The gesture of her washing my hair was pure grace. It was intimate in a way that was maternal as if my own mother was there to comfort me after my father’s passing. And strangely, it helped me feel that my pain was relevant. Relevant because profound sadness always feels a bit self-indulgent.

As she ran her fingers through my hair, and the warm water dripped down my neck and into my nose, I allowed myself to cry. But I cried silently. I had forgotten what it felt like to be loved. And this is something that is easy to forget, I think. Radical intimacy has become such a painfully novel thing.

But there I was, so small and vulnerable, just like the day I was born.