From the start, Austin gave great hugs. He wrapped his arms around your neck and squeezed..sometimes so hard you had to tell him to stop! We called him our "Little Blair Bear" partly because of his great, big bear hugs.
Through the years, I was amazed that his hugs didn't stop. As a 14 year old teenager, I expected them to. But he hugged Tim and me daily - and at least weekly, he hugged his little brother. He never left either of his Mamaw's without hugging them too. And, I guess, he hugged others, so I've been told. It was kind of the thing he left us all with.
Doug said at his funeral, "Pay it forward. Pass it on..hug someone." And it caught on. Tim & I never received more hugs in our lives than we did that week! I still get hugs from some people every time I see them and they say "this is from Austin."
Many of Austin's friends on Myspace became my "friends" and I noticed their status or name would be changed to "RIP Austin - Hug Somebody." So many of them commented to me that they've been hugging a different person every day for Austin. I had one of my best friends say she hugged people so much the week Austin passed she thought they were going to file harassment charges! ..Austin would've got a kick out of that.
I've said before, I'd give anything for one of his hugs but I realized today that he is still sending them to me. I am amazed how when I need it most, someone comes into my day and gives me a hug. And the good ones too...where they grab on and hold you for more than just a second. Where you can feel them lifting you up with their prayers and comfort.
Noah has now taken that spot and is giving the biggest, best hugs ever. And yes, he squeezes a bit too hard at times and has to be reminded too!
What a wonderful legacy to leave behind...hugs. Doesn't matter what kind of day you've had, a hug can cure what ails you. It is the best medicine out there. I've never met one I didn't like.
If you knew Austin, or are learning about him through this blog....carry on his legacy. Hug Somebody for him.