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Dear COVID-19, I Need a Hug

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I have not experienced physical touch in a year. My last hug was March 13, 2020 when I had my final lunch with my friend.

Weekly, I Zoom with one of my best friends. We used to meet every Thursday morning for my eggs and grits and her tea. Now that we cannot meet, we have had to settle for Zoom calls.

On our last call we shared an air hug. That is when I broke down and admitted my battery is on empty. My warning light is on and I am dangerously close to stalling out. I need a hug and bad. We longed for the day when we are both vaccinated. She has had her first shot and I am waiting for category 1c to come up. Then six weeks from that we should get the clear for a short hug. I cannot wait.

The pandemic has really done a number on my mental health and wellbeing. I have lost sleep, had crying spells, experienced panic attacks and lived with bouts of depression all because I am trapped in isolation.

Last summer on my birthday my daughter and granddaughter (8 years old) came by to drop off my birthday gift. My granddaughter hopped out of the car and ran up and handed me my gift. We stood looking at each other for a moment and then she turned and walked back to the car with her head down. My daughter later told me that my granddaughter said “Grandma CoCo did not hug me because of corona, right?” Hearing that just broke my heart. God knows I miss hugging my grandkids.

This is hurting all of us.

I do work to stay connected to others. I make phone calls. Periodic Zoom calls. Running my support groups and keeping up with my meetings and doctors’ appointments.

I have been on SS Disability for the past 10 years. I do run some support groups and go to treatment but other than that I have had no reason to leave my home before COVID–19 either. But, before the pandemic I made the conscious decision to get dressed and leave my home every day. Even if that meant watching a movie alone or catching a meal at my favorite restaurant by myself. It was for my mental health that I had interactions with others, it kept me stable.

In the past year all of that has changed. I go nowhere due to fear of the virus.

I have been asked on a few occasions to join a friend for a walk or a picnic but the thought of it feels too risky. I fear catching the virus knowing that it may very well kill me since I am in the high risk for negative outcome category.

This year has been long and hard, and I am not sure how much more of this I can take. I have got to have more human contact and soon.

I know we are not out of the woods by a long shot. I just hope I am not irreparably emotionally harmed by all of this and will be able to go back to some semblance of normalcy by summer.

Living through COVID–19 has been an experience like none other. The good news is we can come out on the other side if we all stick together as a nation and stay focused on our goal.

Good health for everyone.

Look forward to filling my hug battery very soon. You might just get a hug from me. The end is in sight.


Lead image courtesy of Getty Images

Originally published: March 5, 2021
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