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Hold their hands

Image credit — Google images

The research and studies behind the positive effects of physical touch are worth a read. A lot of them those I read state that sharing a warm hug, or cuddling, reduces stress. Now, a lot of people might consider such studies to be strictly for couples, but overall, gestures like – holding hands, hugs, patting backs, all enable a sense of comfort, especially if it is from your loved ones.

I noticed it yesterday, when my Dad called me just to hold my hand, and talk. There was nothing extraordinary about our discussion, but as he held my hand, I felt a sense of comfort drift over him. He just held them softly, going about his discussions of the day. At points, he grew a little overwhelmed with certain topics – our love for him, his resolve to understand the disease and fight it, his fears, and his faith in God (something, I’ll discuss in another essay).

But as we chatted, I firmed my grip, in a way conveying that I have his back. And that there’s strength in him to fight cancer. At one point, I used my force to pull him up, and wake him out of nearing sleep.

Often, I’ve seen Dad, ask Mum to lend her hand as she sits beside him on the bed. I don’t always know what’s going on his mind, but having someone hold his hand, relieves him. Makes him feel comforted that his loved one is around.

Dad has always been an emotional person. He has loved hugs, and laughs, and spending time with extended families. Every summer holiday would be about visiting old relatives, distant cousins, college friends. It is his capacity to love and laugh, that enables him to draw strength from such small gestures.

I take this as the BE in the be positive features. It’s effective, soothing and often times very emotional too. I’ve often gotten overwhelmed by his warm hand as he lies in bed, singing old songs aloud. But above all, it lightens ten minutes off a dull day and makes a person realise that he or she is not alone in fighting this battle.

Hi, I’m Mariyam, thank you for reading my post. This is part of my series on finding positivity and decoding the ‘be positive’ attitude as my father fights through aggressive oral cancer.

If you liked it, you can read other posts on

You can also follow me on twitter @MariyamRaza for more. Much love 🙂

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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