In the movie, “Beaches”, there is a scene toward the end of the movie when Barbara Hershey’s character is dying. She is in bed, and suddenly panics as she is looking at photos, because she cannot find a picture of her mother’s hands, one that she must see at the end of her life. That scene has always stuck with me, because I am so aware of hands and what they seem to show to me.
I think about what I know of a person, and how their hands come to represent that to me. When I think of my Aunt Ruth’s hands, they are slender, and tough, but beautiful. They have done work in their lives, but are not worn. My hand fits well within hers.
My mother’s hands are larger, mine built much like hers. Her nails are always short, and they are broad and firm. I don’t know the feel of them as much, because to be honest, I haven’t held my mom’s hand much in my adult life that I remember.
Last weekend, when I went to visit my Aunt Ruth, after she had a bad fall, I saw my dad on the way at the airport. We were talking deeply, and we held hands across the table. His hands are strong, and tan, and worn from years of hard work. And, so firm that I felt comfortable and safe with that hold.
I love to grab my daughter’s hand when we are in the car, as a quick reminder that I love her and am with her. Her hands are so round, and soft, and young. So much life to know, to gain, to feel and experience.
My hands are gentle, and last weekend, I used them to wash my Aunt Ruth when she couldn’t do it herself. The experience was so moving, to touch her with my hands and to also have that experience touch my heart, in a moment that felt spiritual it was so deep. The healing nature of hands, filled with love, is what I was aware of in those moments.
I am not sure how hands came to have such importance to me. Maybe because of powerful moments with that being the connection. Maybe just what a person’s hands offer of themselves to the world, in prayer, in work, in human touch. Whatever the reason, I am so aware and appreciative of the persons in my life, and the hands that connect with me in a deep way.