Thursday 20 October 2011

Cannot let go . . .

Let me tell you a story: In the Mahabharata, Parashurama was the instructor of the warrior Karna, born to a Kshatriya mother but raised as the son of a charioteer, or lower class of Kshatriyas. Karna came to Parashurama after being rejected from the school of Drona, who taught the five Pandava and one hundred Kaurava princes. . . . One day, Parashurama was sleeping with his head resting on Karna's thigh, when a beetle crawled up and bit Karna's thigh, boring into it. In spite of the bleeding and the pain, he neither flinched nor uttered a cry so that his teacher could continue his rest (Sourced from:

Well, I told you the story so that my post becomes easier to relate. Like the warrior Karna, who did not budge when the beetle was biting him so that he would not rouse his master, I find it extremely difficult to budge when someone holds my hand and falls asleep. This mostly happens in the context of younger kids and cousins who come home. 

The young ones hold my hand and drift away to sleep. In spite of sleeping soundly, they don’t let go of my hand and this causes immense conflict within me. When I sleep, I always like to toss and turn until I fall asleep and hence would like to be free of any physical contact. But some of my cousins and sometimes even my sister tend to hold my hand which restricts my movement. Somehow, I think that if I move or try to disengage their hand from mine, their sleep will be disturbed and so I continue to lie motionless. Many times it has so happened that when the person holding my hand tends to snore, I think that I can safely but gently disentangle my hand. But it seldom happens so. The person immediately stirs and also awakens. When the person’s peaceful slumber is disturbed, it causes quite a furore and hence I tend to avoid movement of any sort. I patiently wait for the time when the person turns to the other side eventually letting go of his/her clasp on my fingers. Until then, I somehow try (sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully) to unclasp my fingers from theirs. Sometimes even when mosquitoes tend to bite me, it is difficult to unclasp the fingers.

Though Karna’s sacrifice was quite an extreme one and mine cannot come anywhere close to his experience, the basic premise of the argument is movement. 

Well, how comfortable or uncomfortable are you in disengaging yourself from another’s clasp while they are near-sleep or sleeping? 

Image: Internet


  1. Oh my, what a dilemma! I have young nephews who treat me like a piece of furniture when they get sleepy. Their request and preference is, "Rub my back and make your hands warm, Aunt Dawn." The "make your hands warm" part is me doing therapeutic touch, or healing energy - works like a charm to help them drop off to sleep! I haven't had the hand holding situation occur. My only viable suggestion is maybe try the back rubbing trick? That might prove to distract enough to shift their focus from tying you to that hand clasp.

    Regardless, it is a dear thing, that hand holding until sleep claims us. I daresay you are richly blessed. :)

    - Dawn

  2. Could almost be a metaphor for family situations where a young wayward kid is always getting into strife, doing drugs, but expecting mum to always be there for them.
    How long do carry on? Always being there for a rebellious kid, when really the time has come to say "No. I am not putting up with your behaviour anymore. Sort your problems out yourself."
    BTW, Hope we may have a grandchild next year and be in your predicament.

  3. I used to be like that Susan. Be uncomfortable with myself and yet not the other person be uncomfortable. I followed this even in my day to day living too when it came to people you love. Not disappoint them at any cost even if you are not happy about it. I have changed a lot since. If I dont want to do something that I dont like even at the cost of upsetting someone, I hold my ground. The same goes for holding my son's hand when he is sleeping. I remove it when I am uncomfortable. :)))

  4. I am so used to sleeping alone that the slightest bit of contact disturbs me now.Once in a while my daughter sleeps with me,and wants me to scratch her back,I do it for a while...but move away as soon as she sleeps.
    Good usual.

  5. I have slept alone for so long I can't imagine but I remember experiencing not letting go are you putting their needs before yours...are their needs for rest more important then yours? grasping at straws...As always....XOXOXOXOO

  6. I think that like Rimly, I've learnt to let go of the hand and make myself comfortable. If I don't sleep well, I'm going to be cranky and not be able to be fully present to that child/ adult the next day. The same with life, take care of yourself first and only then can you give to others. Dawn Sievers wrote about this in her recent post.

  7. I need a lot of space while sleeping and disengage myself. I will be nudging them to move away from me so that I can have a well rested sleep.

  8. I remember many times my daughters falling asleep on me. I dared not move. I could be still for hours. But i admit watching their faces, hearing their breathing, and feeling my love for them made every bit of cramp worthwhile.

  9. Ha ha ha! Laughs apart, this is a major problem. We used to rest our heads on my mom's arms when we were very young kids. One hand for each daughter. One fine day my mom declared- NO. :)

  10. Susan,

    We call it hodgepoge sleeping : )

    I love watching my kids sleep on top of each other. I have some great images of them... Funny how when one rolls over the other is sure to follow...


  11. i can imagine the conflict - it is very difficult to disengage suddenly :(

  12. The hand holding may depend on how dear and close the person is to me.
    I'm usually not uncomfortable with it.

  13. This did happen many times when the kids were small and I used to be in one position till the hand or side goes numb.
    Linked to this let me tell you there are two kinds of people in this world. One is who goes pussy footing around the house because "there is someone sleeping in the house" They don't put the lights on, talk in a hush, open and close the doors very very softly etc.
    And then there is the other type with no bother whatsoever, they put on lights, bang the door, talk loudly to the maid (or others) sing loudly, the list goes on. Believe me they are not doing this on purpose, its just not in them "not to disturb"
    Again I must say I belong to the first type....

  14. Your maternal instinct has kicked in, Mrs. Sus. I can imagine a parent (particularly a mother) making that unflinching sacrifice, beetle bites and all. Sometimes it's easier to be burdened with a task than with nothing to do. A good heart watches and waits, and that's what you do for those little ones.

    PS: Love the Mahabharata story too. :)

  15. I can still recall these moments, you feel conflict, sad and wonder even will they know you didn't hang on.. you let go oh so gently but linger in case, just incase they rouse just a tiny tiny bit....then.. . is it safe... look back... and slowly move on.. ..

  16. I'd try and be gentle but would definitely dientangle my arm. Because I value my beauty sleep far too much!

    Grrr...I sound really heartless, no? :-)

  17. I've had to pick up many a sleeping child and put them in their bed. I do it as quietly and as gentle as possible and even then they would often wake up :-)

    God Bless and have a Wonderful Week :-)

    *The Old Geezer Blog

  18. I can understand not wanting to disturb the sleeper. I think I could stay still for a short time but not for an entire night. The fact that you do stay still and let them hold your hand attests to your genuine kindness. You're a good person Susan.

  19. It depends on closeness, is my personal assessment. When I feel really close to a person, my child, a person I deeply love, I can hold them through anything. Anybody else, even loving them, but not as closely, will find my hand gently leaving theirs.
    BTW, I had a dream last night in which you were. I was asking you about your perfect use of English. It think because I have been without internet for so long and deprived of my favorite writers, I am dreaming of them

  20. Oh Susan, this post made me smile, it made me smile when I was reading yesterday and today well.;)
    I am the one who tends to hold hands!;)) Falling asleep, I feel so safe and comfortable when my lover holds my hand, or better yet, holds me in his arms.
    I can reassure you, that I never feel when he let go of my hand, thus you do not need to worry that you will disturb the sleep of your loved ones. Even if they tend to move and stir, they are not awake.
    Sorry for my infrequent visits lately, I have been spending way too much wonderful time off line.;)

  21. Dawn:

    Its not that I like to clasp hands but I find it extremely difficult to unclasp and disturb the sleeper. Back rubbing!!! No No.


    Not a metaphor, Jim. Plain clasping, that's all.

    Best wishes for your grandson.

  22. Rimly:

    Even I remove it after some time. It's the initial conflict and after I fall asleep, it automatically unclasps.


    Ah, tell me about scratching the back!!! I don't much like doing that.

  23. Bongo:

    Nothing metaphorical, Bonnie. And, I don't put nayone's needs ahead of mine.


    Hmmmm. Well, Corinne, not that easy for me.

  24. Janu:



    Fathers and mothers!!! I bet :)

  25. Sameera:

    Smiles. Firm mother!!


    "Hodgepodge Sleeping," I've never heard that.

    Quite true. Everyone is sure to follow.

  26. Yuvika:

    :) Glad.


    You're very patient, I must say.

  27. Joe:

    I swing between type one and two. It all depends on my mood.


    Ah, no maternal instinct and all.

    And yes, Mahabharata is good.

  28. BM:



    Heartless, no. I can become like that, as well.

  29. Ron:

    Children often wake up like that and that's why I hesitate.

    Be blessed, Ron.


    Not for the entire night, Myrna. Thanks for your warm words, Myrna.

  30. Myriam:

    I can never hold throughout the night, no matter who.

    Honoured to be in your dream, dear Myriam. Wish we could meet some day. Hopefully, yes.



    Happy to hear wonderful news from your side, dear Zuzana.

    Wishing you joy and love always



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