A little while ago, I saw a picture online of a little boy holding a parent's hand, and it made me think of my dad. We clasped hands often. I had a special grip for helping him get up from a chair. When I left him to go home, we would press each other's hands.
In his final illness and on his deathbed, my sister-in-law, sister, and I held his hand as much as possible. When we brought my mom in her wheelchair to see him, he would put out his hand to hold hers.
When he was past the point of speech, he would sometimes pull the hand holding his to his lips and kiss it. He loved us all tenderly to the very end.
It's a painful realization that for the rest of my life on this earth, I can never take his hand again, never hug him hello or kiss him good-bye. Just gone.