The power of the hug… RAMifications 12-26-12

Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:36 am

The power of the hug…

I remember vividly when we were at the cemetery after my mother died. It was bitter cold, and I’d been trying to keep everything together…and not doing very well. As I turned from the gravesite, my cousin’s husband simply took me in his arms and hugged me. No words said, but it was such a comfort. I will hold that memory forever, and always be grateful.


Ruth A. Moller

Any mother knows that your child will settle down if you just hug him/her. And Mother also settles down when that child hugs her.

Over the years, I’ve come to believe that there is so much solace in a hug, for whatever reason, and it is certainly not employed enough.

There are other ways to show sympathy, consolation, gratitude…just a “sorry” or a “thank you.” But it doesn’t quite make the grade like a clasp of a hand or–especially–a hug.

I didn’t grow up in a very demonstrative home. I cannot truly remember my father ever hugging me, though my mom made up for it. But when I married, I vowed there would be an abundance of hugs for husband, family, children, friends.

I know there are differences in people…some welcome hugs, but some of the older generation especially weren’t quite so willing to do that. I still knew they cared about me, but I’d have liked a little physical closeness.

At least when my kids were little, they were smothered with hugs. And when my daughter had her two boys, we never parted without her telling them, “Give hugs.”

Tyler and Brooke have never restrained themselves from giving hugs, and I live for that.

When I first met my oldest son’s step-son, he surprised me by giving me a hug when I was getting ready to leave their home. He still does that, no coaching given, bless his heart.

I believe hugs are the missing ingredient in many relationships. A hug is personal, but not invasive. It can show love, affection, caring, comfort. I’ve never met a hug I didn’t like.

At each service, my church always has the “passing of the peace.” Some people simply shake hands, but many also hug. I like that. It makes me feel that, for at least a second or two, we truly are “brothers and sisters.”

As the years have passed, I have made a point of never leaving my children and their spouses, and my grandchildren, without hugs. I never end a conversation or an e-mail without saying “I love you.” Same goes with some of the closer relatives. Phone=“I love you.” In person=hug AND “I love you.”

My dearest friend from college days wrote in her Christmas letter that she hoped I could stop by in Rapid over Christmas to see their new home and “to have a hug.” I guess that’s why she’s still a dearest friend.

Granted, there are some people I would never consider hugging. But by the same token, I’m sometimes surprised by someone unexpected who hugs me; it’s always a comfortable feeling.

I personally think members of Congress and other assemblies would be much better off if they took a minute to exchange the peace and give a hug.

Years ago, when we first moved to Rapid City from Minnesota, a friend from Crookston called and said, at the end of the conversation, “I never told you I loved you.” But, actually, she did. She was a good hugger.

I think my wish for the New Year would be, in Lori’s words, “give hugs.” Hug moms and dads and spouses and kids and family members and friends. Hug people in pain or sorrow, hug people who are having happy moments to share. I think it’s the touch that counts…the closeness for a moment that lets you give of yourself to another.

Hugging doesn’t discriminate, follow party or religious lines, doesn’t make judgments. And it is certainly good for the soul.

Blessings for 2013, and be sure to give hugs.