Will Everything Be Okay?

August 24, 2009 by  
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I have a lot of anger inside of me.  I have some ideas of how and why I’ve ended up with all this anger but that’s for another post.  Notice I’m not saying I’m an angry person but saying I have a lot of anger inside.  The difference is that my anger is not present in my life every day.  It’s like a caged animal just waiting to bounce out and when that happens it’s bloody.  I have been working on managing my anger for a long time and it is much better.  Maybe instead of being a jaguar it is now a snake.  The symbolism might not make sense to you but just believe it has gotten better.

My husband got scared of my anger a few times.  Last Saturday a very close friend of my his asked me to babysit for his one month old baby.  Not a big deal except that I had not really heard from this particular friend from October 08 through August 15th 09, when he came over for the first anniversary of my husband’s passing. 

I said “yes” as I always think if we can help a friend why not?  But then the anger started to come up.  Why would I be giving my Saturday to a man who didn’t bother to ask how I was for almost a year?  A man who said he considered my husband a brother.  But as I had said yes I followed through.  It turns out it was a beautiful time.  I don’t really know why this friend didn’t contact me for all this time but I have a hunch I will find out sooner rather than later.  I also know, while not very friendly of him not to have been there for me, he must have had things happen in his personal and business life and that he loved my husband and cares about me.  The point is he was really nice and spending a couple of hours with the baby was magical.

After feeding, changing the diapers the baby finally fell asleep laying on my chest.  She wanted my warmth to feel safe and connected and I welcomed it as it also made me feel connected.

Sunday night, my dog curled up with me.  That’s very unusual for him as his ritual is: licking me good night and then going to sleep at the bottom of the bed.  But last night he curled up with me.  I could feel his body heat and I’m sure he could feel mine and it was soothing.

When my husband was alive I used to ask him every night if everything was going to be okay.  I actually asked him that all the way to his last day when he was too frail to make everything okay even if he wanted to but he answered “yes” that everything was going to be okay.  When I was seeing a therapist she asked me why I would ask a question that I knew the only true answer would be “I don’t know.”  I couldn’t really answer her then but now that I think about it my answer would be that what I really wanted Chris and I to know was that we were together no matter what.  Of course neither he nor I could guarantee the outcome of anything but we could let each other know that we were there for each other and that made everything okay.

Chris left me with his immense love for me and his love lives within me and it warms me up. With loosing him I have also lost a lot of my anger.  I know it’s a strange thing to say as most people that have not gone through I huge loss would image adding more anger not loosing some.  But the truth is when life presents itself in its rawest form, there is no space for anger and as corny as it may sounds I have to say there is only space for love.

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The Magic Of Holding Hands

August 3, 2009 by  
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When I first moved to New York from Brazil the thing I missed the most was human contact.  In Brazil, when you meet someone you give them one kiss on each cheek instead of shaking hands.  You also often hug and hold hands with your family and friends.  So I caught myself going to get a manicure more often than I ever had anytime before in my life just to have my hands held.

As I think about it when babies, touching and holding is how we communicate and experience the world.  As we start to walk, an adult holding our hand gives us the courage and the safety to take those first few steps.

As we become kids we hold hands with our friends and when we start dating holding hands becomes a whole new experience.

What I most miss about my physical experience with my husband is strolling in the neighborhood on a Sunday morning holding hands.  On those moments I felt safe and a part of something bigger than just me.

I wonder why in this country we are so hesitant to touch each other.  Why must we shake hands instead of a kiss or a hug?  Why if not dating someone we need to go to have our nails done so someone will hold our hands?

I did a little digging on the web and what I came up with as answers were that today hand holding means commitment (between partners) or the streets are too crowded for hand holding or we are too busy to make time to hold hands.  To me these all seem silly reasons to not do something that is so easy and can affect the way we feel in the world. 

If you don’t believe me below is an excerpt of a New York Times article proving my point.

“Based on what we’ve seen, when we get more physical intimacy we get better relationships, whether a mother and an infant or a couple,” said Tiffany Field, the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Even monkeys understand the importance of a hand squeeze every now and then. In “Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals,” Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University, wrote that some monkeys hold hands in reconciliation after a fight.

James Coan, an assistant professor of psychology and the neuroscience graduate program at the University of Virginia, has studied the impact of human touch, particularly how it affects the neural response to threatening situations, and said the results of a recent study were more dramatic than he expected.

“We found that holding the hand of really anyone, it made your brain work a little less hard in coping,” Dr. Coan said, adding that any sort of hand-holding relaxes the body.

I do love this country but I’m reverting back to my Brazilian habits when it comes to hugging, kissing and holding hands and if anybody says anything I’ll always have the excuse of being born in Brazil.

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