Your child feels so far away. You hear people say that they carry their child in their heart, and you know this is true for you. Is there a way to strengthen this feeling? That’s what this article is about.

No matter your child’s age or how long it’s been, what you will do here will help you bring your child closer. I want to warn you that some of this may be difficult for you. However, please stick with it, despite any discomfort, OK? If, at any time, this exercise becomes too difficult and/or if you begin crying, go ahead and take a break and then come back when you are ready.

First, understand that you will be asked to imagine touching parts of your child’s body at a time when he or she was alive and healthy. Your child’s role in this will be to say nothing and allow you to connect with him or her. Let’s get going.

I want you to close your eyes and see yourself sitting behind your child. Take your hands and place them on your child’s back. Feel it as you move your hands around the back. Now move up to your child’s shoulders. Squeeze them gently. Keep your hands there for a few more seconds.

Next, move around to the front of where your child is sitting. Take your child’s hand in yours. Look at the back of the hand. Touch it. Now, pet it. Kiss it. Now, look at the skin. Notice its texture. See its color. Look at the thumb of your child. Look at the thumbnail. Run your finger over it. Now, wrap your hand around your child’s thumb. Feel it firmly in your grasp. Now do the same with your child’s forefinger. Did your child ever point this finger at you? If so, how many times—100? 1,000? Move next to the middle finger. Again, look at the fingernail and then wrap you hand around the entire finger. Feel it in your grasp. Move next to the ring finger. Run your finger over the fingernail. Wrap your hand around your child’s finger. Feel it safely in your grasp. Now, move to the little finger. Wrap you hand around it and show loving kindness to this little finger. Stay with this little finger for a few more seconds.

Now, open up your child’s hand and look closely at the palm. Take your finger and slowly, slowly trace the lines on the palm. Take the palm of your hand and rub it back and forth on your child’s palm. Now, lift up your child’s hand to your nose and inhale. What do you smell? Soap? Your child’s smell? Stay with this until you are ready to move to the next step.

Move to your child’s hair. Close your eyes and bury your nose in it, feeling it soft on your face. Slowly move all around your child’s head enjoying the smell and touch. Dig your fingers into your child’s scalp. Move your fingers around your child’s head as you feel the soft hair.

Next, move to your child’s face. Close your eyes and “brail” your son’s face or your daughter’s face. First take your hands and feel your child’s chin. Feel all around it. Now move to your child’s lips. Take your finger and slowly trace the upper lip…now the lower lip. Move up to the nose. Take your thumb and forefinger feeling all around your child’s nose. Next, move up to the eyes. Look deeply into your child’s eyes then close them and yours and feel the eyelids. Now move to your child’s eyebrows. Trace each one with your fingers. Now, open your palm and place it onto your child’s forehead. Leave it there for a few more seconds. Move next to your child’s cheeks. Hold your son or your daughter’s face in your hands, looking deeply into his or her eyes. Now say, “I love you.” Say, “Thank you this moment when I can touch you and smell you and see you.” Tell your son or daughter that you will come back to him or her whenever you want. Thank your child for being in your life, for being who they are. Tell your child you will never forget their hands, their hair, their face and all the love they gave to you. As you finish, tell your child that you will never say “good-bye” and that you will come back again. Kiss your child on any part of the face you wish and say, “I will be back. I love you.”

Now, sit with this moment. Close your eyes and let your child’s love flow over you. Feel the connection between your heart and your child’s body. Thank yourself for the love you put into this experience. Go ahead, say “Thank you” followed by your name. Next, say you are ready to return to the world carrying this experience with you as you continue throughout this day and the days, weeks and months ahead. Go ahead and say these words, “I am ready to return to the world, but I will always carry this incredible experience with me.”

Now, come back as you slowly open your eyes—if you haven’t already—and look around the room. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Say nothing as you pull out a pen and paper and write words to document what just happened. Write what you experienced, describing how each step felt to you. Speak to no one. Do this writing now. Do not let this moment pass without writing about it. Make sure you date it. Are you writing? Please do so. Once you have described the experience, write how you feel right this instant. Finish with, “Here is what I learned from this.”

Once you are finished, ground yourself by taking time to slowly feel your own hands. Move to your head and clasp your hands around your head. Finish by placing your hands on your face much as you did with your child. As you do so, feel the connection you are making with the two of you.

Finish by finding something to stare at for two full minutes. When you feel ready, get up walk around and feel yourself grounded from this experience. As you do so, thank yourself one more time for taking the risk to do this amazing exercise, promising yourself that you will do this whenever you want.