December 05, 2014

For Her

Photo by Franci Strumpher
A few weeks ago a friend sent me this quote from a book that she was reading and enjoying called The Map of Love:

"Old people are always starved of touch: no husband, no lover, no child to slip a hand into a hand, to plant sticky kisses on nose and cheek and mouth, to snuggle and fit into the curves of the body. I watched my grandmother in her last years: her hands, the skin drawn parchment-like over the bones, stroking, stroking, stroking the chairs, the table, the bedspread."

I can't stop thinking about how true this is. I remember my own grandmother always stroking the edge of her lavender wool blanket between her thumb and forefinger. I remember her beautiful wrinkly hands and her strong, rounded fingernails.

Touching, touching. Loving to run her brush through her gently curled hair.

You may remember me saying that my Dad once said that the best thing that retirement homes could do would be to put everyone in a bed with someone else.

Recently, I went to church with my nearly 93- year-old mom. I scooched over closer to her in the pew, and put my arm around her shoulders, as we listened and settled in.

She took my hand and held it, as I rubbed the warmth of her long narrow fingers.

I try to hug her as much as I can. For her. For me. Holding her and slowly breathing her in. Knowing that someday there will be no more of her.

For me.