Ed’s love language was physical touch. He hugged me, put his arm around me, snuggled me and held my hand often.
A few years ago, a playful friend came up to us in the grocery store as Ed was hugging me and said to Ed, “Stop squeezing your wife. Squeeze the produce instead. Get a room.” We all laughed. I was a little embarrassed, but I also was happy that after more than 30 years of marriage Ed still found me desirable.
I especially enjoyed it when Ed held my hand. During the pandemic, we took long afternoon walks holding hands. Sometimes I would wake up at night in bed and find Ed holding my hand. I felt so safe, warm and loved.
Since Ed died, I long for him to hold my hand. The realization that Ed is physically gone and cannot hold my hand anymore stings like lemon juice on a paper cut. Pandemic limits me holding hands with anyone even during the Our Father at Mass. How would I ever satisfy my need to hold Ed’s hand?
I attended a concert by the canal. It was a Beatles tribute. As the band played “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” I started to cry. I took my own hand and squeezed it with my other hand. A warm, gentle breeze blew over me. I believed it was Ed touching me.
Later, I remembered a hike we took with our son on the Fourth of July about a month before Ed died. Our son had taken a picture of us walking ahead of him holding hands. After Ed died, our son surprised me with the picture, and our son said that is how he remembers his dad. His dad was always holding my hand.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Aug. 1, 2020. In honor of what would have been their 35th wedding anniversary on June 21, 2021, Leo has decided to donate $100 application fees to the first 35 couples that sign up for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend Nov. 12-14 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. Couples can apply at www.wwme.org and use the discount code ED&LEO35.
To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.