Hug Steve

Image by basykes via Flickr

At 55 I finally figured out why I still love stuffed animals so much. I know, I’m no brain trust; it took me this long to figure it out. Sometimes I even shock myself; it’s pathetic. I like the comfort of sleeping with a stuffed animal friend for the feeling of a hug, warmth, soft comfort. These days I have been sleeping with my arm around Zippy, the monkey; he was popular in the fifties and sixties and I just ordered a new one. He resembles closely my monkey friend that my dad bought me when I was two, from Lamston’s department store named Nokey (I couldn’t pronounce monkey at the time) who still lives in my bedroom and sits on a special shelf of honor. Nokey has had a face lift, an entire body lift and went to the best plastic surgeon in Europe, alas, he barely clings to life. As my entire family knows I want to be buried with Nokey, cremated together, whatever they have to do to keep us together. He wears a onesie that both my children wore when they were infants; at first I thought that was charming until my older sister cracked up and cackled like a witch and said it looks like an ad for elderly “underwear. “Now it doesn’t look AS charming as before, I have to admit. I hate it when she is right!

I remember almost eleven years ago I was in the supermarket shortly after my father died. I couldn’t move, I felt stuck, leaning on my carriage, holding on and crying quietly. I so wanted someone, anyone to ask if I was okay but they didn’t. They probably thought I was a crazy person and didn’t want to bother with me. All I remembered was that I wanted a hug, a gentle hug to know that someone was there for me, a concerned stranger, the assistant manager, anyone. People walked by me but no one stopped. I felt so incredibly alone and let’s face it, I was. Eventually the tears dried up, and slowly I dragged my swollen feet in uncomfortable black snow boots out of there. I honestly didn’t think I had the life left in me to go one step after the other to exit the cheery Christmas decorated grocery store, but I did. I had no choice.

I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays since my father died on New Year’s Eve, I have lived with that for eleven years and I know I will always live with it. There are some things that don’t change, some years are a little better, some years it’s worse, there is no way of telling. My parents’ wedding anniversary was/is January 1, st. I knew he wouldn’t die on their anniversary, he just wouldn’t. Christmas, like any personal holiday will always be known to me, as before he died, and after. That’s how those things work; I envy my husband who is lucky not to have lost a parent yet, truly and undeniably lucky.

I have a friend who is going through a particularly rough time right now. She is in the middle of some major decisions and while her attitude is positive she faces tough times ahead. I see her face from afar and all I want to do is wrap my arms around her and hug her. That’s my way though, of dealing with sadness and stress, I don’t know if it is hers. All I can do is offer. Do you need a hug? If so, I’m here.

To all my friends and family, if you need a hug, I am always here. If you need a virtual hug, I will send it to you.

Hug therapy, you, me. For free.