My Grandmother’s Hands

Two weeks before she died, my grandmother had to spend a few days in the hospital.   I went to see her and she was distressed by how her arms and hands looked.  She showed her arms to her caregiver and said “look at this, it’s just pitiful!, my arms are just pitiful!”  My grandmother usually wore long-sleeved shirts but her hospital gown left her arms bare.

When I left the hospital, I thought about what she said and I began to reflect on the significance of her 98 year-old hands and arms.

I wanted to say to her, “Grandmommy, your arms aren’t pitiful.

Those arms could swing a golf club several times a week well into your 80’s!

Those hands showed us grandchildren how to put a worm on a hook at the end of the line on a cane pole.

Those hands made hundreds, perhaps thousands of Christmas fruitcakes over the years and sprinkled pecans and coconut on top of many an Italian Cream Cake.

Those hands stirred pots of oyster stew and vegetable soup, made countless pans of cornbread and the most amazing pimiento cheese.

Red Amaryllis
This beautiful Amaryllis has been around for decades.

Those hands had the uncanny ability to grow anything from a cutting that looked like a stick to one of the  many of the plants I neglected.  She transplanted a beautiful, red amaryllis when we moved into her neighborhood back in 1975.  It is still growing.

Those arms held and rocked 22 babies; 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

They are the same hands that taught all of us and our babies to “Pat-a-Cake” (roll em, roll em throw em in the pan!)

They are hands that turned the pages of a well-worn Bible or a Sunday School Quarterly.

Those hands signed checks or stock certificates which were given to family, friends, church staff, schools, colleges and many other charities.

No, Grandmommy, your hands and arms aren’t pitiful, they are beautiful and we will miss them”.

And we do.

dreamstime_s_40370289(old hands)

7 thoughts on “My Grandmother’s Hands

  1. I have a picture of my grandmother’s hands. I think I even did a post on her hands a few years ago. I remember the smell of her hands and my mother’s hands at that time, because I’d lay down on the bench in church and put my head in one of their laps–depending on who had a free lap that wasn’t cuddling another sleepy child. Their hands would be tucked around my head or cheek, and it was the faint scent of onions! 🙂 At the farmhouse, they’d be preparing lunch before church–peeling onions to tuck around a thick roast and potatoes in a large roaster pan. 🙂 So, that is why that memory sticks with me! Grandma’s hands were shaped different than Mom’s. Mine are shaped more like Grandma’s or perhaps my dad’s. Amazing how thoughts and the past stick in our minds and can be wonderful memories to us. Great post, Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awwww…so thought provoking and so sweet! You brought many emotions to the surface and floods of memories. Well written, Kim. You certainly have a gift of words. Your Grand mommy would be thrilled.

    Liked by 1 person

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