The Hug… by JoAnn

A woman and girl hugging each other.

The last two years have certainly been different. It seems masks, vaccines, boosters, opinions on whether or not to get the vaccine, and distancing ourselves from one another have become our new norm. Or at least it has for my family and me. I for one, HATE IT!

I was feeling quite lonely the other day and thought to myself how nice it would be to have a big hug from someone I love at that moment. I live alone and do not have a significant other. All three of my daughters are grown and living with their spouses and children. Since the pandemic began, I have seen them less and less.

I tried to remember the last hug that I had shared. It had been when I hugged my oldest granddaughter Randi when she came by to drop off something for her mom. It was a quick hug initiated by me. My granddaughters have been warned not to hug me, as I am considered “high risk” due to several ailments that weaken my immune system. I find it very difficult, or downright impossible, to be around one of my granddaughters and not hug them. That’s one of the main reasons why I stay away. I know I will not be able to control myself. It’s the same with my grown daughters. They will forever be my “little girls .”I see them, and it’s impossible for me not to hug them.

I very rarely go out into public settings. But my children and grandkids are out in the world daily. I especially worry about my grandchildren as they are in the public school system. I imagine that to be a virtual cesspool of germs. Most assuredly, Covid germs.

I sometimes wonder if the danger is all in my mind. I see people going about their week like everything is normal. No Covid, no precautions, not seeming to have heard there is still a pandemic. Just as I begin to let my guard down and join them, I read another story or hear of another neighbor or friend of a friend who has become very ill from Covid or its variant. And worse than that, I hear of another death from the monster in this chaos.

I’m tired of not seeing my family as much as I want to and feeling guilty when I do. I’m tired of not having a hug when I need it or offering one. I’m tired of trying to protect my physical body at the cost of my mental health. Am I the only one who feels this way? It seems most days like I am on the outside looking in as everyone else is living their lives as usual. Or are they?

If there ever was a time in my life to say I’m living in “The Twilight Zone,” it is undoubtedly now. And I am beyond ready to change the channel. And if there ever was a time in my life I needed a hug, it is NOW.