Her Hands

I’m preparing for a visit from my sister. She lives across the other side of the country and she and I are both finding that as we get older, we are softer to one another. More compassionate about the challenges we face, more cognisant of the similarities than all the differences. I find myself seeing my sister through our mother’s eyes. With a special kind of maternal love and tenderness; a kindness that evaded me in my younger years.  I think we recognise that without our mother, we are the only ones who can bring Mum’s loveliness back. By being her hands, her heart… for each other.

At the local grocer’s, I was looking at the fresh cut flowers, mentally relishing the names of all the flowers Mum loved. I saw the Alstromarias, the Roses (blush pink for the wedding dress she sewed my sister) and the Leukodendrons.  I could almost hear my mother’s voice, patiently showing me how to trim the stems, why we do; chatting as she arranged stems lovingly in a vase. She loved flowers.  I bought the pink roses, the pink and plum-toned Alstromarias she favoured in her garden (they last such a long time, she would say… a brilliant cut flower) and the green and deep burgundy Leukodendrons.  I bought them on behalf of my Mumma, a tribute of her love for my sister.

Earlier, at the hospital pharmacy, my eye was drawn to all the things that Trissy would love. I chose some sugar free jubes, smiling at the memory of how Mum used to squash jubes and marshmallows between thumb and forefinger before popping them into her mouth with a flourish. I chose some jelly beans, because Mum liked them too, she kept them in her handbag and would sneak a few in at an opportune moment. I chose some soap that smelled of Guava, a strong childhood memory portal, that scent.

I feel my Mumma close to me today, as I get ready to see her other girl. My sister and I will chat all weekend about her, about life and love and motherhood and all-the-things.  I look at my hands, looking more and more like I remember hers. The same lines. The same textures and contours. I like that. Her hands, my hands.

Just for a while this weekend; the strength of longing of two girls for their Mum will be satiated by some time spent with someone who understands. Like no other person could.

In the presence of what remains. Each other; sisters, daughters.

Mum’s hands, Mum’s heart.

16 thoughts on “Her Hands”

    1. Thanks Kate… little, but nonetheless. I wanted to write about my Mum’s flowers and how her love is still there, urging me to gather them, arrange them and look at them in wonder. Even as they wilt they are beautiful. Every stage of them.

    1. Thanks Nettie. Aren’t they gorgeous? I’ve enjoyed arranging them. Saying the names of them and thinking about how much Trissy will love them.

  1. How lovely Rach.Hope you have a lovely weekend together.
    Your Mum was my friend when we were young, when the three of us, your mum, your dad and I, use to walk to the bus together. It is lovely to be part of your reminiscing and learn more about her from the years we were apart. Some of that love showed through in her art and gardening but very much in her love for you all.

    Love T

    1. She always used to tell the story about how you were her friend first, before Dad came back from haymaking, and she decided that he was her destiny. (ah… that story always had a fairy tale quality!). She always loved you very much Aunty Tish and had such fond memories of your early years!

  2. Ngaww beautiful. Just this morning rang me sister to see if she could come down from Whangarei to attend an event with me. I really need her by my side. Enjoy your precious time with your sister ❤

  3. How lovely! I find your sister references so moving as I have a deep connection to mine also…..they are extensions of me with different personalities that are the same!
    I miss my Mum so deeply reading your words and I ache for the two of you being together this weekend……
    much love to the two of you…xxxxx

  4. You are so right about hands Rach. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my mums hand and it catches my breath and gives me a warm feeling just for that split second before I realise it is my hand, not hers

  5. How precious is that! We do get some wisdom and possibly mellow as we get older. You girls have wonderful memories of a Precious Mother and she has passed on so much of herself to you two. I know she was so very proud of you and she would be bursting with pride to see what her Precious Girls are up to right now. LOVE

  6. Rachel – I immediately emailed it to my sister. We used to have no tolerance at all for each other. We are still as different as night and day. But our common bonds have grown as we have – our children, home, women’s issues, the list goes on. But the main bond is our love for our mom who is gone. My sister and I are all that is left of our nuclear family – neither of our husbands met her and our daughters remember only snippets. We had very different relationships with our mom – but we loved her, we remember her and we ache for her. Thank you so much for such a beautiful post.

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