The Value of Human Touch

I’ve always been an affectionate person by nature. I believe that there is nothing that speaks silently with more value than an embracing hug. (And I have hugged a tree, though in my defense, I was drunk at the time, ran into a tree, hugged it and apologized to it!)

I’m also a pet lover – dogs more than cats, but I like friendly cats (or cats that are declawed, at least). I don’t have a pet. My original landlord had a ‘no pets’ clause in the lease, My bestie is also fearful of dogs in general. When new management took over and the first new tenant came with a cat, I assumed the no pet clause has been relaxed. As much as I often want to have a dog – have the name “Biscuit” picked out so it fits either gender – the cost of a pet has kept me at bay.

The governor of my state (Pennsylvania, USA) has officially extended the ‘stay home’ policy until April 30th. I’ve mentioned being a homebody anyhow, but I’m now at the point where I’m really starting to miss interaction. I have spoken to one person in the last several weeks – my upstairs neighbor who always knocks on my door when she’s going out to see if I need anything. I have only gone to the grocery store twice in the last month, using self check-out both times. I’ve picked up one prescription refill using the drive-thru window, a short business conversation with a relative stranger.

I am grateful for the relationships I have through the Internet, but I finally had to talk to myself out loud the other night simply to make sure my voice still worked! And I’m really starting to crave a good hug – to be honest, a mediocre hug will help! I’m envious of those of you who share a home with other human(s) or animal(s) whom you can at least talk to and be physically loving. I feel bad feeling bad about my need, when it’s so simple compared to so many people suffering far worse during this pandemic.

And yet, I’ve actually started to get a bit anxious about going out, even to the grocery store. With chronic sinusitis and the onset of spring allergies, I don’t go long without having to blow my nose, and I can just imagine envisioning people taking determined steps to move even farther away from me than the social distancing protocol!

I have always valued human touch, but I know many people who don’t really care for it much. To you, I challenge you to recognize the message within it, especially during these times. If you can hug someone, I encourage you to do it pronto! Social media shows photos of people being separated from their loved ones by glass in a hospital while their loved one lays dying. They will have no chance to give that final hug, to whisper that final “I love you” into their ear. Much like the events of 9/11, this pandemic is a wake-up call to us to show our love while we can.

Hug your spouse, hug your kids, hug your pets. We all need to be touched and tomorrow is not promised. And as God as my witness, assuming I survive this pandemic, those I love are going to get the biggest, longest hugs I have ever given out! Never forget the value of human touch!

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