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.


  1. So beautiful...when my Mother was in her last days, I spent almost all of my time with her messaging her hands and feet. She knew it was me by my touch and it connected us in a very special way that I will now have in my heart forever knowing that I was able to give her the gift of touch.

    1. Terry Lee thank you for sharing this. How lucky and unafraid you were. I have to remember this. What a lovely way to end a life.

  2. Well I guess we both teared up reading our blog posts today. Love the vision of you putting your arm around your mama while she held your hand. My mom and I have a ritual every visit...massaging her hands and back, and then reading from my book. It's a memory I'll never forget. Love you Lou.

  3. I love hearing that you massage and read to your mom from your book Cyn. It doesn't surprise me. And really what better thing to do. I hope that in all our last days we can be massaged :-). Love you too you know.

  4. anyone who massages my feet has given me a gift that is priceless.
    During my husband's last days (although I didn't know this) I sat beside him wordlessly stroking his hair.

  5. So so sweet Sylvia. Thank you for your comment.