I remember as a kid looking at my grandma’s hands and following all of the veins that went along the back and how she kept her nails short. I’ve always known her to be a hard worker and when she had to take care of my grandpa with Parkinson’s disease, her hands were gentle, but firm. She always put us at ease with a touch of her hands and a warm hug, not to mention a bowl of ice cream whenever we came over. She was always doing thing with her hands, cleaning the house, taking care of grandpa, watching her grandson when his mom had to work, working in her garden to name a few activities. She taught us the value of hard work and being loyal. My parents aunts and uncles all showed us the value of hard work and to really get into a job to do it right even if it meant a little dirt under the nails, because of this my hubby and I try to instill into our kids the importance of hard work and a gentle touch.
Over the years I have seen the power a gentle touch can have, and I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of said touch. When I was a new momma I remember being so nervous and worried that I was doing something wrong. I was given this small being, wheeled out of hospital and was basically told “good luck, you’ll do fine”. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had women come alongside me to encourage and help when I had no clue. The gentle touches that I received came in the form of cleaning my house, a warm meal made, a gentle squeeze of the shoulder and I hug my baby tight. As my first child became a sister twice the help we were given during the growing years and into their teen/preteen years came in the form of playdates, and special moments with friends, helping around the house and many, many encouraging hugs letting me know that I can a will survive the teenage/preteen years.
I have seen working hands be there in need for people an their pets at my job. I firm but gentle hold on a nervous dog/cat. Experienced hands doing precise procedures and surgeries. Hands that have expertly performed blood draws and placed catheters. Hands that have supported clients when they have had to make tough decisions. It’s a crazy place to be working in a field that requires you read animal minds as well and trying to decipher human’s thoughts. Pets trust their humans to keep them safe and to love them, while the nurses and doctors that are there to help take care of the pets have to read the body languages of the pets to know how to treat them and approach them. There is actually a whole training on making sure an animals has a “fear free” visit when they come into a hospital, you know what the main focus is? How we handle and touch the animals. If we provoke more fear or nervousness we are not handling them correctly and are taught to reevaluate the situation. The power of touch is a real thing.
We use our hands for so many things, when we chose to use them to hold a hand, hold a leash, or start a project, it’s amazing what they are good for. Yesterday I had a really hard day at work, actually it was near the end of the day that was the hardest. I had to be there for a client who was putting her 14 year old dog down, and when there was a point that the dog needed some support before we went forward it was the gentle hand of his owner holding him that calmed him down to be loved and comforted by the rest of his family. As I returned home from that appointment it wasn’t my family this time that helped me relax, it was sitting next to my dog and just petting his head. He allowed me to twirl his floppy ears in my fingers and scratch his head and neck. That calmed me down and helped me to be there for my family. He may not have working, gentle hands but he allowed my hands to pet him so that I could start to relax and get to a point that I could be present with my family. The power of touch is a wonderful thing. Until next time:
No other form of communication is as universally understood at touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties, and fill the emptiness of being lonely.Randi G. Fine