These hands of mine

Around this time two years ago, my grandmother passed away. When I am overwhelmed with life (which is often, very often) I think of her weak fingers squeezing my hand and the last time she whispered the words, “I love you.” When I get caught up in trying to do everything and be everyone and feeling like I am falling so so short of my best intentions, her life brings me comfort and peace. She was Love. She is Love.

This is written in honor of her and the love she and my grandfather shared. Their love is enduring and unconditional, it transcends life and even death. It’s a love I hope to one day become.
TheBarefootBeatGlen and June Friend, married 58 years

These Hands of Mine

“Baby, these curled hands of mine may not strike the keys of your heart with the same grace they once used to, and these knobby knuckles may have grown misshapen with time, but I hope you know they’re still holding onto yours with as much tenderness as ever.

These arthritic hands may not have the same softness when they caress your wrinkled cheek, but they still know how to play the same notes on the piano that we keep in the sitting room. They still know how to how to weave music through the strings, black and white, still know how to make you sing with longing and that faraway look in your eye.

    These joints may not move with the same rhythm that we found so easily when we used to dance under the stars and in the rain and in the kitchen, socks slipping and bodies compensating for the weight of our mistakes with an equanimity we’ve since lost.

It’s true, these bones may not be as strong and predictable as they once were when we met so long ago, resilient and ready to tackle all of each other and life together. The marrow is less forgiving than it used to be, and the tendons have shortened with time. Too many good years have passed for one fragile body to escape without a few loose ends and worn out cartilage.

These hands may be worse for the wear, but they still know how to touch you in that supple place below your hip; these fingers still curve to the small of your back just like they used to when we were young.

     These veins may have gotten lost on their way back to your heart, finding new pathways to go around the bruises we’ve accumulated along the way, becoming hardened and wiry from the places we’ve traveled so many times, broken capillaries and broken promises re-routing our love, if only for a moment.

These arteries may not beat with the same passion they once used to, but baby, the collaterals and the compromises are so much more beautiful and hard earned than any direct course could have ever given us.

These muscles may not move with the same ease and definition as before, but baby, every laugh line and forehead crinkle carries your signature. When you look into my dimming eyes and notice these sallow cheeks, I hope you know you are written all over my face, etched into my tear glands, hidden in the furrow of my brow, disguised in the crease of my smile.

    Forgive me, darling, if these fingertips of mine have bent to the shape of a life spent enlaced with yours, if I am not as good at letting go as I once was, if the complaints come easier now than the compliments, if this loose and scarred skin isn’t as easy to embrace as it once was.

These open palms may not stretch toward you quite like they used to, but they will still reach for the back of your ear to tuck away stray gray hairs, and they still hold all of your hopes and dreams as delicately as the creaks and crevices allow.

Forgive me, if these frail hands of mine take a moment longer to untangle what’s mine and yours, if I need to hold on a little tighter to catch my balance because you still take this tired breath of mine away. Your life line is written inside of mine and these crippled joints will always ache for yours, rain or shine.”

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