To listen to this post in French, click below
Murray recalls his stern upbringing and how displays of affection were not a common thing in his family (an understatement)
I was brought up in a stern Scots family. I have no memory of either grandmother hugging me. My mother certainly didn’t hug me. Neither did my father, and if I had hugged him he would have decked me.
and how he appreciated it when people showed their affection and concern after the passing away of his wife
Then I was sad. All the hugs and statements of love I received during Minnie Mae’s sickness and after her death were wonderful. I was a human being receiving direct comfort and caring. It was great. I wanted to give and get all the affection possible. It helped enormously, but I remembered all the years of not hearing and not saying ”I love you,” all the decades of never giving or receiving hugs
Of course, this brought me back to the sort of family we were and made me think of the photo above, one that I scanned quite a while ago, thinking that it was so typical of my parents.
When I look back, I cannot say that my parents were not loving parents, they loved me and my brother, we knew it, and they certainly loved each other. But we didn’t say that we love each other, and there was not much hugging going on at home.
As a child, I remember asking my mother many a time: Mum, do you love me? Or maybe it was more like: You love me, don’t you? And she would never say that she did, she would say something like: Of course silly, you are my daughter!
And somehow, when my daughter was little, I too felt quite unable to display affection, unlike my husband who knew how to say that he loved us, and was a great hugger. When he died, I know that my daughter missed those hugs so much, and I couldn’t give them.
As I grow older, I am learning to say I love you and like Donald Murray who ends his article with:
Put the paper down and hug someone. Right now. Say ”I love you” to a friend or stranger. We all need a celebration of caring in a world full of distance and fear
I’ll say: turn off you computer, call a friend or family and tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you.
This photo was taken in our garden in Deauville in the 50s, my father reading in the shade of a tree, while my mother was sunbathing.