For many, they see a hand, wrinkled and old, limp and lying still.

For me, I see the hand that clasped mine when my toddler legs wobbled with unsteady steps.

I see the hand that held my little girl body, bent and crying over some childhood hurt.

I see the hand that slipped carefully over my adolescent one that tried to pull away.

I see the hand that gently rested on my arm as I poured out a young woman’s pain.

I see the hand that sweetly lay across my cheek as the tears of a new mother’s worries streamed down my face.

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For many, they see a hand creased and twisted, no longer useful.

For me, I see the hand that clapped the loudest for my achievements and the one that clasped around me the tightest when I failed.

I see the hand that reached out to catch me when I was falling and the one that picked me up when I did.

I see the hand that held me up high when the world lay me low.

And now as I take this precious hand in mine, it is the one I can’t bear to let go.

So now, as I clasp her hand, I hope that in some small way I can comfort and carry her the way she has always comforted and carried me.

And when she ceases to be able to hold my hand, it is my greatest hope that she will continue to do so in my heart.

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I cannot deny that this hand—my mother’s hand—is no longer youthful or vibrant, but the once smooth skin, now wrinkled and lined, tells the story of a life well lived to those blessed enough to hear it.

Perhaps now, when one looks upon her hand, they won’t see a hand that is old and wrinkled, limp and lying still. They will see what I have always seen as I see now—love.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Sherry Parnell

A full-time writer, personal trainer, and professor, I am the author of Let the Willows Weep and Daughter of the Mountain. An alumnus of Dickinson College and West Chester University, I live with my husband and sons in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. I am currently working on my third novel entitled The Secrets Mother Told.