Yesterday I hugged my Daddy’s best “guy” friend, an elderly man who has grown frail in the four years since my father passed away. A plain-spoken, salt-of-the-earth kind of fellow, he had been my Daddy’s fishing and camping buddy for decades.
In all honesty, it was a bittersweet meeting laced with both laughter and tears. He talked of missing my Dad’s friendship and of all the ways his life has changed since macular degeneration stole his eyesight. He spoke tenderly about what it is like to be the primary caregiver for his wife of 67 years.
When I got up to hug him goodbye, I could feel his bony shoulder blades poking through his freshly-ironed shirt. He seemed so thin, so fragile. So vulnerable.
In that moment, I was reminded of the gift of touch. Of how much we need to feel the warm embrace of encouragement.
As we prepare to celebrate with family and friends, we should remember those who are homebound… those who are lonely…those who need to feel the stroke of another’s hand.
On the way home, I began to ponder the farewell scene. My Daddy’s friend probably doesn’t even realize that he had just given me a wonderful Christmas gift in return… the gift of touch.