Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dad Hugs

We need four hugs a day for survival. 
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. 
We need 12 hugs a day for growth.

-- Virginia Satir, family therapist 

On March 9, I went to visit with my Dad who lives in a memory care community at The Legacy at English Station. While he doesn't remember much these days, he always knows when one of his four girls come to visit and is always happy to see us. That Monday morning I found him at breakfast and afterwards we marched around the courtyard, while he called out "hup, two, three, four" in military cadence.  He then gave me an Army salute in front of the flag pole.

I didn't stay long, promising to come see him as soon as I got back from our trip to Mexico.

My Dad, on March 9, 2020

Two days later, the facility was closed to all visitors, rightfully to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We talked on the phone and even Facetimed once or twice, but I knew Dad was missing the hugs he so liked to give and so needed to receive.

Fast forward 98 days. On Monday, June 15, I went to visit my Dad and give him a hug. Granted, it was through a modified clear plastic shower curtain. The Legacy had set up a hugging station and was scheduling hugging sessions. I met sisters Sherry and Julie there. We signed in; filled out short medical questionnaires; had our temperatures taken and then were escorted back to the corner of the common room where we found our Dad, patiently waiting for his hugs.

One by one, we slipped our arms into plastic sleeves and then wrapped our arms around Dad, giving -- and receiving -- great big bear hugs.

Was it as good as a skin-to-skin hug? No, but it was enough.