This was the last photo I took of my mother’s hands.
She was cradling a Willow Tree figurine I had given her for Valentine’s Day. Except I wasn’t able to gift it to her on February 14 because that day she went by ambulance to a hospice care facility.
After she was settled in her room, I presented her with the “Prayer of Peace” and told her that was my heart’s wish for her: a peace-filled ending to a life well-lived.
Mom’s hands made delicious home-cooked meals and she had a knack for serving every part of the meal temperature perfect. Hot was piping hot; cold was refreshingly cold. Nothing in between. Meat, veggie, bread, drink, and dessert. Always dessert. Texas sheet cake was one of my favorites.
My mother was a pianist. She rehearsed with the church choir on Wednesday evenings, then accompanied choir and played the hymns on Sunday. She taught piano lessons out of our home on school days, keeping index cards in the piano bench for each of her students with their names, birthdates, and music books they had completed.
At one time, my mom worked in a tool and die shop where she assembled dies that would be used to form and cut plastic packaging materials with high-pressure machines. She loved that job, joking around with her co-workers and taking under her wing some of the younger folks.
Another job found my mom using her hands as administrative support for seminary professors. While working here, she and my dad befriended many international students, helping them set up apartments, caring for their children, coaching them in their language skills, and extending hospitality around our dinner table.
Her hands served many.
Of course my mom used her hands in raising three children, me being the firstborn. She played marches on the piano when it was time to clean up our toys. She wrapped presents, although often forgot who the intended recipient was (she didn’t use gift tags). Pre-email/internet, she wrote letters to me when I lived in Brazil for a year.
Probably my most cherished memories are when she used her hands to lovingly cradle my first and only child, Betsy.
My mother’s hands. How I miss them.