Photo a Week: Hands

For Nancy’s ‘Photo a Week’ challenge ‘Hands‘,  I was reminded of that old Max Bygraves song, ‘You Need Hands’.

The first verse went like this:

You need hands to hold someone you care for
You need hands to show that you’re sincere
When you fear nobody wants to know you
You need hands to brush away the tears.

Hubby and I  have always held hands when we’re out together. A friend at our country club remarked on it,  saying that it’s unusual to see this in couples who’ve been married for so long, and that we must still be very much in love. Well, she was right about that. I’m sure we’ll still be holding hands for as long as we’re together.

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My hands also come in very useful when I play the piano, something which I’m really looking forward to doing in the not too distant future when the house is finished and we can get my new piano delivered.

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Our son also uses his hands to make music.

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My darling Mom had the most beautiful cool hands. They were hardworking hands, always busy; be it submerged in laundry soap suds, scrubbing floors, baking delicious pies, sewing beautiful dresses for my sister and I,  knitting warm sweaters for the whole family, brushing and plaiting my long hair, stroking my fevered brow when I wasn’t well, and  also regularly clasped together in prayer. She had no time or money to pamper herself,  yet her hands stayed young for the whole of her 90 years. Some of you may remember this photo which I took a couple of years ago, on a visit to see her in the care home. We were sitting trying to hold a conversation, something which had become increasingly difficult as the dementia had cruelly set in, when the lady in the next chair, rousing a little from her slumbers and without  even opening hr eyes, reached her hand over the arm of the chair until it found my mom’s. She grasped it tightly, and as mom gently stroked her fingers, I saw a glimmer of a smile on her face, probably remembering a time in the past when she had someone’s hand to hold, maybe a husband or even a child. This lady never had any visitors, but I’m sure that the cool touch of mom’s fingers brought comfort to her heart, just as it used to for me when I was a child.

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“Nothing in this world compares to the comfort and security of having someone just hold your hand.”  ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

Wishing you all a wonderful week with lots of hand holding.

 

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Happy Birthday Memories

Today would have been my darling Mom’s 91st. I remember how excited I was last year to be travelling to South Africa to be at her 90th birthday party.

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Family and friends surrounded her with love, and although her dementia meant she wasn’t really too aware of what was happening, we all rallied round and made it a really happy day. Little did we know that she would leave us only three months later.

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Our sweet granddaughter Taylor was born on her great-grandma’s birthday, so in a way, they are forever bound together. I remember only three years ago when mom came to stay with us in our beach house for her 88th birthday, and we all chatted on Skype for Taylor’s 4th birthday. It’s so good to remember the happy times we had together

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Mom loved nature and when we took her out, she would always remark on the beauty which she saw around her. She especially loved birds and butterflies, and when I woke up this morning, I received a WhatsApp message from my sister who lives very close to where mom lived and died; “Big butterfly in garden this morning. I think Mom’s come by to say hello!”

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Happy Birthday to two very special people.

Wishing you all a lovely Thursday.

 

 

 

 

A letter to my Darling Mom

 

“My darling mom,

Today is Mothers’ Day, and I remember how exciting it was as a child to celebrate my special mom. You were always my heroine, so pretty, chic, and very clever. You taught me so much from a very young age. My love of music was nurtured because of your encouragement, and even though you had never learned to play an instrument, you were determined to give me the chance, even though the cost of piano lessons was quite a sacrifice on your tight budget. You worked so hard at many menial jobs in order to supplement the family income, and yet still found the time to make my sister and I the most gorgeous clothes, often sitting at your sewing machine late into the night. I’ll never forget the Sunday School Anniversary dresses you sewed, especially the blue flocked one with the enormous navy bow at the back, which made it very difficult to sit down. Your daughters always had to be the smartest on the block, and I guess that’s why you insisted on the hats as the finishing touch. How we loathed wearing those feather hats, and also the ones that looked like a couple of beige blancmanges, but I’ve long since forgiven you. You were very brave in the hat stakes yourself, and I remember that you were mortified, when at church one Sunday, our oldest member called out very loudly, “Vera, I like your new hat, but that feather makes you look just like Robin Hood.”

There always seemed to be just enough money to take us on a seaside holiday once a year, but only because of your thriftiness. Nothing was wasted in our house, and you somehow found the time to make all your own jams and pickles with fruit and vegetables harvested from dad’s garden. Coming home from school on cold winter days in England, I knew that there would always be a good fire going in the hearth, and toast or muffins with homemade strawberry jam to warm me up. You cajoled me into eating my vegetables, with the promise that they were supposedly going to make my hair curl.  I also forgive you for that little white lie, but only because you made the best apple pies in the world.

I know I’m rambling a bit now, but I have so many wonderful memories of you, and that’s why it was so heartbreaking to see you today, looking pale and fragile. To see that you can no longer manage to stand on your own, and need assistance for every little thing, makes me want to cry. When I took you for a walk in the garden in your wheelchair, I thought of how you used to push me in my stroller all those years ago. Our roles have somehow been reversed. You were always so dignified and independent, so strong and upright. I long for you to be like that once again, but as you said to me today, “I just have to be content with the way things are now.” I know you wanted to tell me all sorts of things, and yet your mind just couldn’t process your thoughts and turn them into words. How frustrating this must be for you. As we sat there trying to hold a conversation, I was really moved when Mrs G, the lady in the chair next to you, roused a little from her slumbers and reached her hand over the arm of the chair until it found yours. She didn’t even open her eyes, but grasped your hand so tight, and as you stroked her fingers, I saw a glimmer of a smile on her face, probably remembering a time in the past when she had someone’s hand to hold, maybe a husband or even a child. She gets no visitors, but I’m sure that your cool touch today brought comfort to her heart, just as it used to for me when I was a child.

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Mom thank you for just being you. I will always love you so much.”

 

My darling mom needs a holiday by the sea.

Yesterday was a lovely day, although somewhat tinged with sadness. Hubby and I went off up the hill to meet my sister, my mom, and two of mom’s dearest friends, Marge and Tom. We met at a local restaurant, and it just broke my heart to see how difficult it was for my once strong and independent mother to even manoeuvre herself from her walker, into her seat. Since her bout of pneumonia late last year, she has become so frail and her mind is very confused. She did manage a cappuccino and half a slice of carrot cake, and we all kept up a lively conversation, trying to include her, but I could tell that her mind wasn’t able to process what was being said, and it was obvious that the bright lighting and ambient noise were bothering her. Tom is younger than mom, and has been a wonderful help to her, after she had to give up driving her car a couple of years ago. He used to take her shopping and to church every week. Marge, who has been her best friend for many years, was so attentive and kind, helping her to get the cake onto her fork, and opening the sugar packet for her. She is 91, a couple of years older than mom, but really bright and capable.

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We took mom back to the care home, and helped to put her to bed, as she was so tired after her little outing. The people who work there are really kind, and I’m happy to know that she is so well cared for, but I find it really distressing to see how little she can do for herself. When I think of the lively, bustling mom who brought me up, now so vulnerable and utterly dependent on other people to do everything for her, I could weep.

As we came over the brow of the hill, and were on the downhill run to home, I decided that what I needed was a long walk by the sea.

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The sound of the waves crashing over the rocks, was somehow very soothing to my troubled mind.

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Soon we were on our way to the lighthouse, the sight of which never fails to lift my spirits.

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Next stop was the pier, which although quite a new addition, looks like it’s been there forever.

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A sprinkling of fishermen were on the beach at the end of the promenade, and we sat for a while, in quiet contemplation, just looking out to sea.

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I was thinking that mom would really enjoy a mini vacation by the sea, and although our house has quite steep stairs, just maybe, with me in front and hubby bringing up the rear, we could manage to get her up and down them. It’s worth a try, so when we get back from visiting our daughter in Johannesburg in a couple of weeks’ time, we’re going to attempt it. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

I wish you all a very happy weekend.