Examining The Power of Touch During Tragedy

My family is being evacuated from our home in Northern California. A fire spanning 50,000 acres is 5% contained, and heading our way. I’m across the country, but I feel it just the same. Except maybe more because I’m alone. I’m not grieving with a community who hurts too. My family asked me what I wanted from my room— I don’t know.

Source: Los Angeles Times

We’re on the phone very often. I can speak comforting words and see things through a lens, but the distance is ultimately impenetrable. I can’t hold my little sister in my arms. I can’t lay on my mom’s chest. I can’t receive a kiss on the forehead from my dad. I can’t rub my cat’s belly!    

Sometimes it’s hard for me to get the courage or eloquence to tell the people I love that I love them. But I feel that one touch can transfer a hundred emotions. A touch can tell someone exactly what you’re trying to say, even if neither of you are quite sure what that is. Touch is innate, and fundamental.

Source: Patch.com

Right now, I feel empty without the warm touch of my home. Especially because it might not be there when I come back—at least not with all its pieces. If I can’t run my fingers along the old shingles of my family house, or twirl the leaves of the trees I’ve grown tall with, I fear there will always be something missing from me. Without touch, I may never have closure.

For my home right now, I guess I hope for courage. Courage to sit and wait, to watch the news, to detach from material things. Courage to touch, to share the weight of tragedy through a held hand.


Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!