Touch is the first of the six senses we acquire. It is our first language. However, we do belong to a touch-phobic society, so perhaps we need to regain some fluency in our first language.
Our ability to communicate non-verbally is just as important to us as human beings as it is to speak; researchers have long documented the complex emotions and desires that our posture, motions, and expressions reveal. 'We do have, undeniably, an innate ability to decode emotions purely by touch alone' and if touch is indeed our primal language, then we must assume that we instinctively know how to use it and so should not be afraid to do so.
I personally believe that touch can communicate multiple positive emotions: joy, love, gratitude, and sympathy. It is a much more nuanced, sophisticated, and precise way to communicate emotions and sentiments. It can break down barriers. It can impart grace and empathy and symbolically, it can represent a gesture of goodwill and peace.
Consequently, touch is often used ritually to exemplify a deep and meaningful purpose. For example, the church uses it to offer a blessing or to hand over apostolic responsibility. It is also used as an outward sign for healing and reassurance. Some cultures use it to pass on a birth right. Marriage ceremonies use the symbolism of touch as an outward display of union between two people. Funeral ceremonies use it as an outward sign of commendation and farewell when touching the coffin.
If there's a most appropriate time to communicate via touch, it's probably when someone needs consoling. Research shows that touch is the best way to comfort. 'If we were to ask someone how they'd comfort someone in a given situation, they tend to list pats, hugs, and various kinds of touch behaviours more than anything else.'
Maybe that's because there are times — during intense grief or fear, but also in ecstatic moments of human joy or love—when only the language of touch can even hope to fully express what we feel.
Just wanted to let you know that I have had some lovely feedback from Tuesdays funeral - The family are absolutely over the moon that we recommended you to take the service.
They have never met anyone like you before, and never been to a funeral service like this before, and that's because you were so 'wonderful' (as they worded it).
They can't thank you enough for the personal and lovely service you provided....they are so grateful!
They will definitely be recommending you, and us, to anyone who asks.
A Message from China
Thanks for everything with my Nan's funeral. It brought a smile to me from thousands of miles away, and you helped make it a brilliant send off for Muriel.
Thank you so much for today, we can’t thank you enough. It was beautiful.
Once again thank you so much.
What a special, almost joyous occasion. It made me so happy.
Thank you Steve.
May I give you a heart felt thank you for the wonderful part you played in my mum's service. Your kind and sensitive words were the glue that made the service a fitting tribute for my mum. You said it would be good and it was. So many people there today said how marvelous it was which was down to you.
Thank you for easing our loss in such a lovely way.
Thank you so much for your work on ours and Mum's behalf and for the sentiments you expressed to the family today. The whole service was a beautiful tribute to Mum and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Thank you also for your encouragement about not hurrying - it really relaxed me.
Thank you once again.
I’m writing to say a massive thank you for the wonderful service you did yesterday for XXXX, my Nanna.
The whole family thought it was wonderful. You listened to what we’d said about her and the words you used to talk about her life were so thoughtful.
You really captured her essence and everything that was so special about her.
We were all so moved and touched, thank you. You made a sad day a celebration.
YOU WERE NOT A STRANGER
I simply had to send you a message of thanks after what was such a beautiful service yesterday for my mum.
You kept us really involved throughout and I appreciated that so much. Your method of getting to know us made the whole thing very special and very much about Mum. More importantly, it got everyone involved, rather than just the chosen few. Very clever!
You were not a stranger to us on the day or to mum - and I can't express enough how much that meant to us.
Good morning Steve,
Thank you once again for a beautiful service. You did Lilian proud...
HAPPY & POSITIVE
Just wanted to thank you for your support, professionalism, and all-round comforting nature on the day of Mum’s funeral. Thank you very much - you made the day feel so positive and your words and delivery was impeccable. We had loads of positive feedback.
Every time I think of the day, I feel happy and positive which is helping me cope with Mum’s passing.
PS: You have inspired me to start writing some tunes again as a lasting legacy to my folks :-) I’ll send you them when finished!!
ELOQUENT & COMPASSIONATE
...you are nothing short of a true professional. I trusted you very early on in our conversation when you first visited us.
The service was excellent. You spoke eloquently and with great compassion. I have a feeling we shall be seeing you again.
Thank you very much indeed!
A LOVELY SERVICE
Just a quick email to thank you for the lovely service that you created for us, for my father's funeral
So thank you.
GOT IT RIGHT
All went well after the service and I had lots of lovely comments about the service, people felt that you had ‘got it right’ in terms of your reflections of Mum.
Thank you very much for your hard work in getting everything arranged. It was a really fitting tribute to her and has definitely helped me to start to move on.
Good Morning Steve,
We just wish to thank you for helping us to celebrate Bill's life. I was dreading Monday at the funeral, you turned it into something positive and wonderful and gave us a focus for our grief which in turn helps us to look to the future with love and the fondest of memories.
So many people commented on the lovely service and how it was a true remembrance of Bill
Thank you again
Thank you so much for making mum’s funeral on Tuesday such a lovely tribute to her long life. All of the family and friends who attended spoke highly of the sympathetic and compassionate way you handled the service and your own kind words about her.
With all our best wishes
John, Malcolm and Carol
...A big thank you for your work last weekend. I have received many comments saying how wonderful and touching the ceremonial side of the event was. I think together we sent Colin off in a fashion he deserved. THANKS!
I am so very grateful to you for the funeral service you led and organised for Phil. It was so personal. Everyone commented on how beautiful it was and on how nice it was of you to join us afterwards for a chat about him at the County Hotel. My cousin was amazed at how much you knew about him and assumed you were a family friend. When I told him who you were, he couldn't believe it!
The video you created for us about his life was so moving. I'd never seen anything like it at a funeral before. Can I have a copy of it? A lot of people would like to watch it again.
I am so grateful to ****** for introducing us to you.
Thank you again.