My Husband's Hands..

When I was a little girl, I used to hold my grandpa's hands. He was a preacher and a carpenter and a bus driver and a gardener and an archeologist, and his hands were rough and calloused, and big. When we would eat lunch at the table in the kitchen, he would take my hand and we'd walk out to his barn, that smelled like sawdust and paint and turpentine and cedar, and talk about everything. Then I grew up a little bit and I used to think my dad's hands were so dirty because he was a truck driver and it seemed like he was always covered in...dirt or gasoline or something. He was always lifting something or loading something or moving something. I hated it. Then my parents got divorced and my dad moved away, and my Uncle Peter, who was a mechanic first and a truck driver later, had dirty hands too, and had to use this cream or...salve to get the car oil and grease off his hands but he could fix everything...cars, plumbing. He built things and created things and I'd just sit there on the back bumper of his car and we'd talk and talk. I would walk along and hold his hands and they were so warm...so caring and gentle. I loved him. I always swore tho, that I would grow up and marry a clean honest guy who went to college and never came home smelling like the world dumped all their refuse on him.

Then my grandpa died. And then my Uncle Peter died three years ago in a car accident that crushed his face and chest so badly that the funeral home director called my mother and strongly "suggested" that if she wanted to say good-bye to him, his whole body would be covered except for his hands.

When the ambulance transferred him to the funeral home, we were there, waiting. The director uncovered his hands and left us in the ambulance bay by ourselves. My mother threw herself on her big brother, who never should have left us at 36 years old, not ever, and sobbed like I had never heard her sob before, crying in these deep gutteral hysterical sobs that just shook me to my core. Eventually, my mom's sister gave in to her tears too and after they were done they left me alone with him to say my good-byes.

I stood there for a second, trying to take deep breaths and not lose it like my mom did. After my dad had left, he was the only dad I had. Even before he got married and had kids, my Uncle Peter had taken me everywhere with him, done everything with me. I would miss him more than anyone could ever know. After a little while, I walked over to where he lay on that stretcher and I picked up his hand. It was still the same...rough, calloused, and in every pore there was some speckle of grease and grime and car oil. But he was so cold.

I bent over him and lay my head on his chest, on top of his other hand, and the cold seeped into my cheek like something otherworldly. I knew it was irrational, but I just felt like, maybe I could give him my warmth, and his hands wouldn't be that cold anymore. But it didn't work, and I just held his hand to my face and cried and cried and cried. My warm tears were all over his hands by then and I just...couldn't let go. I knew it was the last time I would ever touch those hands, and I didn't want to let go.

I never want to be that cold again.

But almost a year after he died, I met my husband, and one month later we got in a car accident, two weeks to the day short of the one year anniversary of his death. HE pulled me from that car and I didn't drive for a week. My husband, I found out, worked in a manufacturing plant for car trailers, and his hands are always dirty. He is always doing something with his hands, he can't stop. HE builds things now, and works on the car, and loves to help me when I ask for help. It makes him feel important. And when we're in the car, drivng along, I run my fingertips over his palm and his fingers, and it just seems right. He always smiles, and says to me, "What are you doing to me?"

And I always answer that I love his hands. I love how gentle and loving he can be, and when my little hands are wrapped up in his big ones, I just can't tell you how safe I feel. I know I said I'd marry a guy with clean hands, but now...his hands are the most beautiful thing in the world.

middge middge
22-25, F
2 Responses Feb 18, 2009

Beautiful story.<BR><BR>"It makes him feel important"<BR>It <I>is</I> nice to feel needed :-)

Thank you for sharing your story.<br />
Your description of trying to say goodbye to your Uncle moved me to tears.<br />
Best wishes, Aurora xxx