Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Her Hands

When I look at my hands, I imagine they look somewhat like those of my Granny's about 65 or so years ago. And I like to think there's some of her in me that guide my hands to create. She was an "old" grandmother relative to the ages of her grandchildren, because it was 15 years before my mom was born. But don't be the one to call her old...she was energetic and smart, passionate and talented. She was the best hand quilter I know. She baked the best pies I've eaten. She was always first to volunteer to provide a meal for someone in need.

I'm holding in this photo (besides my lovely mom) a keepsake she made for my wedding day, a pure white linen handkerchief with the most intricate crocheted lace trim.

All of her grandchildren had one of these, even the boys so they could give them to their wives. She couldn't be there to see me married, which broke my heart, and I didn't let that delicate hanky out of my hands that whole day. I was grasping onto her in any way I could. Just three short weeks after my wedding she passed away.

Looking back, I wish a lot of things. I wish I had let her teach me more. I wish I would have watched her more. I wish I would have listened. I wish my husband could have known her as I knew her, instead of the frail body that once worked and the cloudy eyes that once saw. I'm so afraid her memory will fade, so I'm still grasping on to her. Occasionally I dream at night of her, and it's so incredibly real that it's painful to wake up and know she's not here. But I wake up to my daughter who bears her great-grandmother's name, and I know she IS here. It is a testament to how much she impacted my life because, fortunately, the memories I have of her and the lessons I've learned from her have not diminished.

Learning more about Granny helps me to know my own mother and, in turn, myself. They are part of me, and I am part of them. Like holding hands, we intertwine our fingers and our lives with one another. I hope I put my hands to good use, as she certainly did.
Listen, watch and observe the people and moments that shape the direction of your life. You won't regret it. I love you, Granny, and I miss you like crazy. every. day.


  1. Jen- Oh how I wish I could write like you! My eyes are full of tears and my heart is full of a sweet yearning. I love this post.

  2. i love and miss our granny, too. Thanks, Jen, for the memories you awakened. I'm crying, of course. :) She passed that on to us, too!

  3. I love your eloquence and your description of's "spot-on" in my memory as well. I know you are using your hands wisely like she did. I sometimes wish I did more. But you've inspired me to do better. I love you, Jen, and thanks for this lovely reminder of our sweet granny. I miss her, too.