Bitter sweets

My Grandmother’s Hands
by (my cousin) Amanda Sawyer

My grandmother's hands were soft, her fingernails clean, her cuticles manicured-rubbed back with Vaseline after she had washed the dishes.

She cut apple slices and dolled them out with a slice of cheese or gave us little grated cheese and mayo sandwich triangles for a snack...just a bite. Her hand held an apple while she drove through the mountains of Globe. "It is all I need to stay awake," she would say. Those hands had the recipe for bread memorized and they whisked butter and flour gravy with a fork. As she passed the kitchen, no matter where she was, she would take a small bite of whatever was on the counter. Sometimes she used a utensil. Other times, just her hands.

I remember her tender touch as she rubbed my back before sleep while I wore her old t-shirt or silky nightgown. She brushed my hair and then she brushed her own. Although the color was most often brown (she unfortunately tried gray there for a while), her hairstyle hardly changed. Those hands helped me move the living room chairs together to make a "boat" where we could play with her dress-ups for hours. One finger held one card from a hodgepodge deck to her forehead in the final round of ten-to-one. Those soft hands pushed the lawnmower for exercise and hung up our towels off the floor in the bathroom. And although I personally never saw her take up an artist brush or pencil, I treasure the works she created with those hands. I did see her take up a pencil to do a crossword puzzle and keep her address book current, including birthdays. Handwritten or typed notes, with a simple and thoughtful gift.

She never raised a hand in anger. Always in kindness, she shook hands with her missionaries or even strangers and would make inquiries until she discovered the connection. I was then introduced to one of many third cousins twice removed. She folded her hands in prayer, more often than arms across her chest, her hands were clasped in her lap. When she read the scriptures, her pointer finger followed the text. She held my babies in her hands and I am sad that they won’t remember.

I clutched my grandma’s physical hand the night her spirit left it. I realize I have been forever, in both immeasurable and literal ways, touched by my grandmother’s hands.

Friday, 6-8, viewing at Thatcher Stake Center.
Saturday, 9:00 viewing, 9:45 family prayer, 10:00 service.

Aunt Nona called Grandpa early Tuesday morning to see how he had fared the night. He answered in that wonderful laugh/cry voice, "I'm quite...relatively...terrible." And he is. Very emotional, and grateful, and lost.

Grandma was very well prepared for her passing. She had a file marked "Funeral" in the file cabinet. It is so great to know that her funeral will be exactly how she wants it. It will be a fun party. We're sure she wont miss it.


Leah said...

I loved this poem.....I kept saying....yes to everthing she wrote....

Lyndsay said...

That was such a sweet (truly bittersweet) post.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that your grandmother has left this world. But she is now free of death and on to eturnal life.
I see her being welcomed by so many family members, her father, brother, and Trevor. They were there to welcome her.
I liked her very much and she was a beautiful lady and also a person.
I love you Jill.



KatieJ said...

I'm sorry about your grandmother, I know you will miss her. She sounds like a wonderful, beautiful lady!