Touch and Death

Two weeks from today I will be traveling to Toronto to participate in an End of Life Doula training session put on by INELDA. I’m definitely excited to get to Toronto, meet my fellow participants, and explore a new city, but before that happens I need to complete some basic online training. Overall, I’ve found the training so far to be incredibly interesting and it continues to inspire me to enter this line of work in some form. Of all the training videos I’ve watched so far, the one I watched today has really stood out. It has to do with how we want to be touched when dying.

Touch is something that fascinates me. I’m a very tactile person and touch is one of my primary love languages. I love hugging, cuddling, kissing, holding hands, and just being close to people. For me, touch isn’t strongly related to romantic or sexual intimacy, I’d be very comfortable kissing and cuddling with friends (and maybe some strangers). I realize that the puritanic American culture doesn’t really support this kind of physical interaction, particularly among men, and I’ve learned to just go with a handshake and keep my distance from friends. It sucks to have an important part of your life be shunned, but that is the world we live in and I would never violate someone’s consent or personal space just because I want a hug.

Anyway, one of the things I was thinking about is how I would like to be touched if/when I am dying. I gave it a lot of thought and I don’t think it would be particularly different than how I want to be touched now. Cuddling, hugging, hand holding, scalp massaging, etc. would all calm me and make me feel comfortable and accepted. Maybe this part of my nature is why I am planning on specializing in geriatric massage and massage for people with a terminal illness when I go to massage therapy school.

I would actually like to be spooning with someone or laying in their lap at the actual moment of death. I find it interesting how different people can be, but I really can’t imagine anything more peaceful than to leave this existence (probably) surrounded by the warmth of someone who loves me.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a Snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail about life in general?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

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