From Nadia Colburn’s 31+ Day Meditation and Writing Course, Day 14
Prompts: GRASS CHILD OLD MOUTHS DEATH MOMENT
My hands are old. I remember how smooth the skin was when I was a child, but now I have my grandmother’s hands.
She’s under the grass now, my grandmother, and all the rest of those who raised me. Her generation and even that of my father, they all lie under the grass.
And as I watch the wrinkles grow deeper on my hands, I feel death’s sneaky approach. From expecting to have years ahead, to realizing it could be any moment. From having hands with silky skin, vibrant and supple, to these hands that have held so much. Hands wrinkled with the evidence that I’ve used them for decades.
I remember holding my father’s hand. Or more to the point, him holding mine. My friend’s father had died, and we sat together in the church during the funeral. My mom was dead by then. My dad had become a constant companion, even staying with my husband and me in our Maryland home every winter.
And I remember reaching over and taking his hand that day, as I listened to another talk of how saddened she was by her father’s death. I remember being grateful that I still had mine, that I could reach over to that strong man next to me. That I could feel his hand engulf mine with love, tenderness, and strength. And I was aware, in that moment, that it was one I would never forget.
I was right. I remembered it as I held his wrinkled, feeble hand when he died.
My husband’s hand was the largest I had ever seen. So many who met him agreed. He had huge paws that my hand disappeared into his – so often. Everywhere. Sitting next to each other, walking side by side, driving in the car together, hands clasped across the car’s console. I don’t recall seeing wrinkles on his hands, not even at the end, when he was dying. At 62, his hands were still strong and the skin rough, but even then, holding his hand for hours, I just recall their strength, not their age. I wonder why?
Wrinkled hands signify so much. Life lived, children born, grandchildren held. All the hands who held mine as a child, all the boys who held mine as a teen, all those loved ones whose hands I clung to desperately trying to keep them on this side of the grass, as they took their last breaths.
My hands held them all. Each wrinkle evidence of having lived.