it took my mother’s dementia diagnosis for me to hug my father. throughout my 46 1/2 years on this planet, i never hugged him. i never really knew how. i know that sounds bizarre. how do you not know how to hug your father?
my dad is still a strikingly good looking man. 6 feet 2 inches. 180 pounds of muscle. you can see my dad running in his south jersey suburb. doing push ups before my mother wakes up in the morning. when he can convince my mother to sit in the lobby of the local YMCA, he weight trains: machines, free weights. running on the treadmill on an incline.
when my mother was discharged from her first hospital stay last summer, my dad cried. my father who has only cried when his own mother passed away, was crying right in front of me and my husband in their 2 door car garage. so i decided to hug my father. to my surprise, he let me.
this started a string of monthly hugs. i make my monthly weekend drive to see my mom. i wrap both my arms around my dad’s waist and squeeze. he doesn’t smile. but he doesn’t stop me either.