I once blithely asked a recently divorced friend what he missed the most about being married. It was an acrimonious parting and I expected a trite answer like dinner being prepared, 2 paychecks coming into the house, dry cleaning miraculously reappearing in the closet, all things I figured would impact his busy doctor life. He floored me completely when he said what he missed the most was being touched or embraced, not sex, just being touched. I never forgot that answer and these days I concur. I miss human touch. I really miss being hugged with arms tightly wrapped around each other body to body. You know the hug I mean? Where you stand and sort of sway for a moment or two and just inhale each other’s essence. That hug signals all’s right with your world and you are safe, protected and loved. I was married to a really good hugger.
When you are recently widowed or divorced you can go days and sometimes weeks without being touched. I craved that physical aspect of love as I mourned my loss. I half expected my skin to shrivel up and slough off from lack of touch. No one was squeezing my shoulder, holding my hand or dropping a kiss on the top of my head as he passed by. Hugging a friend or family member when we meet or when we say goodbye is second nature to me. Mom freely dispensed hugs to us children when she left for work or when she returned home and the family habit stuck.
We have a fun short break during our church service on Sunday mornings where we take about ninety-three seconds to greet each other. I make it a point to try to greet people who I know are alone. They are the ones who need to be touched the most. When personal space became such costly real estate in the work place a lot of people, including me, had to learn new rules. I was used to hugging my co-workers and my customers, and shush, I continued to do so. Maybe there could be a day of the week designated as hug day like casual Fridays.