I am hugger. I can't help it. I hug people I know. I hug people I don't know. I hug the people I love and I hug the people I don't! One day, I went to hug a customer and she reared back and boldly stated, "Don't touch me. I don't like hugs!" I respectfully and awkwardly stepped backward and apologized. In the months that followed, I maintained my distance but I continued to ask questions of this cantankerous elderly woman. She gradually began to share her personal story with me. As the weeks and months passed, I would gingerly pat her on the shoulder, or on a rare occasion, touch her elbow as she walked into my business. After several months, little chocolates would suddenly appear, out of nowhere, on my desk. Later, sections of the daily newspaper showed up in my chair. One day, on her way out, she leaned over the counter and sternly asked, "Did you read the paper?" I grinned from ear to ear. "Yes, I did. Thank you."
I didn't see Ms. Unhappy her for several weeks. I was concerned so I looked up her address and sent her a card. A few months later she walked into the building, and for the first time ever, sat down at my desk. She had been involved in a bad accident and was unable to leave her apartment. When our visit ended, we stood up and I walked around my desk to meet her. She didn't lean in for a hug. But she didn't step back either. And then I knew. Cautiously, I opened my arms and leaned in for the hug. As I began to wrap my arms around her I could feel her stiffened frail arms around my backside. I do believe that was the first hug she had in many years.
Rarely a day goes by in my "grief and relationship recovery" world that someone doesn't ask me, "What can I say to save my marriage?" or "What do I say to my grieving friend?" Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.
This is a story I wrote several years ago and I wanted to share it with you again.
Jesi, my youngest daughter, had spent several days in the hospital. Nothing, including morphine eased her pain. At one point, I leaned over the hospital bed, embraced her in my arms, and began whispering in her ear. She soon feel fast asleep.
The next day, in the x-ray room a little boy was wheeled next to Jesi’s bed. I nearly crumbled under the child’s heartbreaking cries. The father tried to console the toddler but nothing seemed to calm him. Then, the worried father reached down, picked up the little boy and rocked him in his arms. The hurting child feel fast asleep. I reached in my handbag, pulled out my journal and wrote, "Never underestimate the power of the human touch."
This photo is from an article called the Rescue Hug. Weighing less than two pounds at birth, the newborns were put in their respective incubator. As one twin struggled to live, against hospital rules, a nurse decided to place the babies together. The stronger twin threw her arm over her sister. The baby struggling to live began to stabilize and her temperature rose to normal.
What I Have Learned:
- Pets are great companions. But they cannot hug you when you are sad nor will they laugh at any of your jokes!
- Material possessions are beautiful to look at and nice to have. But they cannot listen when you need to talk nor will they hold the trash can for you when you are ill.
- 800 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets sure are soft. But they cannot replace a warm soft embrace nor can they fill the void in your heart.
What does this mean:
- A hug, a smile, a warm embrace cost nothing. Distribute them freely.
- The human touch stabilizes heart rates and calms fears. Touch often.
- People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Show people that you care.
Life is short. Love deeply and live passionately.