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How to get by without a hug

Updating Sis' mantra in the age of no hugs:

So all of you who know Sis knows she was famous for her hugs. In fact, she was her church's official hugger a role she took seriously! She knew how much her hugs meant when one older woman said she came to church because that was the only place she would get a hug.


My mom, Ella “Sis” Angus, was born in 1918, the year that the Spanish Flu pandemic began. She died in 2020, the year of another pandemic. We were to have the celebration of her remarkable life on March 21st, but we postponed the gathering due to concerns over COVID-19.

Sis was all about the magic that happens when we gather and come together as friends and family. She passed on February 25th, before COVID-19 affected our ability to connect with one another.


She lived her life by a 5-word mantra: Hug. Smile. Walk. Talk. Help. In these days of growing uncertainty, I’ve adapted her advice:


Hug (yourself).

Walk (outside).

Talk (on the telephone).

Smile (even if you’re alone).

Help (your neighbours who may need assistance during this exceptional time).

My mom lived the last months of her life in a hospital transition unit while waiting for a long-term care bed. She made friends with her hospital roommates, staff and table mates. I‘m thinking about all those people, who are on the “inside” and on the “front lines” at this time. Please appreciate that people who have lived a long time have been through hardships before. Maybe they can help all of us through our current situation and learn to appreciate every day a little more.

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