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What’s YOUR most memorable hug?

I was wandering around the living room this morning -- not long out of bed -- probably looking a bit lost -- when JoAnn sang out, "You look like a man looking for a hug."

What a brilliant lady she is. Of course. That was exactly what I was looking for -- I just hadn't realized it yet.

We have a ritual in this matter. I stand at the bottom of the stairs and JoAnn stands one step up so as to compensate for our difference in height.

It was a good hug. We took a little time with it. It not only got me in the flow of life's goodness and generosity, shall I say, but it also got me thinking about the importance of hugs to our lives and overall well-being. As the author and therapist Leo Buscaglia once said, "Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism."

I remember very well one of my first hugs with JoAnn. We weren't married yet, heck we weren't even dating yet. We had been corresponding for a few months though, and had agreed I would fly down from Vancouver to Denver for a visit so that we could get to know each other better.

JoAnn met me at DIA and we walked to the parking lot where she had parked her car. But before getting into the car I succumbed to an urge that was impossible to deny, and took her in my arms. It was a hug that went on and on and on, and I must say -- speaking for myself -- that it made me feel my visit was off to a very auspicious beginning indeed.

There is much more to hugs than "romance," of course. A hug can fill a void in a way that nothing else can.

One of the most precious hugs of my life came in the extraordinarily tender and indescribable moment that followed the physical passing of my first wife, Joy.

Joy had suffered a stroke on an airplane as we were returning to Vancouver from a holiday in the Caribbean, and was rushed to hospital in a coma. The doctor said there was nothing they could do, and it was simply a matter of waiting for the end. Joy was moved to a private room -- where for two or three hours I kept a lonely vigil as her life slowly ebbed away.

The fateful moment arrived. Joy breathed her last breath. The wonderful Australian nurse turned to me and said, "God's got her." Then, opening her arms wide -- she gave me a hug of pure compassion and love.

I'd like to end this post with an excerpt from an article entitled 'Importance of Hugs in a Marriage,' at www.theprofessorshouse.com.

"When the man of the house -- the breadwinner -- gets downsized by his company, he comes home, looks at his wife and says, 'I could use a hug right now.' Or when the wife commits a serious flop during her piano recital and breaks down crying, the husband instinctively puts his arms around her, holds her close and says, everything's okay. It's only a piano recital. Your playing was brilliant.

"In his article, 'Have you hugged anyone lately?' Parveen Chopra quotes family therapist Virginia Satir: 'We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.'"

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Virginia May 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

My little doggie of 15 yrs had just died. I wanted to die too. My blood pressure shot off the charts so I was transported by ambulance to the hospital. When I finally returned home I had a houseful of neighbors comforting me. One neighbor came in and without saying one word reached down to me on my sofa and hugged me without saying anything for about 2 minutes. I barely knew the man but I will never forget the comfort I felt from that hug.

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Christopher Foster June 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi Virginia. Thanks so much for sharing your moving story. Isn’t it interesting how sometimes words not only aren’t needed, but would intrude really on something important and creative that’s going on? Do you have a new dog?

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Tristan May 27, 2011 at 12:43 am

I had a memorable hug about a week ago. This one hug literally saved me from self mutalation/cutting myself. I am one of the most happy, talkative people I know. The only time im not as bubbly and crazy is when im around the girl im currently falling for, Lucy. She goes to my church and when ever shes around, i get very selfconcious, but I still manage to talk to her. But everytime I think about asking her out, its like a little voice in my head calls me worthless, unloved trash (which is untrue because im well-liked by pretty much everyone). But that one time a week ago, I actually convinced myself I was worthless. I felt so horrible. I felt almost nocious. I had almost made up my mind to cut myself when I got home, something ive never even thought about doing. I sat there after service for a while with my hand on my forhead shielding my face from anyone elses view. I then felt something like fingernails gently scratching my back. I looked up a little and saw Lucy sitting me looking right at me. She then hugged me close for like 6 seconds. Shes hugged me before but none of them that long. And none of them had as much of an effect on me. I actually felt better and loved. She eventually got up and went downstairs to the lobby. I eventually went down there to leave and on my way out told her goodbye. She said bye bye and smiled. We are not going out yet, but I just have that feeing we might soon. Im glad I finally shared that expierience. Even if its just on the internet!

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Christopher Foster May 28, 2011 at 9:24 am

Tristan, hi. This is such a touching story. Thank you so much for sharing it here. I wish you every happiness. Blessings to you.

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Jackson Dunes September 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Living alone in a new town with no friends yet and too far away from my last home, it looked like I was going to be spending Christmas alone. I ran into an acquaintance at the beach and after hearing I was by myself with no plans she invited me to Christmas dinner at her house. I barely knew her and didn’t know her family at all and I almost didn’t go because the invitation felt more like charity than an interest in me as a person.

But sage advice from an old soul convinced me I should go. Dinner was lovely. The conversation was good. When I was getting ready to leave, she shook my hand and uttered a few words about how nice it was to have me over but her husband did an extraordinary thing.

This tall, 6’2″ man, bent way down and wrapped his arms around my 5’2″ frame with absolute tenderness and grace. His embrace is still, to this day, one of my most treasured holiday memories because it was pure love and that’s what the season is all about regardless of denomination.

Jackson Dunes
Pug At The Beach
http://amzn.to/BeachBooks

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Christopher Foster September 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Beautiful story Jackson. Thank you so much for sharing it. And thank you for reading this post, I still remember when I wrote it, the happiness in my heart. Lots of blessings to you.

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