Thoughts From A Celebrant In Leeds

One of the things that I miss the most in these days of restrictions is human touch. My job involves daily hand holding, hand shaking and hugs. All of which I love. Weddings are always joyous occasions and it feels so natural to end the day as I say goodbye with a hug to my couples. Even the act of taking a photo of the three of us is about standing close together, arms around each other with a smile. To not be able to do that feels very strange.

When I take a funeral, from meeting with the families through to the day itself I miss the handshake. It’s a way of demonstrating that I feel it for them, that I’m thankful to be with them. For them it’s a way of saying thank you, thank you for being here with us.

It’s a well known fact that touch boosts our self esteem and mental wellbeing. It’s something that most of us take for granted, that we enjoy on a daily basis. It’s something that I’ve never really thought about because I’ve never had to. I’m a hugger by nature and I love that connection whether its with family, friends or somebody I come into contact with who wants that feeling of togetherness. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had this year with people who say “I wish I could hug you” or “I’m sorry I can’t shake your hand”.

When I could this year, I had a massage and halfway through as Emma touched me I realised that she was probably the first person, other than my husband and children, that had done that for months. I felt really emotional about it and still do when I think about it.

How has this year affected you in terms of touch and connection? We still have that connection of course through words and how we act and we’ve got to keep that going. Talking, sharing and being kind to each other are of upmost importance. But touch, how I look forward to the day when we can do it again. When we can hug and kiss and hold hands. When the people that matter to me can feel my arms around them and vice versa. When I can shake hands with mourners, hold the hand of someone who is grieving, throw my arms around wedding guests and couples.  Won’t that be a wonderful day and won’t that be a momentous moment,

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