Barbara Taylor - UK
A hug: the act of holding someone tightly in one’s arms, an all-enveloping act of comfort, love, affection, joy, congratulations and celebration, which makes you feel safe, wanted and alive. We hug family and friends, colleagues, lovers and even strangers. When lockdown first hit, we were exhorted to keep a distance from everyone except those we lived with. We were surrounded by those little figures on posters, pavements, shop floors and windows, encouraging us to keep 2 metres away from others. In those early days we panicked if others got too close, the advice seemed fine. We soon realised that the comfort we get from physical touch, something we =need most in these uncertain circumstances, was absent. We all suffered but those suffering the most were those living alone, apart from their loved ones, in hospital and in care homes, resulting in loneliness, sadness, misery and mental health problems. One of those things we had taken so much for granted that we didn’t even think about it, was missing. It sometimes felt as if we were surrounded by a brick wall, and on that wall was a missing poster…. We were all missing a hug.