The Power of a Hug

Diana - Anchorage, Alaska
Entered on June 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, family, love

I believe in the power of a hug. A hug, so simple and modest they can be exchanged by strangers as well as family, but they are without a doubt truly powerful. Hugs can make a difference; they can make an impact.

I remember when I was 9, watching my little brother, Kris, die from cancer. I remember what it felt like holding him in my arms with my mom as he faded from this world to the next. There was comfort in the hugs, in the touch of another person. I got a lot of hugs at that time in my life, everyone seeking a way to comfort a grieving child. However, I didn’t realize then how much power was in a hug.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager and was able to watch the only home video that had my family as a whole in it. I couldn’t have been more than six in that movie, which would have made Kris about five. I didn’t remember much of that day at all, after all who remembers an ordinary day at six when they’re 13? Yet that video changed how I looked at simple hugs. There I was sitting on the front steps of our old house in the middle of a beautiful summer day. My little brother came down and with his goofy smile, sat next to me and tried to hug me. I pushed him away and told him ”Leave me alone!” He was hurt; you could see the pain in his eyes and the lack of understanding. That day, watching the movie for the first time, I just sobbed. What wouldn’t I have given in that moment to have just one more hug from him?

I know I had hugs before that summer day. I know I had many hugs from him later, before he was diagnosed with cancer and before he died. However, that one hug I didn’t get remains an important part of my life. Missing it made me a hugger. I learned that hugs matter and you never know when one hug will change a life. I’ve hugged old friends, new friends, people in love and people in pain. I’ve hugged a grieving mother that I met by chance in an elevator, moments after learning her child died in war.

Sometimes there is an outpouring of emotion with a hug; sometimes there is nothing other than good will and friendship. I don’t believe that matters, I will always believe there is power in a hug.