The Power Of A Hug

person standing near lake
Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky on

I have been ensconced in a loveless, sexless, passionless relationship for so many years, I have lost track.

I accept it as part of the choices I have made, a lifeless existence into which I am now trapped.

I know it has impacted me.
It has caused me to me bitter.
It has brought me to profound sadness.

Recently, at the holidays, I lost someone. I lost someone to a subject I write about — suicide. I accepted his decision, and his death. I don’t know the details, but because of countless hours of research, and unfortunately knowing more than one who has made that ultimate decision, I can empathize with the frame of mind that led him to such a drastic, irreversible conclusion. I have sorrow for his family, his wife and child, yet, part of me has happiness for him,  that he is now free of whatever torment with which he suffered. 

I tend to take most deaths in stride. Being a veteran, even when not at war, we are conditioned to accept the reality of death. That is after-all, the primary purpose of the armed forces — to deliver death. In that mission —

  • Sometimes those close to us die.
  • Sometimes we die.
  • All times, part of us die.

January is generally a difficult month for me. My father’s birthday was the second, my mother’s the third, their wedding anniversary the fourth.

On January 30 of 2006, my dad succumbed to a long cancer that ate him away until the brightness of a man who loved his life was smothered and destroyed, leaving an emaciated shell of the vibrant person he once was.

On January 11 of 2007, not even an entire year later, my mom passed away because of an incompetent hospital staff and a son, that son being me, who has never forgiven himself for remaining silent and not raising a question because he genuinely believed her nurses could not be so stupid. Because of the hospital staff’s negligence, her death was sudden, without warning, without reason.

In each case, with my mother’s it took a bit longer, I moved forward, because there is no other option. My marriage dissolved, I moved on. My new relationship, at one time, was a good one, full of love, full of support, full of hope — I was living. Somewhere along the line, probably because of internal protective mechanisms, instead of evolving, we devolved. It has been years since we have shared one another, not a spoken word of love, not a kiss, not even a simple touch.

I live with it.
No, that’s not correct.
I exist with it.

The other day, for the first time in a long time, I opened up to a friend.

With genuine compassion, she listened.
With genuine compassion, she cared.
With genuine compassion, she gave me a hug.

For the first time in I can’t tell you how long, I felt the touch of human contact.

Not sexual.
Not erotic.
Not lustful.

woman hugging man in black sweatshirt
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Simply a hug. A hug which emoted so much compassion, that I not only hugged back, for a moment, I clung. And unbeknownst to her, my eyes filled with water. I was consoled, not only of my recent loss, but everything that has been hidden behind a protective shell.

Once again, I felt human.

As she shared that bit of contact, it was as if a humanity, a kindness that has lain dormant for so very long, came bursting forth.

For a moment, for one brief moment, I was again a person capable of love, and warmth, and even a small bit of happiness.

And then, the embrace was broken — and to the self-constructed hell, I returned. But at least I know somewhere buried deep, dormant but not dead, there is a remnant of wanting to live and love and enjoy life.

Awareness brought to the surface because of the genuine kindness of a friend. Because of the strength and power of a simple hug. 

Thank you my friend.



3 thoughts on “The Power Of A Hug

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