Maybe you remember – as many do – those monster family affairs of grandparents, aunts, uncles and assorted others, generally held in some kind of park where the kids could run and the adults could chat, both to their heart’s content.
Everyone ate too much and sometimes tempers sparked, but it was the being together that was important.
Been a long time, hasn’t it?
I had a reunion of a different sort recently with some people I haven’t seen in person in about 16 months.
It was glorious.
One of these people is one of my teammates at Sanctuary Christian Counseling. Andrea Geesaman and I have been working together for years, and, even though we have certainly seen each other since the pandemic began, once we closed Sanctuary on March 13, 2020, we hadn’t actually shared the same space. It was lovely to see her. She’s an amazing woman, a fantastic therapist and a great friend. I had really missed her.
Another one was a young woman who is like a daughter to me. We have been talking almost every week since March of 2020 … virtually. It’s been wonderful to see her that way, but it was absolutely amazing to see her in person and be able to give a long – LONG – awkward hug. I truly missed her.
In fact, hugs are some of the best things about these reunions.
Like many, I’ve missed hugs. Oh, I live with my husband and two sons (more on this later) so I’ve certainly been blessed to have some hugs during the past months. However, it’s the people I often hug who I don’t live with whose hugs have new meaning now. Hugging my friends now is much more meaningful! I didn’t realize how much I missed that.
About those sons … one of them is an essential worker, so I hadn’t hugged him in over a year, either. Fortunately, all of my family is fully vaccinated, so I was able to hug him in March – and that was wonderful. I didn’t want to let go. I know I am not alone in missing hugs from adult kids and – for those lucky enough to have them – grandkids of all ages. There had been many days where I wanted desperately to hug my oldest son and had not done so to protect my immune-compromised family members, so being able to touch him just about a year after the last hug was exciting.
I missed that so much.
It has been wonderful feeling like I can get back to life in a more normal way. Even though life hasn’t been awful this past year … as an introvert married to an introvert it hasn’t actually been all that bad, and there have been things about this pandemic season that I’ve actually enjoyed. But it sure is wonderful to be able to touch others again, and to have those reunions, hugs and all.
Here are some thoughts about these nearly post-COVID experiences:
· Consider writing about your experiences during these COVID times. Writing or journaling can not only help you process things – even traumatic things – but also serve as important reminders and memory aids later. We think we will never forget the lessons and problems of this year, but experience should tell us that’s not true – time and time again people forget past experiences, both good and bad.
· As soon as you feel safe, resume some sort of “normal” life. It may not look like it did before March 2020, but we all need to walk forward into our new normal.
· If you have vaccine doubts, talk to your PCP – do NOT rely on information from non-news sources like social media or biased “news” outlets, whether conservative or liberal. There are plenty of reliable sources that can tell you what the facts really are, not the least of which is the CDC website, plus more moderate news sources which strive to avoid overt bias. Getting the vaccine isn’t only helpful for our community, it can give you a renewed sense of safety and connection as you reunite with your friends.
· Understand seemingly usual experiences may feel very odd when you do them again after some time away. Be gentle with yourself and do what feels comfortable and safe. But do push a bit, especially if it seems that you are pulling back more and more.
Most of all, enjoy the hugs that are sure to come your way this summer!
If you are struggling with your reunions, or there is another way we can help, please contact us. At Sanctuary Christian Counseling we help grieving individuals, distressed kids and teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection.
Sanctuary Christian Counseling
9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4
Shippensburg, PA 17257