The Power of a Touch

The Power of a Touch


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

     Leo Buscaglia


I just miss getting a hug.

Softly, hesitantly, in the middle of the conversation, he voiced it.  It wasn’t easy for him to say.  It took a new level of intimacy he wasn’t used to.  He was lonely.  It was a new, and unwelcome, feeling for him.

It had been several months since he had lost his wife.  Her illness had been lingering.  Caring for her had taken a lot out of him.  His new life was more painful than he ever imagined it could be.  As we sat together in the park that afternoon, the warmth of the sun and the splendor of the day were barely noticed by him.   It was hard to enjoy any of it; the loneliness was overwhelming.

I’ve never been this alone.  We did everything together.  Sure, I have some great buddies who’ll go out to breakfast with me.  They and their wives invite me to dinner sometimes.  I’ve had a few days on the golf course.  But much of the time I feel hollow.  Maybe even pitied. 

He lowered his eyes and his voice:

No one thinks about actually touching me, that maybe one of things I miss the most is some physical contact.  Holding hands when we took a walk.  The kiss in the morning.  The kiss good night.  Her hand on my shoulder when we were talking to our grandkids together on the phone.  When I crawl into bed at night and she’s not there beside me.  It’s cold without her warmth there next to me.

I miss getting a hug.

I never realized how significant and reassuring those small gestures are.  Now that I don’t receive them I miss them terribly.  No one ever talks about that.  Trust me; it’s hard for a man to say that.  But what’ve I got to lose?  I’ve lost it all already.

We listened a lot that day.  He needed to talk.  But even more, he needed a hug.  So that’s what we gave him when it was time to leave.  The embrace he needed. 

Thank you, guys.  I needed that more than anything else today.   

It’s the least we could do.  Show him we listened.  Show him we cared. 

Maybe, just maybe, it helped him to feel a little of the warmth of that day’s sun.  Maybe its brilliance could bring him a few moments of solace.  Maybe in that instance he wouldn’t feel as if there was nothing more to lose.


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