I’m just going to put it out there. 2020 has mostly sucked so far. On February 5th I put down my 19 ½-year-old Siamese cat. She had been with me through two house moves, the death of my godparents, my mother and my husband. She slept with me every night curled next to me (and to be honest, taking up a lot of room for a cat that had weighed less than 5 pounds her whole life). My brother and sister-in-law went with me so I would not have to do it alone. It was comforting to have them there, to have the freedom to cry and to have them hug me through it.
Then came COVID-19. I do not have to tell you how much this pandemic has upended all our lives. We went from high maintenance individuals to zero maintenance in a matter of weeks. We weren’t allowed to go to our offices and only allowed out of our to do essential tasks.
We look unkempt and we do not even mind because when we go out, we can hide behind the masks; most people wouldn’t recognize us anyway. Our celebrations are now restricted to close family or drive by parades. The same can be said for our dinners, church services and funerals. How many families have less than 10 people and even then, they must be 6 feet away from each other?
This is a very unusual time without a doubt. We are isolated, becoming depressed and have no clue when any of this will end. I watch my healthcare friends work tirelessly under a variety of circumstances. Doctors and nurses with families of their own that, in a few instances, have isolated themselves to protect their family. No hugs, no kisses. I pray for them every day.
People are finding a new “normal” while working from home, educating their children through homeschooling and taking a hard look at what they need to permanently change to make their lives better.
Friendships have changed, family has changed and the way we do business has changed. Human contact is missing. I’m a hugger, always have been. If you ever needed a hug, I would not hesitate to give you one. But now, we are forced to air hug (from six feet away) and blow kisses.
Last Thursday I found out my orange male cat had large cell gastrointestinal lymphoma. He was less than 8 years old and the only male I had ever had. He was a sweetheart and he was the most affectionate cat I had ever owned. By Monday I had to put him down. Only this time I was not with anyone. I was alone with Apollo and my vet, Dr. Nancy Christensen of Cat Veterinary Clinic. There were, and still are, plenty of tears but there were no hugs. No one to stand beside me to help me get through it except for Dr. C. That’s when you must face the new reality; sometimes you are just going to have to do it alone. Dr. Christensen wanted to hug me, but we both knew that wasn’t prudent. However, those six words “I wish I could hug you,” made a world of difference.
We hear this every day – take the time to tell people that you love them, tell them they make difference in your life and through all of this that you will survive and God willing, thrive. I know that I will come out of this a better person. My priorities will be different, I will be taking a closer look at those things I really need compared to those I really want.
My friendships have always run deep. I know the people that I can call when I feel like my world is ending and I know that they will make sure that it doesn’t end, that I just need a hug.
So to my family, friends (new and old) and those I haven’t yet met, know that when you take me into your life I will love you with all my heart and hug you every time I see you. Because to me, hugging is the most beautiful form of communication that allows the other person to know beyond a doubt that they matter.
Until this is over, and I see you in person, I send you hugs!