Hands

 

My mother had beautiful hands. Images of them are woven through my childhood memories. Even then I noticed them. Elegantly shaped and graceful, they seemed to me like birds moving through the air.

I remember her swimming, and then I thought they were like fish; strong and supple – agile. They were capable hands. Not just pretty to look at, but useful: cooking or cleaning, gardening, creating…

She painted faces on rocks and put them under the apple tree and in the flower beds to make people smile. She taught me to hold the broom with authority and sweep like I meant it. She combed my hair with her fingers and massaged my scalp. I remember her hands resting easily on the steering wheel; the pressure of her palm turning the wheel and her fingers out straight, floating in the air. Self-assured, unafraid.

But most of the time her hands appeared in continuous motion, busy with whatever needed to be done. They were dependable.

To me, the effortless grace of her hands made the work seem light. But I’m grown now and I know it wasn’t always. I know it was hard and I know she wasn’t perfect, that she faltered at times like anyone else. I also know what she sacrificed for me. I know the work her hands did for me. To make my work lighter, to give me opportunities, to offer me happiness.

When I needed them most, her hands were soothing. Hers would find mine and hold it. There was no need for words. Under the table at lunch, she’d squeeze mine and I’d know she loved me. She understood. There was comfort and relief and rest in her hands. I believe that she has those things in God’s hands now. Comfort and relief. And rest.

I miss her. I’ll remember her hands and what they taught me. I’ll remember their beauty and fearlessness. I’ll remember their love.

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4 Comments

  1. Wendi said,

    February 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    J, those are beautiful things to remember.

  2. flakyartist said,

    February 16, 2010 at 3:42 am

    I’m thankful for them. This is what I read at the funeral. It may seem odd, but her hands always held a fascination for me when I was young. They epitomized her; lissome and lovely.

  3. Joie said,

    February 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    This made me cry and smile at her funeral. Thank you for sharing your words again. Beautifully captured.

  4. flakyartist said,

    March 3, 2010 at 4:49 am

    You’re all so sweet – you’ll have me crying again! Thank you.


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