A couple of hours after her second COVID shot, my wife found an odd sensation rolling across her.

“I didn’t expect to feel so differently after the second shot; like a sense of calm coming over me,” she said.

With the expanding percentage of vaccine shots in arms, life also is changing between our ears.

“Not that I feel immune or anything, but having the vaccine reduced some of my anxiousness.”

Getting the vaccine is a personal decision — a decision not to be debated in this space. But I will say the other side — or getting the vaccination — does feel different.

If you asked me what I missed most over the past year, I could sum it up in two words: hugs and handshakes.

Human touch is so essential to humans. To deny ourselves the intimacy of coming into physical contact with others weighed heavily on me last year. The currency of hugs and handshakes will always outweigh a fist bump or elbow tap.

Recently I shared a hug with a community friend visiting my office.

We’ve known each other for many years and work together on behalf of the community. My friend is a beautiful soul and a friendship I cherish.

Our minds instinctively remembered how we’ve always shared a hug after seeing each other — but this time, we hesitated. But after discovering we both carried the first shot, we jumped — or leaned in — toward each other.

“You know,” she said. “That is the first hug I’ve shared with almost anyone in nearly a year.”

Humans need human contact. In our minds, hearts and souls, the magic of a caring touch is powerful. Getting back to hugs and handshakes is going to be a big deal for all of us.

To me, one of the most compelling photos of 2020 showed two people attempting to share a comforting, warm touch through a cool pane of glass. If I recall correctly, the picture includes an elderly parent in a care center with an adult child standing outside the building and looking in.

No doubt this same sort of image was somewhat replicated millions of times worldwide — be it children and parents, family members in a hospital or even two strangers offering hope to one another on the street. Human touch is a universal currency we can all value.

For me, the past year’s circumstances limited my wife and me from seeing and hugging our adult children. Both living out of town, the personal calculation proved too steep — at least in our eyes. Never did I need a hug so badly from them as during the past year.

Guess what is on the agenda for the next several months: Hitting the road and getting those long-overdue hugs on the other end. My wife and I will continue to practice safety measures. But if we’ve learned anything in the past year, time is fleeting. And after last year, do I ever need a hug.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com.

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(2) comments

Mary Gillespie

Oh, yes!!! I've missed hugs most, too.

How comforting it was to gather for a funeral last week and exchange hugs.

Diane Turski

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