I've been getting a lot more hugs lately. It's good, and I like it very much, but it's also a physical thing I can point to that is a distinct change.
When I was younger (read - high school and college, and even some after college) I was a hugging machine. I loved hugging people, and I preferred to give big, healthy hugs to make sure that the people I was hugging knew that I meant it. Slowly, as I matured (??) this wore off, and I found myself more likely to shoulder-and-air hug people, a style I abhorred. Honestly, I wish I knew why this change occurred. I don't, and that level of introspection isn't really needed these days, so...well...whatever.
Anyway, I'm getting a lot of really good hugs now.
When I think about the hugs, the one that stands out the most is the hug I gave my mother, and my mother gave me, when she and Dad arrived at the house on that horrible day. Mom has fought this with us every step of the way, every day. Connor was her oldest grandchild, and she lavished him with everything he needed until we had to tell her to stop. Not because we wanted her to stop, but because she would just buy things, things that insurance should have been paying for, if we hadn't put our feet down. She respected that, and I know that the delays and runarounds we got irritated her as much as they did us.
Despite all the hugs I had that day, I remember this one because we hugged each other the exact same way. One hand covering the other's neck, the other wrapping the rest of the body close in. It was protective - as if one of us could actually shield the other from the tornado of pain that was whipping through our world. Cover your neck, protect your torso. Very instinctual.
Calling my mother, having her answer the phone with a cheery, "Good morning!" only to blurt out, "No, Mom, no. Connor's died." was horrific. Of course, I did that a lot that day, but telling my mom was harder even then telling his brothers. They may not understand, but she did. She understood every word, and they broke her. She can be put back together, but like Lee's and my brokenness, it's a difficult, arduous puzzle. I don't know how long it will take. I know that many, many people are putting themselves back together in a similar way - all the grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, teachers - loved ones who loved him. But I feel my mom's more because of our connection.