I once read that a doctor can look at a patient's hands and diagnose certain health problems.
Of course, an average person can't do that, but it is interesting to study people's hands that do reflect a person's life-- the rough callused hands of a laborer, the smooth hands of a socialite, the pink, soft hands of a newborn, and the red, chafed hands of a busy housewife.
When I think of my mother, the first image that comes to my mind is her hands.
As my sister and I sat with her evening after evening during her last years, I loved to look at her hands that had grown fragile along with her body. Even though they were lined with wrinkles, they were beautiful to me bringing back precious memories.
Memories of her young, soft hands brushing tears from my eyes while cleaning bruised knees. Memories of her holding a curling iron and telling me to stand still or I would get burned.
I could see her young and busy hands carrying steaming dishes to the dining table while serving her family delicious meals.
There were vivid images of her hands tightening jelly jars and the smell of blackberries as the lids tightened, cracked and popped.
I loved to watch her hands gripping the rake as she raked leaves in the fall, which she loved to do.
Her hands were busy, and she was happy as she worked serving customers at her and my dad's grocery store.
Her hands never stopped. After raising her own children, she helped with grandchildren.
Those loving hands cuddled and rocked when they were little, and then grabbing car keys she drove them to school, football practice, and doctor appointments when they were older.
As her hands became still and we sat during those last evenings, I can see her hands almost translucent as she wrapped them around her walker at the end of the evening, and, together, we walked to the bedroom.
Now, I look at my hands, and they are becoming the hands of my mother. I'm not sad that they aren't smooth and white as they once were. I look at them and memories come flooding back. She will always be with me.
Maybe someday my daughter will look at her hands in the same way as I look at mine and her daughters after her.
I can only hope their hands reveal such wonderful memories.
Happy Mother's Day.
Jo is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .