Many years ago, while we were in the thick of the pandemic, I sent my son a wind-chime as he had the perfect place. I love wind chimes.
He had just moved into this place with a back yard that reminded me of Gatlinburg. It was in the middle of a big city but hidden. I always loved to visit and help clean up the yard or help him in the house, giving it a mother’s touch and food on the stove.
This was such a big change for him. He had never enjoyed yard work growing up, as most kids, but this place captivated him and his time, as we were all home bound. This was actually a move of God for him to be in this place at this time.
Prior, he had an apartment by himself and with his work, being able to work from home, he was isolated from people. He is a people person. Work was demanding and placed him alone in this apartment for hours at a time, getting overwhelmed and I knew depression was grabbing hold. He is a lot like me so I recognized what was happening. I have written about him several times in my blog here. The Lord has a calling on his life, he knows it. Sometimes, running away from such seems like it will work but it won’t. I have been there, too. You can run but can’t hide.
This big house and yard came available and two roommates joined him and it was perfect for all three. Again, a God thing. I feel if it had not taken place, especially with the stay at home ruling, I may not have a son right now. Depression sucks life from you.
I am proud of him to move forward but also seek help from a doctor. It’s okay to take anti-depressants, if just for a bit to get through whatever. Some may feel that is a lack of faith and place that condemnation on you but it is not their journey and none of their business. Take care of you.
The wind chime arrived and soon was hung up in the tree making the sounds that some love or hate. He was not so sure at first and him and a roommate had to put a cord around them, to stop ringing. We laughed over this but soon they enjoyed the sounds and how pretty it was in the backyard.
Things happen and another move to a smaller, better house and by now the ban from leaving home and restrictions were lifted. This house had no real place to hang the wind chime. A little tree in front had to do so it would not get tangled. It is a long wind chime, perfect for the other yard.
Time went by and it remained and ringing but either wind or the neighbors twisted it up and now it was jumbled up and not pretty looking or sounding. He threw it in the shed. I was saddened but understood.
Recently, he was coming home. I have a great yard and trees so I told him to bring to me and I’ll use and enjoy once I get it back to it’s purpose, so he did.
Oh my! It was a mess. I had no idea of how this would ever be put back together. As I watched television one night, I thought I would tinker with it, one tube under, another one over and continued.
It was overwhelming. I would work on it and put it down and try another night. A couple of times I was tempted just to pitch. Not worth my time. Looking at it though, the tubes were pretty, the string was strong but it was tied up so bad. I just wanted to give up.
Isn’t that just like life? There are things we need to do and conquer but it is too hard. Thinking there is no way it can happen. Hopelessness enters our minds and we stop.
I laid this out on the floor, which was for a good week. Each night I would move tubes under and over and I started to make headway. I’d get frustrated and stop. I knew I had to keep going and finish. I have come too far to end. Again, life experiences we deal with.
I finally got the tubes and string in order. What a fantastic feeling to conquer. While I still have to hang the tubes correctly, I will attempt. I will also go through the frustration and hopelessness of it not being right. Still, I will move forward. Soon, it will be hanging in my tree and I will enjoy knowing its history and the pain to get there.
Again, life. We have to keep moving forward and not give up. Many trials and misfortunes may come but soon if we don’t give up, there’s joy and a pride within ourselves that we made it through.
This hopefully will be something that will strengthen you or my son’s ability to keep moving forward whenever times get tied up in knots and it seems there is no way out and feeling like throwing our hands up in defeat. A story his mom has written, understanding him and how each one of us struggle at times. Life experiences. Life happens.
I recently wrote an answer on Quora about a therapist giving a client a hug, with someone asking if it was okay to do or not. Many are dead set against any hugs, physical touch, etc. How sad that we live in this place and time, that such care or touch can be threatened and taken the wrong way. My son is a teacher and when he walks down the hallway with students, he crosses his arms in front of him to prevent any negative recourse that could happen. How sad. Sadly, this is where we are in our world, which makes it hard to have contact or feel at ease talking to the opposite sex or nowadays, same sex without being criticized. Being cautious is necessary.
So as I wrote my answer and just re-read it, it made me think back of where I was when I walked into my former counselor’s office back in 2014. I was at the end of my rope and the knot was unraveling as it was. Please help me! This was my last-ditch effort as I was becoming so hopeless and I wanted hope, which I had lost over the years due to situations. I felt there was no use to try anymore, I was exhausted.
My counselor and I covered a lot of stuff in four years together, some not so easy and there were times I wanted to walk out and not come back. Although, and most times, I could not wait to get back to another session. It was like a battle digging through the trenches of life and the battle fatique of it all was felt by me and I do believe her, too. Thank God she fought with me and for me.
As we have just gone through this world-wide pandemic and all the craziness and confusion, there is light at the end of the tunnel nowadays but it has not been easy for so many. I have several people I know personnally who have passed away or have been in the ICU for weeks. Covid19 is real. I am not here to go on a tangent about this matter though.
In my counseling, we discussed many times about the hugs I so dearly wanted and needed from others, mostly mother figures in my life. There were only a few that I depended upon and clung to, hoping that I would get the care and love from them, plus that tight hug that made me just melt, feeling as though my emotional pain disappeared for at least a minute. There was a void within and as much as I tried to pray and work through this issue, it would not leave. I felt as though I became a professor at hugs, as there are hugs but then there are real hugs. Those ‘real hugs’ did not happen very often but I desired them, where I felt I was actually loved. This was a part of my life, since a child. I could never understand why I hungered for love from others but not my own mother. Why can’t I get that from my own mother? A question I could never answer but my counselor helped me grasp the childhood emotional neglect, rejection and abandoment I often felt and little by little, I understood. It made sense to me.
There was love as we were a family and I was taken care of with a roof over my head, a warm bed, clothes and food but never loved as a young child and grown adult that should have been received. It causes a void. No child should go without hugs and not being told that they are loved. The child grows up questioning everything, trying to figure it all out. Starvation of love is just about as bad as starvation of food, both causing death.
In my answer I mentioned that I made, was how my counselor took time to understand me and helped me understand myself while she listened to the words and the inaudible words not spoken as I sat before her. She also heard my silent screams of needing her hugs. It was hard to express my heart and the fact of telling her my heart’s cry for that hug, which was an embarrassment. Plus it was not a one-time request. Please Hug Me! Please!!
While she was my counselor, I did not see her as a mother figure actually, as we were near in age. Still, she saw that little girl within me starving for love and compassion and that ‘inner child’ within me did reach out for her motherly care and compassion. It’s an odd place to be and describe but thank God I was given this opportunity and I had just the right counselor. God’s Timing is perfect. Looking back, she made me work through this period and others, as we discussed in detail, but I had to ask her for that hug, it was not just freely given. Please Hug Me! I knew she cared for me.
Those many sessions with her over the years were worth every penny and my time invested, determined of not giving up. The hugs given when leaving were very nice and some weeks I was fine, I did not need a hug. In my whole life though, I was always tangled up with the desire that I had never spoken of this for someone to love me and hug me, as I opened up to her. This inner, emotional pain was hidden, as I did not know how to deal with a deprivation of love. How sad is that. Would I ever get over this desire and need? Honestly, I saw no hope. It felt like a til death do us part basically in my life and in that, a sad, lonely death.
It was this past year, 2020 when the six-foot social distancing and masks became part of the norm for all of us. Do you hug or do you not? Do you pat someone’s arm for encouragement or do you not? The physical contact became non-existent between everyone, from friends, family and even our own children. To leave my sons with no hug was beyond heartbreaking. Fear, sometimes, as I fight fear anyway and now this, fear that I would get sick from my boys or I would make them sick. God help us all!
Several months into this pandemic and calming my own panic attacks by deep breathing, EFT tapping, prayer, refinishing furniture, painting, etc., trying to calm myself down and mind off of the unknown to get through another day of the unknown. Or thinking the dark cloud of this virus was going to get me, like a boogeyman. After awhile I realized my desire for those motherly hugs was diminished. While I missed my counselor, my church family, sisters and others, I was not missing the hugs. How could that be? I had to wonder if I had put up a wall of not wanting to be hurt due to what I had just gone through or if I had just finally overcome the need for such and can live freely in my mind and body of not being overwhelmed with the need for that hug from a motherly figure. Could it be? Who am I? I put myself in places either by thinking or in the six foot distancing space, viewing Facebook of them or photos, where I was with those I had wanted hugs before just to see how I was responding. I was doing fine, I did not need their hug. With the restrictions, it would not happen anyway but I could walk away peacefully, not crying within of not receiving and sit in my car and cry. That’s huge! All my life this was a struggle. Now, it’s a foreign part of me.
Many times, I have written about my former counselor. Sorry if you get tired of reading about her but she is and will always be a part of my life. I knew in early 2014 that I wanted the end of my life to be better and that is when I started searching and praying about the ‘right’ counselor. September, 2014, I walked into her office and walked out four years later, not the same person. There was some tremendous pain at the end of how our sessions ended, but I survived. I do miss her. Had it not been for all the muck we went through and her pushing and tugging at me to bring me to safety and breathe fresh air, I would not be where I am today.
Learning to love myself and care for that little girl within me, which sounds goofy, and she helped me understand this of myself, but she, the little girl within, is still present and still needs love. Only I can give.
It feels really good to know that the screams within me for hugs, most of my life, have been quieted. I cannot imagine going through 2020 otherwise, as I don’t know if I could have survived. Seeing the past, where we were last year and where I am today, you cannot tell me that God does not exist. He knew I needed my counselor back then and way before 2020 and to live the rest of my life to the fullest. His Timing… had it not been, I do not know where I would be, today.
Even writing this blog about the hugs, my neediness all through my life, I still felt the pain and knew the torment I had experienced. In writing, I had to wonder if I was sinking back into this mode or do I sincerely feel a change has happened. I don’t want to experience such heartache ever again. Do I miss hugs from many, I do, but I am fine. If I would see my counselor out one day, do I want her hug, I wonder. Time will tell but odds are, yes, who am I kidding. If she needs a hug, I’ll hug her. lol Now, I’ll make her ask me. We all need hugs.
I have learned through reading blogs or other questions asked and replies on Quora, it is that I am not the only one that has dealt with this lack of love and needing hugs. We all need love, to give and receive, no matter our age.
I am sure you can look over your life, you can also say, “Where Would I Be” if it had not been. Count the Lord’s Blessings and see that your outlook on life and your happiness increases with joy and thankfulness.
“Healing the mother wound and recovering from the emotional absence is a process and takes time depending on your mother wound and experiences. It is a journey of becoming the person you are meant and want to be and the healing the wound can set you free from self-criticism, self-doubt, reduce anxiety and depression, improve your relationships and benefit you in many other ways.”
In this past year of social distancing, the huggers have had withdrawals of not being able to be themselves. They want to reach out and hug but are reminded not to hug by the face mask the other wears and of their own. No hugs! This causes a void in their daily life whether it be in social settings as in church or just running into a friend or family member.
I know of one lady that is in a public business, a funeral home, and this is her nature. In her personality, which is very caring in this role of a funeral director, the hugs given to those in mourning are an added benefit. After all the funeral plans and committal service, these people know that the hug will come from her in the days ahead. Her hugs felt safe and precious in a time of the darkest hours with a death in a family of our area. If you mention her name, they automatically smile and remember the hugs given and so desperately needed.
I have no doubt this caused a mild depression in her of not offering that hug to those needing one. Back in 1996 when my mother died, she became a rock for me, as I was lost in my grief. I have had family members pass away and friends but this was my mother. My role as a daughter had changed, I am now a caretaker of my father more so, after the funeral and financial ends were finalized. For a long while, I did not know how to process this. I was grieving but had to be strong for my dad, my children. Emotions were always hidden in our family growing up, you don’t cry, for whatever reason. Perhaps I was made to feel that way since I was seven years later and the older ones called me a cry baby. I learned early on to keep my emotions to myself, as a young child. So, I somewhat died along with her but became a robot of day to day living. Maybe they were all robots. During this time, my marriage was dying but even before, to cry on his shoulder or to be held, was also out of the question. Alone in my grief.
Two years later when my father died at home with my sister and I by his side, I was more prepared but still, it is like a rug was pulled out from me. Now I felt like an orphan. Another new role to take upon myself, as I dealt with the estate and a few greedy family members. That’s a whole other writing in itself. The morning my dad passed, I called the funeral home and it was not long until she was with me in my living room, knowing she filled a role in my life that kept me steady on a thin, raveling rope. Those hugs she offered and I accepted was a glue that I needed. Besides my boys, there were no hugs.
So that is her, a hugger of many and filled in a mother role that I needed. She allowed me to cry, she hugged me tight and stayed in touch with me, she knew of my marriage and family issues. Again, she was my rock, when I needed a boulder.
Many years have passed now and a lot has happened since. I was able to not need her as much in this role, as I have grown and adapted to my loss as in time we do, but she will always be special to me. We always have those hugs. Still and many times, gifts to and from one another are related to hugs, even now, texts will relate to hugs. I needed those hugs and I knew her two arms would tightly wrap around me, keeping me together.
So here we are almost a year since this pandemic started and the social distancing, limits all around and it is like a don’t touch sign on each person. It is sad. I decided to reach out to her a few weeks ago as I/we still do for each other. I know she is there but I don’t rely on her as much. Unselfishly, which was not always easy, others need her, too. In my text, I asked her how she was doing and how she was handling this pandemic and the rules. Again, everyone knows she hugs, that is just her. When she responded, she was happy to be asked and felt she could elaborate but had to get back with me. It was several days later and I did not think anything about it, as life happens.
Finally, a text but a different tone in her writing to me, as I started to read, which was unusual from her. I continued to read and was apologizing to me because she thought this would be easy to write about but found it was not. This lady is and has been a strong pillar in our community with the funeral home business but this stirred emotions in her.
“Believe it or not, I have been thinking of you a lot after receiving the above request. SORRY to be so long in responding.
When I read your message, I really thought I’d get an answer back to you before the end of the day. As you already know, that wasn’t what happened.
You were requesting me to write you my thoughts, on how things have been going, and how I felt about not being able to socialize, or HUG during this crazy unfamiliar time we’re all living right now.
I didn’t think at first it would be so difficult to write, but I’ve been in solitary (like a lot of other people) for months now, NO hugging, touching, having anyone visit (I understand they are all trying to protect me, but I’m sorry to tell you at this time, I can’t help you.
I’ve also lost so many friends, and several family members since last March, it makes me sad to even think about it. Please forgive me. Maybe at a later time I’ll be able to help you, but right now I don’t want to talk about my feelings. I do Love you and hope and pray you’ll understand. ❤❤❤🙏🙏🙏”
I did understand. Honestly, I bet a majority of people, even you, feel the same. Our lives have been disrupted, a ‘Do Not Cross’ sign on our forehead of no touching, no hugging, no socializing basically. We are pulled from those that give us hope and laughter as a tight hug brings laughter and tears fill our eyes with joy. Now tears of sadness if we give much thought of those times together.
I have had to wonder how I would respond if I would run into her. Automatic hug or replaced with fear to hug, as we both struggle with none. I have wondered about this happening with another, my former counselor if we would run into one another. Upon leaving her practice, she said we could hug if we saw one another and I do expect it. I do know that had it not been for her and I to discuss why hugs meant so much to me and why I yearned for hugs from others, in those years together as counselor/client, among other things we discussed, I don’t doubt I would be experiencing severe depression during this pandemic. If and when I would run into her, how would the emotional side of me react, I wonder. Would it bring further grief, as I miss her? There are some people in my life and I am sure in yours that you want and expect those hugs. I do. I want. We all need them. I have been so blessed with many in my life, just like the two I mentioned.
In this pandemic, there were a few visits with my son of no hugs. My heart was broken as I went back to my room and cried. The grieving of what we have lost in just the touch or a hug, being with others, my own child(ren). The seclusion can do a number on our mental health. Even though, we are resilient.
We are made and we yearn for touch and love. This pandemic puts a wall and the masks further isolate each of us from seeing the smile of those we care for in our lives or just in passing others in day to day life. The joy has diminished from faces and in life. Hopefully, not fully from their hearts. On the surface, we are adapting but we long for those hugs and the closeness in visiting.
Yes, we will get through this season of seclusion but knowing, too we have lost friends or family members with this evil virus. Perhaps this is a wake up call to know and be reminded we are not promised tomorrow, or our next breath. Express your love and appreciation for those we come in contact however done, either in person, phone or text, as it might be the last time.
“Touch is a legitimate physical and emotional need. It’s part of the human experience, and losing that and not knowing when you will get it back is hard.”