I Like to Hold Her Hand

Spring Flower

5/17/12

Anna is talking over the fence to a woman who is taking her turn at the bedside of her dying grandmother.

It is the last days of a long decline for a kind, old woman who is bedded in her living room and in and out of awareness of this life on Earth.

The granddaughter steps outside for a small dab of the freshness of sun and air. Anna says hello and they talk for a short time about the dogs and the toys in the yard and the tulips that have faded and the truck that is on the street.

Wise One

And the 30ish granddaughter looks deep into the blue eyes and curly hair of Anna to see again the expectations of youth and the beginnings of life and the flourishing tide of health and the blooming of beauty. Anna is her respite from the failure of age and the anticipation of death and the worsening of illness and the inevitability of it all. And she smiles.

Their conversation is raw and truthful. As is usual when engaged with a not-quite-3-year-old, there are direct questions and many whys and some loss in the translation and several unexpected references to people and happenings that seem unconnected to the point at hand. Without the filters of practiced manners and learned intimidation, Anna speaks exactly what she knows and nothing else. Pure words and thoughts, tumbling out with no stopping, like water flowing during spring run-off.

Happy Girl

And so, when the granddaughter says she is going back to the side of her grandmother, Anna asks, “Why?”

And the granddaughter says, “Because I like to be with my grandma.”

And Anna replies, “I like to hold my grandma’s hand.”

Then, after a long pause, the granddaughter looks at Anna and says, “I like to hold my grandma’s hand too.”

And Anna teaches yet again. To always hold hands when you can. To hold on tightly to those you love. In your heart. Always. Never miss that chance.

Anna and her GreatGrandmother Mary

61 thoughts on “I Like to Hold Her Hand

  1. Oh how beautiful Stacia. All of it. Anna, the story, the feeling of sharing a truly heartfelt moment with a new friend.
    Timely for me in ways. Thanks.
    b

  2. Pure and innocent beauty of a child’s spirit. Children have a way of transforming an adult’s mood, almost immediately. The pictures are so very complimentary to your touching words. Wonderfully written Bella.

  3. Oh dear Bella, this is great writing… My eyes in tears… Anna she is amazing little girl.Children maybe don’t know anything yet but their pure heart is amazing and made me cry too. Thank you dear Bella, Blessing Anna. Love, nia

  4. As always, your writing is as beautiful as your pictures, or the pictures as beautiful as your writing. I can never decide.

    You and Anna brought me back to when my grandmother lived with us until she died when I was three. My mother doubted that I had memories of Grammy, but they are clear in my mind. Love with gray hair.

    Thanks for the lovely memories and post.

  5. There is nothing so pure as a child’s heart. Anna did more for that young woman than anyone could at this time. This was truly a lovely moment you shared with us. The tears are running down my cheeks.

  6. Wow. That was truly beautiful. Grandchildren are so precious. I can see it when my mom looks at my son. I have a picture of them holding each other’s hands when he was 3 years old-his chubby little fingers against the wrinkled and aged hands of my mom. Great post!

  7. Isn’t it amazing when life is so vibrant and pure that it resounds with such clarity? Makes me wonder if it’s always that way. I suspect so and my busy filters dull my senses. Thanks for the nudge.

  8. You’ve taken a poignant moment and transported it to our mind’s eye. I’ve sat where that granddaughter was sitting with both my grandmother and mother. Her sad moment now will later translate to an uplifting memory that will sustain her.

    Anna is adorable.

    So glad you posted your photos in photostream. I can only look at a few at a time. The rest of the time I’m catching my breath.

  9. I don’t know if it’s because I can see the title of your next post — Me Chasing Moon, Chasing Sun — below this one, but your story about Anna and the dying grandmother makes me think of the moon setting in the western sky as the sun comes up in the east. You’ve captured perfectly these two people, at opposite arcs of life, one “in and out of awareness,” and the other just beginning to explore the world and soak in knowledge and understanding. I think this post must have caused a lot of hands to be held.

  10. Stacia, you take my breath away every time I read your words. How do you do it over and over and over again. What a brilliant mind you have to see the world so deeply.

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