Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Mothers Hands

I looked across the table at my Mother stirring her coffee. Around and around, the spoon clinking against the sides of the mug. She had a dreamy look on her face as she was drifting into the past, telling me about her mother who was an astute investor. We were talking about things that are sad, yet inevitable. Probate, inheritance tax, estates, selling rare books on the Internet.

I squeeze the prospect that she is preparing to leave this earth and arrive in heaven (where God will meet her along with St. Peter at the pearly Gates) out of my mind, my thoughts, my reality.

I know she will live forever. I live in denial. I like it here.

In her hands I see my own. My own hands foreign, hers so familiar. Those hands that first held me, cleaned up the messes, chased me around with a paddle, soothed an illness with jello and chicken noodle soup, rags soaked in alcohol ice water and applied to a feverish forehead, grip the steering wheel at 10 and 2, hold a rosary, hand out the dollar bills to the grandchildren, moped up the blood from a head gash my brother so proudly presented to her, "LOOK MOM!! BLOOD!!!".

Those hands that were the center of attention right before her by-pass surgery of several years ago. My brother and I stood over her as she lay moments from the operating room, pleading with her to allow the orderly to cut off her rings, her wedding band and engagement ring, the irish claddagh ring. So long she had kept them on, they could not slide over her knuckles. She shed a tear as they took them off and handed them to us.

I held them though out that excruciating day. A day of 14 hours that seemed like 14 million hours.

Until the doctor came and escorted us into a room and told us she was okay.

I burst into tears of relief, so afraid that he was going to deliver bad news.

Those hands, laid out on the table on either side of the coffee mug, rings in their rightful place, are looking so much like mine anymore that it scares me and soothes me at the same time.

I reach out and squeeze them.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

*grabbing tissues*

I live in denial, too, about my own mom. I cannot begin to comprehend the total devastation I will feel when she passes..

Cynthia said...

Hands are so powerful. The first time I saw (of all things) Kill Bill, Vol 2., I burst into tears because Bill's hands were nearly the spitting image of my father's. Can you imagine how stupid I looked crying during a Tarentino movie?! But I had held hands that looked just like those. They had comforted me, and near the end, I had comforted him. I'll never forget my parents' hands.

Anonymous said...

Great piece, Mary. Maybe Gigi's mom's passing got you thinking about your own mother's mortality.

Anonymous said...

This made me cry. A lovely, lovely post. Thanks for sharing her with us.

tina said...

Lovely. So touching. I can relate to this. My mother is 85, and I have to face that fact that we don't have too much time left to spend together. I don't like to think about that, but there it is. Thanks for reminding me that I need to make the best of the time there is ...no more denial. tina

Lisa :-] said...

I often wish my mom was more...who she used to be. She just turned 84, and she's decrepit as hell, but she's still hanging in there. She's too ornery to die...

Lovely post Mar! I look down at my hands from time to time and cannot believe they are growing out of the ends of my own arms. Because surely they are some otheraging woman's hands...

a.roberson said...

I will stay in denial til the day I am put to rest. I can't imagine the day that my moms leaves me,so I choose not to.

Hold on to your denial Gypsy ;-)

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

What a beautiful post!! Divine sharing!!

My prayers are with you.

gigi said...

Beautiful, Mary. There's really no point in denial, but neither is there any in dwelling on the inevitable. Enjoy her as she is now, and build new memories with her. They'll help sustain you both. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing... we all live in similar denial about someone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that rouching story. Your love shines through.

Came over from THE CARNIVAL

Anonymous said...

My Mom just recently moved in with my husband and me and I am enjoying her so much. Her hands have always been so soft that I love to touch them. Even when I was coming out of surgery and couldn't open my eyes, my mother touched my hands with hers and I know it was she because of their softness. I don't want to even think about her passing even though I know it's inevitable. I just want to hold her hands while she is her with us. Thank you for sharing your story with me.