My Grandfather’s Hands

Upon our entrance into this world, the first touch for most of us is a human hand, a doctor or nurse, mid-wife, or even a Good Samaritan.

Hands play such an important part of our lives, guiding us, holding us, pulling us back, or pushing us forward.

I have many memories of the hands I have held in my life; the most distinctive of them, my grandfather’s hands.  Of my two grandfathers, I only recall my maternal grandfather with any detail.  My paternal grandfather died before I developed any retrievable memory.

I have a recollection of walking with my grandfather near the ocean.   I had to reach up to hold his hand as we walked.  At some point, we stopped and sat.  He continued to hold my hand.

I was fascinated by the lines and marks, twists and turns of his sixty, or so, year old hands.

They were intricate maps of all he had experienced, from his own youth, to his time in the Navy, through the Depression, from raising four children, to experiencing the births of many grandchildren.

If the eyes are the window to the soul; hands are the canvas on which we paint our life.

As I looked at those hands, I did not realize he would be leaving this life such a short time later.  I wondered what those hands experienced.  People they had touched, things they had made, the warmth of the sun, or the cold of winter felt over his time.

Therefore, it shocked me the other day, as I looked at my own hands.  Once smooth in my memories of that time with my grandfather, now showing their own signs of the imprint of a life, I hope, well lived.

I believe I have more time for the lines on my hands to record more of life, things to hold, sensations to feel.  Yet, I cannot help but wonder when my hands became as my Grandfather’s. Where did that time go?

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