We gather together in times of distress. Distress could be the loss of a home to fire, the loss of a job or the loss of a family member. Tragic loss throws us into a tailspin of survival and disbelief.
But we are awesome human beings with the ability to survive. And get stronger. And get better. One of the ways we do this is by coming together. Humans are great at coming together. When someone passes away we gather around the close family members. We reach out and touch them.
Hugs are amazing during times of emotional distress. During times of loss hugs last longer because we want to hold onto the person who is hurting. We want to make it better so we hug them and rub their back. We hold hands. We hold each other.
When the words are lost, when the words are muted by the thoughts and background noise, the love can still be felt through the touch. Touching is so important during this time. Could you imagine gathering to show support but not being allowed to touch? What would we do then?
Love, support, hurt, caring, sympathy, empathy, annoyance, hope and faith can all fill a room without a word spoken. Touch communicates these things when voices can’t. Hugs provide support when words don’t matter anymore.
When you are afraid of saying the wrong thing, when you can’t think of the “perfect words,” try sharing an embrace. You will share your strength with someone who may not have an ounce of energy left.
We probably can’t “make it better.” But we can help provide the basic human need for touch. People won’t remember what you said, but they will feel your embrace even after you’ve gone home.