Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Scared to touch

As a student of Psychology, I became aware that it was important - if not vital - to touch people. I mean people who want to be touched. And there are a lot of people who want to be touched. Elderly people with no partners are the least likely to be touched in our society.

Children were the most likely. I say were because the wells of that love and affection are being systematically poisoned.

I'll tell you a little anecdote (I love anecdotes) to illustrate what I'm saying... We used to have a neighbour across the street who was a single mum to one child, a little girl. I didn't really know them, but I saw the child, S, playing outside on hot summer days. I knew her vaguely. She knew me vaguely. One day, I was walking past where the child started to run down the street. She fell.

Her mother wasn't around. But I was mother-shaped so I got the sobbing child in my arms. It was an instinctive response from both of us. Sobbing little girl and me, mother of little girl around the same age, so my arms went out as S was already diving into them.

She sobbed. I soothed and cuddled, and checked for rent knees and injured elbows. The crying gradually died away. I realised that S was ready to fly off again, and didn't need my mothering anymore. The child gave me a weak and watery smile. I smiled back, and we went our separate ways.

That was about ten years ago. The child was around six.

I wouldn't do it now. I'd be scared to let my instinct let me reach out to comfort a child in need of care. I would ache to hold a distressed baby, but I would let my arms drop to my sides.

I have lost something. A belief that I can comfort and love and give like that, and someone can benefit from that love and comfort and giving.

It's the next damaged child's loss. It diminishes me also.

The world has been deprived; our humanity is depleted.

Society cannot long retain its human core whilst the dogs of corruption gnaw at its vital organs.


  1. totally agree with you sweetie.
    On Stef meeting me on the internet and moving down here to be with me and the girls you'd be amazed (well actually not surprised at all) how many people were suspicious and down right rude about his motives because of me having girls . . .

  2. Touching post.

    Sadly true.

    I remember when I was visiting a friend's child in hospital and there was a little girl with Down's Syndrome (can't have been more than three at the most) a couple of beds away. Unlike the other kids, her mom didn't stay with her. The nurses didn't have time to be with her. She lay in a hospital cot, tubes all over her, crying and making noises that weren't words but were articulate enough - seemed to me that she obviously wanted someone to be with her. Of all the visitors in that ward, not one even looked at the little girl - no one dared be accused of being interested in somebody else's child. My body physically ached from the effort of holding myself back, I wanted to go to her and cuddle her so much. In the end I went and asked the nurses if I could get her a drink as she was reaching out towards a cup on a nearby table. But that was as much as I dared do. I wanted to stay with her, take her on my lap, sing to her, chat to her, read to her. She was so small and so alone. But the hospital security was immense and I'm certain I would have been treated like a potential child abuser had I dared behave that way with this child when I wasn't there in any *official* capacity. I wish I'd ignored that and followed my instinct anyway and am quite ashamed that I didn't have the courage to.

    It's a terribly sad society.

    Adele x