Touch of Closeness

Touch of Closeness

Touch of Closeness

by: Femke Krijger (

The Dbi conference ‘Touch of Closeness’ challenged us, professionally and personally, to explore the meaning of ‘closeness’. Paradoxically it means ‘being close to someone’ as well as ‘being excluded’, both fundamental human experiences very much related to our wellbeing. We all need closeness in the positive sense, physically and emotionally, and being excluded is for most of us hard to deal with. This is no different when one has to deal with the reality of deafblindness.

Realise closeness in our life requires the ability to connect with the world that surrounds you. This becomes more difficult when two major sensory tools are damaged and input is no longer self-evident. Diminished sight and hearing can turn closeness into a painful lack of connection. What to do?

For me, searching for coping strategies, I started to realise that my perception was not merely limited because of deafblindness, but it was a changing perception in itself I had to deal with. It was more than ‘simple’ adaptation (learning braille, walking with a guiding dog, improve lightning in the house, etc.) that was needed in order to compensate what was lost. I needed a more profound awareness of what was going on in my search for ways to stay in touch with the world I was part of.

This was the beginning of a very personal and sometimes lonely journey into the unknown fields of sensory possibilities beyond sight and hearing. I discovered body awareness being of key importance to collect as much input as possible and trained this e.a. through massage therapy. I developed my bodily sensitivity, using my body as a sounding board catching sensory input, which helped me a great deal to orientate, not only in the literal sense, but also emotionally. I knew where I was standing again. From here I could better deliver output and take my share in connecting.

The conference ‘Touch of Closeness’ offered fertile ground for exchange of experiences, knowledge and ideas on this field of ‘changing perceptive abilities’. It also showed the still existing gap in understanding what’s needed from a professional-expert point of view and that of the personal-expert, and that’s fine. Being honest about our blind spots gives room for true, constructive exchange in order to improve and provide support service. Let’s continue this closeness to open up our world!


Touch of closeness

by: Femke Krijger (


I want to be close to you world that surrounds me. I want to connect with you, to be inspired, every day, and live my life at the best of my abilities. Tell me, world, how can I stay in touch with you, now that I can not see you that well and I can hear you only a little?

They say it’s not the eye, nor the ear that senses what is really important, they say it’s the hearth that connects us in the true sense. I wished this were true when I walk on the street and cannot find my way. I wished it were that easy sitting in the chaos of a birthday party not really being part of it.

My heart reaches out for you and longs to share what is inside, but you are not used to this language beyond words. It requires more time than you have, more patience, more attention. You ask me ‘How are you?’ and I want to tell you about the ‘how’. How I sense

the soft breath of air in late summer, feeling the freshness of autumn entering underneath. How I sense your anxiousness, even if you don’t tell me. How I miss the self-evidence of input, depending more on you now to keep me close. There is so much ‘how’ to share, but do you really want to know? My words might confront you with your own limitations, my grief might awaken your own fear. I know. I understand. If I had a choice, I would not choose this either.

Let us holding hands, walking parallel on separate paths, and tell me about the adventures you experience, tell me what you see through your eyes and I’ll tell you about the beauty I sense touching the world that surrounds us. Dear world, keep me close to open up. I’ll keep knocking, please let me in.

text to pass the blog on: Dear Liz, you always open doors wherever you go. I would like to hear more about your experiences and dreams!



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