Friday, January 10, 2020

My mother's hands.

These hands are not more like.- HAM I.ii
I have my mother’s hands. Long, thin fingers, veins close to the surface, standing out like bluish vines beneath the skin.

When I was a child, I was fascinated by these veins, standing out like inverted rivers on a relief map. I would poke at them to see how would divert beneath my touch. “Stop that,” she would say. My own children have done the same to my hands, and I say, "Stop that.”

Her final days, her hands could not be more different from each other. Her right hand, which had stopped obeying commands from her brain a month ago, lay still, devoid of muscular connection or attention. It was a soft and flat. skin rounded and smooth, like glass. Useless.

Her left still lived, wiry, boney. Her face had gone slack, emaciated, her left hand our best indicator of how she felt. She would raise her left arm, hand outstretched, to say, “I’m here. You’re here. We are together.” She would reach, grasp for attention. To hold hands. To say hello.

Or so we thought. Perhaps she was visioning, greeting those she thought she was seeing. We cannot know.

She would also clench her left fist, her arm in a stiff left angle. We took this to mean she was in pain, and we would provide medication. I like to think we were easing her suffering, and not merely depriving her of communication. She spoke with her left hand.

My mother died last night. She was washed and dressed, her cold hands placed across each other. They were alike again, and just like mine.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved Virginia. In a short time she captured my heart and my love. It was apparent from my first meeting of her she was a special lady. Quiet, calm, observant, and a bit stoic at first glance, her eyes told a completely different story. One look in her eyes and I could feel the depths of her loving, giving, and kind spirit. When she was with dad her joy was written in those same eyes, the happiness and contentment of having their time together at last. I pray that your grief does not weigh to heavy or last too long. I pray that the many happy memories you share with Virginia, your mom, shine through quickly. God bless you, your family, and the extended community Virginia touched. Rest In Peace sweet lady. You will be missed.

  2. So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. David I am terribly sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I will keep you and your bothers and your families all in my thoughts and prayers. If there is a public service please let us know as we’d like to attend if possible.