I have never put much faith into a hug. Confining in nature almost claustrophobic for me. I do not have a great personal history with hugging. In fact, I would say it is one of my greatest weaknesses. My kid sister was the only person who’s hug I would accept. She had a way about it. She’d hang onto me like our lives depended on it. Almost as if she knew there was a storm coming. Her hugs meant the world to me because she put so much of herself behind that embrace.
Something has changed in me lately, perhaps it is because my Dad is in a nursing home. I have had a change of heart about hugging. A true hug should be given free of will and with a depth of meaning to it from you for the one you hug. There a few residents where my Pops now hangs out that feel the need to hug me. I hug them willingly. Like small children these souls hug from their hearts. Overflowing with love for someone they once knew. Some days these people think I am their loved one. They ask me about children I don’t have; husbands and grandchildren that are not mine. I go along with their alternate reality the best way I know how by not rocking the boat. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s are still who they used to be somewhere in their minds. Everybody needs love and affection.
My Pops is the same even if his memories falter or the endings to his stories change. I try to hug him more than I have in the past. I think we both need it more. I miss him. I never realized before how much power comes from such a little thing. A hug makes the weary less tired. To the sad it lends hope. To the loved it spreads an untethered joy. To the lonely a sense of inclusion, that someone cares. To the lost a ray of light showing a safe way. Hug someone today.