The Sand Holding Hack


Three months after my husband passed away, I took a solo vacation to southern California and discovered a hack I want to share with you: the sand holding hack.

When I booked the trip to Cali, it had been ten years since I’d last seen the ocean. As a California-raised girl, that was quite the travesty. On my first day of vacation, I made my way down to the sand. I laid back on my beach blanket and propped up on my elbows, enjoying the calming crash of the waves.

Sitting there, I couldn’t help but notice all the couples snuggling under their umbrellas or walking hand-in-hand down the shoreline. All I could think about was that those people had no idea just how lucky they were.

I looked down at my empty hand and began skimming my fingers across the surface of the glistening, warm So-Cal sand. As I skimmed, my thoughts turned to the simple act of holding my late husband’s hand.

We had held hands as high school sweethearts, through a young marriage, through my endometriosis crisis, before and after military assignments, and for the very last time on the night of the 4th of July.

Our hands fit together like a glove. As all couples can relate, during a hand hold, you don’t know where your hand ends and theirs begins.

I wanted it back.

My palms began to ache for that seamless sensation. It was another moment in my newly-widowed world where I was faced with the reality that one more thing – hand holding, was no more.

With that thought my fingers dug into the sand. Something became strangely reminiscent in that moment – that feeling of seamlessness almost in the palm of my hand. I dug deeper until my palm was completely enveloping the sand and then grasped it, as if I were holding my husband’s hand.

At that moment, it was as if his hand was back in mine – and it completely took my breath away.

The circumstances of his accident prevented me from holding his warm, living hand on the day he passed away. The last touch of his hand was cold, stiff, and devoid of life.

This moment with my hand immersed in the sand offered a gateway in time – a chance to imagine holding the hand I knew for eleven years – and nothing could pull me from this moment.

I held the sand for hours enjoying the warmth, the movement, the sensation of life, and allowed my emotions to wander in any direction they needed to.

Before returning home from that well-needed vacation, I brought a jar to the beach and filled it with sand from the location on the beach where I’d enjoyed so many days of sun-filled peace.

When I arrived home, I placed it in a large bowl and kept it on my nightstand. Anytime I needed to feel my husband’s hand, I’d put my own into the sand and hold on tight. It provided instant self-soothing every single time.

I encourage you to try the sand holding hack and hope it helps you through your moments of loneliness and pain. If you don’t have quick access to beach sand you can purchase some online (check out sand from sellers) or look for a local source from a lake or pond.

May you find the tranquility I found through this sand holding experience.


My widow journey began in 2011 when I was 27. My late husband passed away from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. My re-entry into life has been difficult, but my relationship with God, being diagnosed with PTSD and my passion for music, dance and science have greatly helped me get back on my feet. I am currently preparing for graduate school and volunteer as an endometriosis educator for the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

I have so much that I look forward to sharing with you and I hope that you may find something in my writing that will bring hope to your own journey, help you through the tough days, and show you that happiness can be found in the midst of grief.

You can follow me on Instagram at @kellcann