Dear Mom,

This is for you. Thank you for loving the unlovable in me and always believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I love you and appreciate you.

Danny

“If you’re angry at a loved one, hug that person. And mean it. You may not want to hug – which is all the more reason to do so. It’s hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that’s precisely what happens when we hug each other.”
Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course: Seven Steps to Self-Fulfillment

 

Hugging.

It’s not something men are usually known for. I am glad to say that it’s something I’m known for.I love receiving hugs and giving hugs.

When I lost my grandma in 2012, I probably didn’t hug anyone (except for the occasional hookup) for about 2 years. Months would go by and I wouldn’t touch anyone. This kind of isolation is gut-wrenching and sucks any bit of compassion straight out of you. You become  a shell of humanity that doesn’t want to be close to anyone and, because of this lack of touch,  fall further into isolation, depression, and anger  (towards both yourself and the world around you).

Recently, I’ve decided to make a change in my life  that has been helping me open my heart to receiving and giving love again. I’ve been hugging my mom, at least once, each and every day.

Today, I grasped my mom in a big bear hug in the kitchen. I was frustrated, angry, scared, worried; I think you get the picture.

Mom was having a bad day. They’ve been quite frequent lately and she found herself confused and upset with herself for being so confused. I got upset by something so instead of letting my anger and frustration have the final word, I went back to the kitchen and embraced my mom. We both cried.

It’s been hard these past several months. The usual ups and downs of life combined with mom’s declining physical and mental health has been wearing me down. I’ve found myself starting to want to fill that inner void with things that are not healthy for me (drinking, girls, etc.) Instead, I’ve turned to mom to not only offer my love and strength but to receive it in the embrace that can only be shared between a mother and her child.

Hugging my mom is helping me love her. It reminds me that a bond was shared between two people before words and experience ripped it apart, and I’ve made the decision to put it back together.

Sure, we still use words to work on our relationship, but nothing has helped to improve my compassion and empathy towards my mom as much as hugging her daily.

I know it’s not the popular, manly, or the cool thing to do, but I’d rather look back one day and surround myself with special memories of love and joy rather than try to comfort myself with a false, but cool image.

Life is too short.

Right now, I don’t have the words to offer her, because even if I did, most days they would fall on deaf ears and a confused mind. Mom’s mind is betraying her, but her son will not. I don’t have anything offer to her other than support and affection, and I hope someone reading this realizes that, sometimes, just being there with someone you love deeply during his or her darkest hour is more beneficial and helpful than all of the advice in the world.  Sometimes people just need you, your patience, and your attention.

A daily hug is teaching me the power of touch, healing my heart and inner child, and reminding me that I am loved even when I don’t have the words to offer. Sometimes, I’m enough and a hug is just extra.

Hugs heal.

Give a hug. Get a hug. Show some love to yourself and others.

I’ll leave you with this final thought:

“Listen, I’ll share some of the wisdom I learned over the years. When you near the end of your life… when you’re a lonely old man… you start realizing what your accomplishments are really worth. The most brilliant clue I ever deciphered, the millions I earned — even the microwavable burrito itself — sometimes I think I’d be willing to trade all of it for a single hug of someone who truly loves me.”
Margaret Peterson Haddix

Be well friends,

D6