Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Hug practice

We've all been in a stretch of tough news. Often, recently, I've learned of sad things; all of you reading have learned of sad things. We share these -- phone calls, in-person visits, online postings, e-mails -- and the people we're close to do what they can to help us process the news.

Take my learning about Erin's death. Rumors had gotten online back on Friday, the day she died; I heard without corroboration on Saturday; I got it confirmed Sunday while visiting my folks, with me at a computer around a corner from the family room where Mom and Dad were watching NCAA basketball.

(An aside: As I wrote that, the radio started playing Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujiah." I paused a moment.)

So. My parents were there, and so before I wrote my post about Erin, I went over to the family room and spoke with them. We commiserated, then hugged. It was part of how I processed the news.

Now, I'm a single person, living by myself: no pets, either. I connect to most all of you through computers. We connect through words. At least we're connecting -- I'm not the guy Tom Waits sings about in "What's He Building?" ("He has no dog, and he has no friends, and his lawn is dying...And what's with all those packages he sends?...") -- but this is a time that makes me feel that the words could use some, I guess you could say supplemental connecting.

I'm not a religious person. I'm also not a lighting-the-candles person. Thoughts and words are among my ways of helping others. Sometimes I want more ways.

A little earlier this morning, before I started writing this entry, I heard news of someone's pet having trouble. Next thing I knew, I was imagining cuddling a pet. Which I do, when I'm around pets who like being cuddled. I'm good at that. I wanted to do that then.

I want to hug a bunch of you right now. Be like the guy in the video for the Dave Matthews Band's "Everyday" who's hugging everybody. (The video was made soon after 9/11, another time when a lot of us needed hugging.) I even kind of want to mime hugging you, as silly as that may look. Still, I'll do it, and imagine I'm doing hug practice. Silly but sincere: it's a skill of mine.

So. This is another entry that kind of resists a proper ending. Why not end it this way?:

I'm thinking of all of you. And I want you all of you to start getting better news. Or at least more hugs.

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