Touch is the sense that can no longer perceive any of Mama.
Aided by technology, I can still see her image, even hear snippets of her voice. Thanks to the staying power of whiffs, I can still smell some of her. I can taste strawberry jam she made during her last summer.
But I can no longer touch her. Or be touched by her.
I remember her hand on my back one afternoon I was sitting on her hospital bed. Her back is where the multiple myeloma struck. There was a blessing in her hand that day, her touch thanking my back, telling it to stay that way: strong, straight, healthy.
When she was sick, I remember touching her the way I touch my children. With complete tenderness. Her hair. Her forehead. Her hands. I held her hand when she died. I touched her after she died. My fingers no longer received or perceived. But perceiving.
She taught me how death feels to the touch.