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Mary Smith: writer, poet, teacher, friend.

Over the pandemic and lockdown, many of us lost family and friends, a loss made even more difficult when we weren’t able to say goodbye.

Mary Smith, talking about her lockdown experience, quoted Diana Ross:

Reach out and touch

Somebody’s hand

Make this world a better place

If you can.

Those words have never felt so meaningful and so poignant. It’s what we all need right now. The touch of someone’s hand on ours would make the world seem a better place. Such a simple gesture and yet, many weeks ago, we allowed ourselves to be frightened into excising a huge part of our humanity, to keep ourselves and others safe. My heart breaks seeing young children file into their classrooms, keeping the regulation six feet apart, learning they mustn’t touch or hug each other. Learning to be fearful of their friends and their teachers. This, at a time when we are most in need of the comfort the touch of another human brings – a hand on our arm, a quick hug, a pat on the back, a hand reaching out to touch our hand.

—Mary Smith (Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid , Margaret Elphinstone et al (pp. 162-164). Kindle Edition.

In honor of her birthday and her memory, I’d like to challenge all who lost someone over the past three years to take Mary’s advice. Reach out and touch somebody’s hand; make this world a better place.

Miss you Mary! You touched so many, and left this world a better place.

(If you haven’t had a chance to read Mary’s incredible Afghan adventure serial diary, give yourself a treat and start with this one, take a look at some of her funny and heart-tugging books here, her blog series My Dad is a Goldfish about caring for her father with dementia, or her ongoing cancer journey.)