored.

But, at times, I ache to be touched. To have someone push back the hair from my cheek or nonchalantly brush my arm with theirs. Just to have another person value my physical presence and find me attractive enough to want to touch me. I want to smell someone's neck as they embrace me within their strong arms....not out of duty to their wife, but because they want to.


  1. thank you Jackie.
    I was struggling with yesterdays post because I know I will never be the widow that says I can't love again.
    I had a long and very happy marriage. My husband died from cancer after a year and a half of treatment. I know he is irreplaceable. He will forever be in my heart. I don't want another husband, In fact I will probably never marry again. Not out of duty to my love but because I know I can't recreate what I had and like you I find I can live on my own.
    I have a beautiful family, grandchildren and I am still young - at heart and fit. My husband told me to "find love again, surround myself with creative people, travel, be happy".
    It isn't easy. In fact somedays it has been damn near impossible. But I do know something. I want love. I want to be loved and give love again. I don't know how that looks and like the one post yesterday said so well - we don't know what our future will look like or even if we will have one. I never expected to be a widow at such an early age. I thought the last face I would see on my death bed would be his. I was wrong.

    Now - If love comes - I will greet it with open arms knowing that everything I learned about love, I learned from him.

  2. Jackie- You nailed it. Today is my husband's birthday (remember those?). All week I have been pushing my senses to give me back that same feeling of his tight hugs (we used to call it the "Hug of Death" when we wanted an especially long, tight hug. There's irony.) or the softness of his luscious kisses (there I used to say, "now kiss me like I'm your WIFE"), and how about the smell of the love of your life when his arms were around you? Everything else we have learned to do, learned to handle, have became so independent. This is what we all miss the most. And no one else can do it like him. Thanks for putting this into your beautiful words

  3. You so wrote EXACTLY what I have been feeling for the three years John has been gone (8-8-8). I had told a couple of friends these feelings before and they (young and not widowed) looked at me as if I was crazy. I so missed just the cuddles & the late night soul-talks too. We had been married for 34yrs and a good marriage. Yes, the sex part was missed which is the bonus in love, but not as important as that connection you get from an innocent touch. I have recently started dating again and find just holding hands can make my heart smile again. Thank you Jackie for the writings from your heart.

  4. Beautiful, Jackie. Of course, we all have our individual reactions, and no one's is "wrong" or "right," but, for me, this is why I can't seem to give up on the ordeal of dating. Throughout 19 years of marriage (with plenty of ups, downs and all arounds), we always would stop each other, when the blech of life had been the only thing we'd focused on for a bit too long, and give each other a long embrace, or that just a little more passionate than usual kiss. And suddenly, everything was better. A warm glow washed over us, reminding us we were more than child and house and job tending machines. I miss that. I miss it SO much. Sometimes, even imagining finding and building something like that with the right person seems insurmountable, but I miss having that kind of relationship, that connection, in my life too much to give up on the idea of it. At least not yet...

  5. Such an honest and down to earth post Jackie...Thank you!

    It's been almost 17 months and I often close my eyes and just imagine the kisses and the hugs. I especially liked my husband's muscular hand embracing mine. It felt comforting and all the pressures of life seemed to fade with just that simple hand holding. Gosh, would I love to experience a kiss, a hug, a hand holding just one more time......

  6. It's been 8 years.. I don't know what my late husband saw in me, but it's obvious no one else sees it.

  7. I once burst into tears when I went for a manicure - it was the first time anybody had actually touched me in so long. Poor sweet girl doing my nails - she understood a little bit of why I was wailing when I tried to explain. But you have to have been there, don't you.....

  8. Thanks for putting into words what I have so recently felt. Late this afternoon I was remembering the crook of my husand's arm around my neck so strongly that I could almost feel it. I too have almost melted under the kindness of a gentle touch.

  9. after my husband died I remember holding hands with others during the Lord's prayer and missing being touched, just soaking it in.
    Only one time did I tell my friends I need a hug.Many times I wanted to but just could not.
    I had to have physical therapy on my shoulder recently and it included a short massage.The touch helped me more than anything else.
    I am starving for touch! Sandy

  10. Wow, I so feel the same. I miss his touch so much, his hands always holding mine. As I read the post it triggered a nerve I still desperately miss. The tears are rolling down my face, understanding and missing his kisses, hugs, and hands. Those tender touches were moments of little signs of love and happiness and human touch. I too remember going for a message a month or two after, and lying on the bed totally losing it crying uncontrollably by the touch of another and missing him and realizing I'd never feel my husbands touch again. God this hurts!!!!

  11. I'd give anything to sleep spooned together again. Laying that way so long one arm goes to numb.

  12. O man, I have been feeling this so much lately. Miss. It. So. Much. Thanks for writing.

  13. My dad died 10 years ago and I know that this is something my mom still struggles with. I am 27 but when I go home to visit I still sometimes sleep in her bed with her and always make sure I give her extra long hugs. She sleeps with about 9 big feather pillows in her king size bed that she kinda burrows inside. Being a widow and a single mother is a hard job. Growing up without your dad is a hard job. But, seeing your mother be strong and soft at the same time is amazing and has taught me so much. I am so proud of my mom and I know that my dad is too. I wish you the best and I pray that each year brings more peace for you and your family. xo

  14. My mom died 5 years ago, but there were a lot of times when i just long for her presence. She is not the cuddly type but it always felt good to be just right by her side...