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Whose Hand Will They Hold

Story ID:3844
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Fort Lee NJ USA
Year:2008
Person:The Hands I held and Hold
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For Mothers Day


Whose Hand Will They Hold

She held my hand with hers. In the other, she held a cane crafted by a husband
who was long gone. We shuffled closer to her rocking chair. It was as old as she was. I
had a vision of her sitting there many years ago. She rocked and comforted my
grandfather as he cut his first tooth – holding his tiny hand in hers.

“Big Mum, we’re almost there.” I shouted into her ninety-five year old ears.
Everyone called her “Big Mum”. I didn’t know why. At sixteen, I towered over her
four foot, eight inch frame.

We reached the chair. I took her cane and hung it on the nail in the wall. She
reached out, held both my hands, and allowed me to support her. She turned and settled
into the chair. “Thank you, Michael!” She said weakly. “I’m not sure if that was the chair
or these old bones that just creaked so loudly.”

I knelt in front of her. “It was the chair, Big Mum. There’s nothing wrong with
those bones of yours.” I looked into her rheumy eyes, set in a face deeply lined by
decades of age. “You’re as pretty as a peach!”

“Don’t you lie to me, young man!” She scolded, but her smile betrayed her.

“I’m not lying!” I lied.

I continued to hold her surprisingly strong hands. How many hands had they
held? I saw her as a young woman, holding the hand of a suitor. She was a bride, who
held the hand of a new husband. They walked down the aisle into a life together. This
same hand held my grandfather’s when he came home with a skinned knee. Later they
held my mother’s – a new granddaughter.

The hands she held, I also got to hold. I remembered my grandmum. She took my
hand and lead me into her house. I’d pooped in my pants and was afraid my Mum would
be mad at me. Grandmum took my clothes, washed them by hand, and sent me home
clean.

My Mother held my hand when I was sick. The warmth and comfort of her
fingers was a mother’s love. In the spring, she’d hold my hand when we walked the
dirt roads near our home in search of wildflowers. The trees closed around us. In her
hands, I knew I was safe.

I held the hand of a woman. I led her onto a dance floor. We waltzed. Our hands
touched gently. That same hand was in mine a year later – in marriage.

Five years passed. Two small hands were encompassed in mine. We walked
through the fields in search of wildflowers for Mom. They were my children – a boy and
a girl – new hands. Their tiny fingers gripped mine. How many hands would they hold in
their lifetime?

One day, the four of us gathered in a hospital room. They’d just removed the
life support from my wife – they’re mother. We held her hands and watched the bouncing
green line on the heart monitor. The hand I held grew cold. I would never get to hold it
again.

A new hand held mine. It was warm. The grip comforted me. I lifted it and placed
my lips on its smooth skin. “I love you, Ginny.” I whispered. The feel of her warmth,
the squeeze of her fingers, and the look of love in her green eyes melted me. She became
my wife. The hand I held in marriage made me a step-grandfather. I held little hands again - more hands – more life. Whose hands will they hold?

Michael T. Smith



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