These hands aren’t girlish pink and plump, but the palms are smooth and soft. Not ancient hands, but aging hands. No arthritic swellings or broken joints. No aches when typing, chopping, or loading firewood. They are my able and willing friends, hands to thank and trust.
As babes, these hands plucked warm brown eggs from Grandma’s hen house and carried the basket safely to the kitchen. They pulled the warm soft udders of Grandpa’s sway-backed cow, stroking and coaxing the teats the way he taught.
These hands planted my first garden with Dad when I was twelve. They weeded radishes and green beans in a tiny backyard plot.
These hands belonged to the teenage girl who cooked Dad’s last meal. After he died, they held my dog Amigo tight.
These hands sought young love in hopeless lonely places. Then they found the one I’d looked for all along and convinced him to take a chance on love. He gave my left hand a wedding ring.
These are the hands that rocked my babies, tossed them in the air, pushed them on a swing, and held them when they wept. They knit baby sweaters and sewed Halloween costumes. They grew bushels of organic vegetables, made thousands of meals, and filled the cellar with jars of summer fruit.
One hand waved goodbye when our sons left home to meet the world while the other hand held on to my husband Vic.
These hands soothed my dying lover when he was afraid. They massaged the swelling, counted out the pills, held his hand, wrote medical details, and made hospital beds. They traced his lips and held him close, hoping to remember just the way he felt. They washed his body and shrouded him in white sheets. Once again, they waved goodbye.
It’s strange to see the left hand ringless now. It wore a knobby silver band for 42 years. It was a sign of love, of belonging with someone in this life. That ring is on my altar now, a reminder that my lover and husband left this earth but left his love behind.
These hands type out words for stories and click the send button. They point the camera, open the refrigerator, change hearing aide batteries, and cook a simple meal. They type a book, edit it a hundred times, and send it to the world with love.
These hands decorate the house with Solstice lights and candles to honor those both here and gone. These grieving hands held tiny Willow and counted on her love. Five years later, they press her furry sweetness to my heart.
These hands hold and hug and sometimes let go.