I never realised how much I need to give and receive hugs until this week.
The automatic step forward to hug a friend, the arm raising itself to touch another’s shoulder, such small insignificant everyday movements which now have to be curbed and turned into a step back instead – very hard to process.
I understand the need for it, obviously. I get it. I’m not blind to the seriousness of the situation. But I do think ‘Social distancing’, whilst being vitally important in slowing the spread of Covid-19, is going to leave us with a raft of other problems, deep feelings of isolation and loneliness. Depression. Problems which will linger in the psyche far longer than the virus.
What I’m saying, I think, is that #bekind has never been more important than it is right now. But we need to be kind to everyone. Everyone. We need to be prepared to listen to what everyone’s worries are – however small and petty they might seem against the backdrop of this pandemic. Otherwise people will get swept away in the tide of ‘your problems aren’t big enough to worry about’. And some of them won’t have the energy to swim back.
We are all facing the possibility of life never quite being the same again. We are all facing the possibility of losing people we love. I am not making light of these things, they are real. But we all have smaller, more immediate things happening to us right now which are causing us sadness and worry, too. The things that need a good hug and chat with a friend to put them in their place. And without the ability to get that hug, or see that friend – those things become so much harder to deal with. It makes the need to be sensitive to others even more vital than ever before.
Just such a thing exists in my life, today. It is related to the virus, but not because anyone I love is ill. It is not earth shattering, or life altering in the long term, but it matters to the people it is happening to today. It is something which is not their fault but they will never be able to get what they will lose back. And that makes me sad for them. Luckily I will be able to hug one of them – if she’ll let me. She is a teenager after all. But she’s my teenager, so I’m sure it’ll be okay.
And for anyone else facing something big, or small, which feels as if it’s a little bit too heavy to bear – I am sending you a pile of virtual hugs to apply as and when. Not as good as the real thing, but it’s a start.