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Hugs that can hurt?


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#1 annkd

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:15 AM

I hope this doesn't sound too crazy. My mom passed away last week and I am flying to New York to attend her funeral. My problem is that I am in a screaming flare up. How do I nicely tell someone not to hug me or shake my hands (the arthritis is also in a flare)? There will be over 100 people. I feel silly asking this but it is truly concerning me. My poor husband can't hug me when this happens.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Thanks - I appreciate your input,

Ann

#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:21 AM

Hi Ann,

I'm terribly sorry your mom passed away, and send my condolences to you.

I'm at a loss for how to avoid hugging and hand shaking in situations like this. I would love to hear the suggestions of others.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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#3 Snowbird

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:50 AM

Hi Ann

I'm very sorry to hear about your mom having passed away.

I don't have any answers either I'm afraid...unless you simply try to quietly say the truth in that your arthritis in causing you pain so you simply can't hug and shake right now although you truly appreciate their gestures? Maybe your husband and/or other family members can help run a little interference for you on that?

Hopefully, someone else on the site here can offer you some better suggestions that might work?

Take care.
Sending good wishes your way!

#4 Sheryl

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:59 AM

annkd, I had a cousin that was in a similar situation. She wore pretty gloves on her hands. She would sort of put her hands out in front to ward others a bit away. She then put her hands down at her side or sort of wrapped them around herself or crossed and under her armpits. She did have a few of us run interference for her. She would say a few kind words though most knew of her medical condition so just gave condolences and asked about her health. Then she would explain that she was in tremendous pain and just barely functioning. Everyone seemed to understand. We do need our body guards to protect us but if you get caught and someone starts to give that hug all you can do is say oh please be very careful with this hug. The love of these hugs are very painful just now. Or something similar. So sorry to hear of your painful flair and your Mothers demise.
Strength and Warmth,
Sheryl

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#5 Margaret

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:30 PM

Hi Ann ,

I am sorry to hear about your Mom's death and will keep you in my thoughts.

With sympathy,
Margaret

#6 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:55 PM

Hi Ann,

The way I handle it is to have something in my hands, like an organizer notebook for non-social occasions, something inspirational or spiritual for that sort of occasion, and so on. It makes shaking hands awkward and the moment passes quickly. For hugs, I usually quickly raise my free hand to adjust my glasses or shove my hair out of my face and then simultaneously take a small step backwards. It doesn't seem to offend and I avoid the pain.

A cane or O2 on a wheeled cart make good barriers, as does a really big purse and a purse is especially effective with men. They scare them! ;)

The trick to avoiding unwanted body contact is to send out body language that will unconsciously convince people they don't really want to touch you after all. Anytime one leans toward or reaches out in the direction of another, it's construed as 'welcoming'. I always smile with my eyes and start saying the things that move the emphasis from me to the other person - that way they usually don't notice the 'please don't handle me or come any closer' signal you are sending. You know, things like: "I'm so glad to see you. You know Mom talked about you a lot. You must miss her dreadfully."

I am so sorry about your mother's death. You have my heartfelt sympathy and best wishes,
Jeannie McClelland
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#7 erika

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:10 PM

Ann,

a rose in the hand might do the work. You can later put it in the grave. The problem with the people who want to shake hands or hug after the funeral remains. Maybe you can wrap your right hand in bandages to avoid explanations. And as Jeannie sugested a purse in left hand. Develop a strategy! No hands free.
Condolences and distant hugs.

Erika

#8 annkd

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 04:21 AM

Thank you all for your suggestions. My husband suggested I bring my "walking canes" - the ones for both hands that I use when my neuropathy is particularly bad. I was concerned about bringing them on the plane but I think I'll consider this. Thank you for your kind words - my mom was a remarkable woman with a heart of gold.I will miss her terribly. -Ann

#9 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 06:35 AM

Hello Ann

I am so sorry about your mother. Using the canes sounds a good idea because that will keep people at bay for sure. I hope it goes as well as these things can and that there is a real celebration of your mother's life.

Take care.
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#10 jefa

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 06:38 AM

Ann, so sorry about your mother. You have received some very good suggestions here - Sheryl, yours are particularly good. Very sensitive. While the body language clues work really well in normal situations, in an atmosphere of mutual grieving and offering of condolences it becomes important not to risk making the proposed hugger feel like their affections are unwelcome.

As for the sticks on the plane, they have been very helpful in letting everyone know I might need an extra bit of assistance. Good luck and soft virtual hugs - the kind that never hurt.

Perhaps you can ask your doctor for a stronger painreliever for that day.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

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#11 Deb1million

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 09:19 AM

Ann, Im so sorry to hear about your mum.
You have had some good suggestions. At my mums funeral in 2005, my husband gently shielded me from hugs as I explained to family and friends that my arms were very sore. Nobody felt uneasy and I said that their warmth was appreciated.

I usually keep my hands gently clasped in front of me to avoid handshakes, and just smile and say I have a type of arthritis. Its never caused a problem.
The suggestions to hold something in your hands are all very good. Personally, I can't grip a cane, so havent tried that.

After a while, I hope you can freely talk about your mum with your family and freinds. I find it a great help to keep my mums memory alive. Things will get easier for you, but you could do without a massive flare up right now. (maybe made worse by the bereavement, as usually happens with extreme stress). Take care.

I wish you well for the service, and the journey.

#12 Sweet

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 01:02 PM

Hi Ann,
I'm so sorry for your loss. I've lost both parents, I remember how that made me feel. :flowers:

As far as the other thing, having someone run interference sounds like the best bet, but if you get stuck I'd say something like "I'd love to hug you, but my arthritis is in such a flare, just to touch me hurts". :emoticon-hug: did that hurt? hehehe
Much love to you.
Warm and gentle hugs,

Pamela
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#13 enjoytheride

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 03:20 PM

I'm so sorry that you lost you mother. Maybe the minister could put in a word for you at the service explaining about the pain- just so people know.
I really like the cane or walker idea as I know if saw that I would tend to be very careful of the person.

#14 betty32506

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 03:38 AM

I'm sorry for your loss. These times can be trying.

I use the something in the hand trick. I always hold it in my right hand and extend my left. People tend to grasp the left handed shake differently. Some times I would hold the item with both hands. This also seems to cut down on the vigor of a hug. I have some problems with my hands and I played the organ. If someone grabs my hand it greatly effects my playing. Since I can no longer play I use variations of these techniques.
Betty

#15 janey

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:19 AM

Ann,
I'd like to join the others in sending my condolences. You are in my thoughts. You have received some great suggestions about the hug/hand prevention. I personally like the idea of a rose or your mother's favorite flower.

Here is a gentle and comforting hand on the back.
Janey Willis
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#16 annkd

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:35 AM

I want to thank you all again for such a lovely outpouring of support and suggestions. I have decided to take my cane (not stick canes for my legs) and my gloves that I wear most of the time and between that and my "support gang" I should do all right. I am looking forward to being with my family (not looking forward to the long flight!). This is such a wonderful forum - I appreciate you all. Big and gentle hugs, Ann

#17 debonair susie

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:37 AM

Ann, may I offer my sympathy for the loss of your mom. May your very special memories of her sustain you at this time.

As for guarding yourself from the well-intentioned hugs of friends/family, you've heard from those with experience, as well as others, with great suggestions!

Whether in flare or not, I also have this trouble...I love hugs, too :crying:

At any rate, it's difficult and if only we could wear those spongy suits when these time occur.

Take care of yourself and here's hoping your flare ends quickly.
Special Hugs,

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#18 Lynnie

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 01:10 PM

Hi firstly I send you my heartfelt sympathy on the sad loss of your mum, mine died a while back. I too had the problem you face. I came up with the solution to avoid crying out of discomfort instead of my grief by doing the following:

I spoke with the vicar who took Mum's service and I asked if after he had done the service to make an announcement to those present that due to my illness could they please not try to hug or handle me to much as I didn't want them to feel awkward or uncomfortable at me pulling away from them and giving the wrong impression. Everyone was wonderful and the day went well. They all relaxed about me and showed their care by just a simple tender little stroke to my arm as they left. I do hope that this helps at a difficult time

hugs+sympathy to you

Lynn x

#19 warmheart

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 08:20 AM

Ann,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Hopefully things will go smoothly at the funeral.

You have gotten some really good suggestions here; Jeannie, I'm convinced that you're a social genius. You and Sheryl should replace Ann Landers.

Hugs,

warmheart