A Hug From Dad

By Joseph J. Mazzella • October 30, 2020

It was a cold, dark, November morning several years ago. My alarm clock had just gone off but I was having trouble getting out of bed. My Dad had died a few weeks before and I found myself just going through the motions of life. I felt weighed down by grief, sadness, and depression. I didn’t feel ready to go on without him.

Short, stout, and strong my Dad had been my hero growing up. He had worked so hard all of his life to provide for us. He had a temper and would sometimes yell at me and my brothers, but he also had a kindness and gentle laugh that he would share with us as well. I always knew that he loved me. Still, he had been raised in an old fashioned way and raised us that way too. I couldn’t remember, for instance, ever being hugged by him after I reached a certain age.

After first my Mom and then my Nana passed away my Dad moved into Nana’s home right up the road from where I lived. I was so happy to have him close by. I would often visit him in the afternoons and just talk with him about life. But we still rarely touched and never hugged. Finally his own health began to rapidly fail and within a few months brain cancer had taken him from us. It was a cold, frosty morning when we had his service but I was too cold and numb inside myself to feel it. I remember thinking what I wouldn’t have given for just one last hug from him.

I sighed and got out my bed. I turned on the lights and walked into the hallway. I saw my son, JJ walking down the hall to meet me. Suddenly, he opened his arms and gave me a huge, heart-felt, hug. And just as he did I heard my Dad’s voice deep inside of me say, “Joey, this hug is from me!” I cried and smiled at the same time. In that moment, in the place where heart, mind, and spirit all meet I felt loved. I felt loved by Dad. I felt loved by God. And I knew that I couldn’t give up on life. I still had a lot of things left to do and a lot of love left to share.

Life here can seem very long but in truth it is so very brief. Never miss an opportunity then to love. Never miss a chance to let God love through you. And always keep your heart and your arms open for a hug!

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