Well, here we all are in our new reality in the US. Kids are going to school at home on the internet, parents are being teachers and working from home, and social distancing is the new practice. Nurses are exhausted, groups cannot be more than 10 people, and many of us adults have curfews. Restaurants are take out only, businesses have closed "indefinitely", and we are avoiding an unseen thriving enemy. Yes folks, this just scrapes the surface of what is going on.
In the midst of all of this there are somethings that remain the same: anniversaries, births, birthdays, holidays, family dinners, special moments together, proposals, and more. With the social distancing it seems that our sense of touch is going unmet.
Remember those "old" psychology studies about some animal that was deprived of touch vs the same animal that at least had something soft to "cuddle" with? (If not google research on touch or touch deprevation or something of that nature.) With the 6' rule in place now for social distancing, things like hugs, kisses, pats on the back, handshakes, interlocked arms, holding hands, and the majority of touch related actions are disappearing or at least being discouraged.
Now, I do not have any kind of cure for this, obviously. But I can do what I am considering my small part. I am sending out tangible hugs. Well, okay, maybe not actually hugs per say, but tangible items for hugging. It is my goal to send out at least one special item per day to someone who needs it. Maybe they do not know or do not want to admit that they need it, but your or I know that they do.
Tomorrow I am sending out the first item that I made today. (Well, my son designed it and I did the rest.) It is for his Great-Grandfather who is 95, soon to be 96, in a locked down assisted living home. His Great-Grandfather Smith Sr just moved out of Grandfather Smith Jr's house at the beginning of this month, March 2020. Everyone was excited that he would be around other Veterans, in his own space, with the possibility of girlfriends, yet nursing staff would be available 24/7 "just in case." Less than 3 weeks later he is being served all of his meals in his small "studio apartment", visitors to the facility are banned, and social distancing is being enforced. So, for a thriving man who has limited eye-sight and hearing, mild onset dementia, but yet is a fully functioning, semi-social "grinch" with the heart that has grown over the years, the lack of interaction and touch will now take its course. The XL-large button landline phone just rings and messages are usually not retrieved. To me, this is sad.
So tomorrow we are going to mail him a stuffed superhero bear embroidered with a special message on his tummy and a little note. It is not a lot. It was not expensive. It is probably "not practical". But it is a 16" bear that is so soft and huggable. It is something that has meaning and love in every stitch. It is a heartfelt message. It is our love in a tangible form that can be a bright spot in Great-Grandfather Smith Sr's day. Perhaps the superhero bear will listen to the loneliness, catch tears, enjoy dreams, and provide touch. I do not know, but I am going to try.
Want to join me in a small effort? Do you want to send a hug? I am going to put together a few options for anyone who wants to participate. I have some animals that I have multiples of and some that are discontinued. I am going to offer these up for my costs. Sometimes I will include shipping fees, and sometimes I will cover them. Sometimes I will cover the cost entirely. If you can participate, please take me up on the offer. If you want to participate but do not have the means, send me a message. If you are capable feel free to send any animal and not just the discounted ones.
Here are some ideas of people who may benefit, and feel free to help me add to this list:
- Children with birthdays
- People who have lost loved ones
- Isolated people
Please stay tuned for the special links, videos, and pictures to come. Please also post your thoughts, pictures, and videos in response. As of tomorrow communications about this personal project will be available on my website and/or Facebook.
Thank you for joining me in this effort.