The older I get, the more I realize how much healing is needed in our world. I have also learned there are many ways to heal. There is also a difference between healing and being cured. Being cured means that whatever was ailing you has been removed permanently. Being healed can mean the same thing, but it also can mean that you are given the strength and understanding to handle what you find you must endure.
For this moment, I am going to write about a healing that also cures. Hugs. Yes, hugs! Have you ever been hugged so well that you could feel the sadness leave your body? These are the best kind of hugs!
Someone said that the only jewels you need around your neck are the arms of a child. I find this to be true. No, they don’t come in colors that match your new outfit, and you can’t pawn them for money. But they are priceless beyond compare!
I suffer from major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder. It’s been so long now, that I seem to carry a certain amount of sadness with me every day. Most of the time I don’t notice it, but it’s just under the surface waiting for a trigger.
When I first read that comment about the arms of a child, it reminded me of how I feel when I get a hug from my grand-daughter and my son. My son is over 6 feet tall, and I am 5 foot 7. When he hugs me, his arms go all the way around me and he pulls me up against him. I rest my head on his chest and I can hear his heart beating. I can feel the heat of his body. He will squeeze me, just right, and I can feel myself relax. I usually don’t even realize that I was holding my body tense until that moment. When he is hugging me like that, I feel safe and I realize that all is as it should be. My mind clears and I smile again.
When my grand-daughter hugs me, she will tell me that she is going to hug me. This means I am supposed to keep my arms down and let her hug me. It is a gift she is giving to me and I am supposed to just accept it. I find that more than precious! She is just 3, and learning how to show love when she feels it. She will wrap her arms around my neck or around my arms, as far as she can. She will stay like that for a minute or two. I can smell her hair, the clean smell of her skin that little children have. More than that, I feel her unconditional love for me, her grandma. It’s all I can do to stay still and let her do this without throwing my arms around her! But I must, because she wants to give me this gift. So I just close my eyes and soak it up. I can feel a peacefulness come over me like I feel when I am alone with God. Perhaps in that moment of receiving the hug of a child, I am alone with God!
When I want to give her a hug, sometimes she puts her arms around my neck and sometimes she just stands there. She doesn’t resist, so I pull her as close to me as I can. I hold her as tight as I can without hurting her, and feel her heart beating. It is a feeling of life, of energy. The feeling of a connection that I have with no other person on this earth. My sadness and loneliness fade away.
There have been other people in my life that had this effect on me. One of the first was my own grandmother. When she would hug me, I could feel her love in the way she pulled me to her and wrapped her arms around me. I knew I was her favorite, and I needed to know that. She was there for me with a hug at times when no one else was there for me. I miss her every day. It is her example that I want to emulate with my grand-daughter.
Another one who could heal me was my son’s father. He was my first love, and we were pretty young. He was a very tall and muscular man, and his hugs were strong. I felt safe and secure. Again, I could feel his heartbeat, and it was strong and steady. When he was out to sea, I had a cardigan sweater that belonged to him, and I would wear it because it smelled like him and I would feel his hug. But thinking of this makes me sad, because the hugs became fewer and finally stopped. He went away and I was heartbroken for years.
Not too long after he left us, I met a man who was older than me by fifteen years. I will write about my relationship with him in another article. He was experienced with hugging. He knew I was a scared young mother, and he knew how lonely I was. He knew just when to hug me. When his arms were around me, I felt accepted as a woman again. It helped me heal from losing my husband to another woman. We were together for many years, off and on, as friends and lovers. He has moved on finally, and I miss his hugs very much. It’s ok, because all is as it should be.
Hugs from my girlfriends are different. I don’t rest my head on their chests to hear their heartbeats. But we hold each other tightly, patting each other on the back gently, and look into each others eyes knowingly. When my friends hug me, I know I am part of a larger family. I feel uplifted, I feel believed in.
I have one sister, she is two years younger. We have only started hugging again in the past couple of years. We did hug each other a lot when we were very small. As we grew older there were family dynamics at play that caused me to pull away from her. It wasn’t until she went through her second divorce that she realized how much she needed me, and I was able to find a way that I could be her big sister again. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, we hug. We hug hello, we hug goodbye. It is a reassuring type of hug, letting each other know that we are there for the other. I look forward to her hugs.
When my son was eighteen, he was arrested. It was Christmas time, and I was frantic and panicked. The first thing I did was drive over to my parents’ house, in tears. I came to them because they had been through the same thing with my brother many times. They both hugged me long and tightly. I could feel the fear leave my body, because their hugs told me that they understood what I was feeling, and that it was all going to be ok. It did turn out ok in the end. Again, everything is as it should be. Even so, the hugs got me through it.
I hope that as you read this article, you are thinking about the people in your life that hug you. The people who you hug. What do they feel when you hug them? I hope they feel loved. I hope that when they hug you, that you feel all the sadness leave your body and in its place you are filled with love.
After all, Love IS the great healer.
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