Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Hands of Time

hands that scraped an apple, and mashed a banana, for me to eat when I was sick in bed

hands that brought me that treasured round tin full of wonderful and magical buttons

hands that brought me a glass of grape or apple juice

hands that cleaned up after me each time I was sick, (special mention to the barefeet that walked in it sometimes too!)

hands that selected my new Easter clothes

hands that helped me on and off the busses and trains as we traveled the country

hands that held mine while crossing the street on the way to church each Sunday

hands that cooked some of my favorite foods, beef stew, pot roast, country style spareribs

hands that cared for others for over 15 years as an aide in the hospital, then 3 years in a home and school for developmentally disabled individuals

hands that made the tiniest precisely placed stitches, in mending and quilting

hands that did tole painting, creating special keepsakes

hands that worked word search after word search puzzle

hands so strong that when she held yours, she could cut off the circulation, and you better not have on a ring

hands which are now spotted with age
frail, and weak
slow moving and tremble
hands that wipe her nose and mouth, sometimes
hands that feebly point to her bear buddy, or
the picture of her and daddy
hands that if she gets mad,
will muster up enough strength to grap hold
 of my wrist or clothing
hands that arrange the bead necklaces
on her bear buddy
or look slowly through her cards and photos
hands that will randomly and for no
reason, tear up such items too

hands that patted my cheek ever gently in an unspoken gesture of love


  1. You bring tears to my eyes - so touching. I care for my 93 year old father, and I too often think of things those hands have done. I can so easily identify with you in previous posts. My husband and I have to take turns going to church, and unless a person is in that situation they don't really understand. Going anywhere for anything is such a challenge, and I'm wondering even about being outside for gardening this summer. For us it's been 5 years, gradually getting more intense. Knowing you are doing the right thing and depending on the Lord for strength is the only way you can get through. Keep on keeping on; may God bless you.

  2. Hi, Donna,

    Thank you for this poignant post. The picture - the words - all of it is beautiful. And sad. Such a mixture of beautiful and sad, isn't it? That's how caregiving for our mothers is, I think.

    May the rest of your weekend be peaceful and refreshing.

  3. Those were beautiful words about your mom
    and her hardworking hands. As a keepsake, trace your mother's hands and write those words inside the outline. Someone I knew did this, and it was a wonderful blessing to them to have the shape of her hands with all those remembrances.
    I've done it with my mom's hands.
    I traced my son's big hands and put words about my dad inside. He went to be with the Lord 30 years ago. God bless you, Donna~ Jackie

  4. As "simply a daughter" said Donna beautiful and sad. I have a lump in my throat as it is Mothers day here and my mother died on 4th July 1984. My hands are her hands so I look at them every day and remember all the things you have talked about here . Thank you for sharing ........

  5. Thank you all for your posts. My husband and I were discussing how there is always someone else who's caregiving experience or even memories, parallel that of our own. I wrote somewhere that this is a club or soriety with many members, parent caregivers. I started writing in 2006 because I had no one to talk to at that time. Now it has gone to where it isn't just about helping me, but touching other's lives, it is not that I like making people cry, but we share the same tears. If I could write funny and uplifting posts, like my dear friend Donna, otherwise known as New Yawker, I would do so...but I don't have those feelings in me either, so I can only write with the emotions that I feel. Thanks for sharing these things with me.

  6. This is such a sweet and sad post about your mom....

  7. Your beautiful post brought tears to my eyes. Very touching. My mom passed away last October after a long journey with Alzheimer's. I was privileged to be her caregiver in her last year. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. It crossed my mind many times to take a picture of her hands. I never did because I thought it might make me too sad. Now I kind of wish I had. You expressed what your mother's hands have done during her lifetime so eloquently.

  8. My mother would probably cut off her hands if she could. She wears gloves almost all the time. She hates her hands. I show her a framed photo I have of her hands, but she doesn't buy it. I wrote a whole blog about her obsession with gloves.

  9. Dolores: I am finding that some of these posts are the feelings that I have never been able to express through the years because I didn't know how to. We did not grow up in a family that expressed feelings or communicate, so not through the writing, these feelings are coming out, and unfortunately many of them are bitter sweet at this ppoint in time.

    Happy@Home: I am sorry to hear your mom has passed. I don't know exactly what gave me the idea to take a picture of her hands and write about the thens and nows, it is just one of those ideas that I get and it pretty much creates itself, and I know when it is a powerful one too, because of how others respond to it.

    Why do you think your mom does not like her hands? I will have to read your blog about the gloves. My mom has always taken good care of her hands and feet, until she just couldn't do it anymore, and I took over the task. I think she would not like their actual appearance at this point because of the age and other factors, but still, considering she will soon be 96, her skin is soft, and her nails are kept manicured, that is what she would do if she could. Did your mom do some type of work with her hands that she didn't like or something, like her hands remind her of something unpleasant therefore she hates them?