Have you Hugged Your Mother Today?

This is not one of my usual humorous posts.

As I left my Mother’s house last night, I said my usual good-bye, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and a short hug.

But, she held on.

She rested her head on my shoulder and told me how nice it felt.

It felt nice to me, too. I don’t recall the last time my Mom and I held each other long enough for it to create a memory.

The memory of that hug stayed with me all night, as if it were trying to tell me something. I woke up this morning, not having so much of an “aha” moment, but more of a “duh” moment. My Mother has been living alone since my Father died this past June, and probably hasn’t had a really good hug since.

My Dad was a big guy, and when he was younger, and stronger, gave the best, great, big bear hugs. Our family has always been affectionate, so hugging and kissing each other has been as natural as breathing; almost taken for granted.

My Dad died suddenly after a heart attack, so I’m sure there were plenty of hugs up until that moment.

Of course, there were lots of hugs after, from friends, family, and even people I’d never met before. I felt protected and warm.

I had also unwittingly joined a club to which many of my friends were already members. Without having to say a word, we knew we had each others’ backs. We knew the pain. We would learn to live a new “normal.” As different as we might think we are from one another, we all hurt the same.

My Dad used to kiss me on the top of my head. I don’t know how, why, or when that ritual started, but I don’t remember him kissing me any other way. It became such a part of our “hello” and “good-bye” routine that upon arriving or leaving I would walk over to my Father and bow my head for a kiss. It never seemed strange to me. And, even though I didn’t hug or kiss him back, it seemed to have the same affectionate effect on him as it did me. Loving kiss given. Loving kiss received.

I don’t even know how he kissed anyone else. I never paid attention. It didn’t matter to me. We had our own thing that worked for us, and that’s what I’ll always remember.

My brother, Paul, and his partner Terry, came in town from Nashville, Indiana more frequently after my Father died, so Mom got lots of hugs from them. We all hugged each other a lot. There was strength and hope in those embraces.

Cruel isn’t even a strong enough word to describe what happened next. Less than three weeks after my Father died, Paul died at the scene of a car accident. Gone. No warning. No chance. No hope. No final hugs. And, very few hugs afterward.

We had nothing to give one another. Terry had lost his Partner right after my Mother had lost hers. Friends and family were so stunned they didn’t know what to do. I didn’t, either.

Some of us don’t have Mothers to hug anymore. Some don’t have Fathers, Grandparents, Siblings, Spouses, Partners, Children, Cousins,  Aunts, Uncles, or even Best Friends. But I think we all have at least one person in our lives for whom a hug would create a memory that, for at least that moment, would provide protection and warmth for them, and for us.

28 Replies to “Have you Hugged Your Mother Today?”

  1. Leslie, what a beautiful story today. Our family has always been a very affectionate and hugging family. When a loved one is gone we forget about the partner still living. I do recall after my father passed away, giving my mom a good hug, and her comment to me was, “I miss being hugged.” I’ve never forgotten her words.
    Everyone needs a hug, just to say, “nice to see you, good-bye, hope that you have a great day or I hope that your day gets better.
    Thanks. Leslie.
    carol oxoxoxo

  2. Hugs are soooo important and the real hugs that carry love and get love back do not happen oftern enough – You are so right Leslie. Your message is tender, true, sad, scary, and makes a giant lump in my throat. Cruel is so true. Healing is so hard. Hugs do help. And the little family traditions we come to take for granted are what its all about. Hugs and the other little gestures – not so little in meaning, are a tender, silent, delicious communication between those who care and are cared about. Thanks for writing this. Love you

  3. Ahhhh. Les. Such a sweet and loving post..you don’t always have to be funny…you are so articulate and I love reading whatever you write. I am sending biggest hugs to you and your precious mom..

  4. In honor of Leslie’s most excellent and touching post, I will offer to those who are in need of one, a really good hug. I will even waive the “Purell Provisions”…(just this once, of course.)

  5. Typing this then running to give my kids one big hug before they go to sleep. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate each day, each hug and each kiss!!!

  6. As usual you are right on target….couldn’t call you when I read your blog….too emotional!
    Beautifully written, very heartfelt, touching. Your special good by was always the kiss on the head. Always his little girl.

  7. Darling Leslie, I wish you were here right now cause I need to give you a hug and thank you for sharing that beautiful story. We have all felt the pain of losing someone we’ve loved and even though that pain never goes away you have to hold on to all the precious people around us and give lots of HUGS! Love you!!!

  8. leslie,
    What a beautiful and magnificent letter! I started crying as soon as I read ,that your mom wouldn’t let you go from her hug. Being that I love you and your family so much, I feel I was in your heart and soul every step of the way. The words that came out of your letter was so heartfelt. This will be a day of more memories for me.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Love always and forever

  9. I sit here in tears…..misssing my Uncle Normies giant hugs…..missing Paulies wonderful warmth….thank you my sweet cousin Leslie for putting all of that into amazing words….
    I will never let go of my Aunt Lorraines hugs…I promise

  10. So much Thanksgiving fun with family..finally getting to catch-up on e-mails.
    We look forward to reading your mail and know that soon we will be able to read your words in a book.
    This one really made us remember and only hope that we gave enough hugs to those we love.
    Take care and have a very fun holiday.
    Dee and Dick

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