Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hand to Heart.

I went to see Dad this week, sitting next to him on his bed as he dozed away under his blanket. He was wearing one of the new pullover shirts I got him and looked good- much better than the peach colored velour sweatshirt they've been dressing him in!

Towards the end of my visit, he surfaced from whatever dream world he'd been inhabiting and looked at me. I smiled at him and said hello, and got a faint smile in return. Last time I visited, he woke up and when I said hello, he actually said "Hello!" back. I'm not sure who was more surprised - him or me. Either way it was nice to hear.

No hello this time, but he did look at me. I grabbed the extra - special hand lotion I bought for him, took off my wedding rings and begin to gently massage his hands with the lotion. When I looked up at his face, his eyes were closed and his face relaxed and he seemed to be enjoying it so I kept on.

I've written before about my father's hands; how strong and capable they were, always rough with ground in dirt and oil, no matter how hard he scrubbed, and banged up from whatever motor or toilet he'd been working on. As I rubbed his hands, stretching out the fingers that have become contracted and tight and working on his wrists and lower arms,  I noticed how smooth and soft his hands were. Mine were callused in comparison!

It just brought home to me the fact that he does nothing- rarely using his hands or his body
in any way. The disease has stolen that from him. Of course his hands would be soft - there are no more engines to be fixed. All he touches now is the soft blanket I got him last Christmas. It made me a little sad but as I was finishing up something happened that helped me a great deal.

I gently put his hand down in his lap and smiled at him as I rubbed the rest of the lotion into my own hands. He smiled back at me with a smile of such singular sweetness and brightness that it surprised me - I felt he was looking directly AT me. It was a true smile,  Maybe a thank you for the meeting of our hands. And I drove home feeling not too bad after all.

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