Monday, September 3, 2012

Daddy's Hands

The first action she would ever have taken the initiative on with her Dad would have been to wrap her minuscule, newborn hand around his finger. And with that one action she had him wrapped around her finger for all time.

I imagine how he cradled her in his two strong hands, rocking her to sleep, singing her a lullaby. Her tiny hands would have clung to his as she learnt to walk.

I picture them walking together as she started the adventure of school, her little hand reaching up to his big one for reassurance.

Did he teach her to ride a bike, to drive, his hands guiding her fledgling efforts as he set her on the paths of new, greater independence?

Their hands would have held her mother's and each other's in those last agonizing days before their loved one was finally released from the pain and the suffering of the previous months.

Twenty-plus years ago the man who had won her heart would have asked her Dad for her hand; father and daughter walked up the aisle on her wedding day, her hand in the crook of his arm. He relinquished that hand to the man he trusted would take care of her for the rest of her life, loosening his grasp on her life but knowing that there was a corner of her heart that remained his alone.

His hands welcomed her two sons to the world as tenderly as he had welcomed her, and he took great joy in their accomplishments, in their palpable affection for him. As he became less mobile they would prop themselves right next to his wheelchair, wanting to be close to him, and his hand would instinctively reach for their wrists, their hands.

She has been by his bedside throughout these last racking days. She and Char have spelled each other off so that each of them could snatch a few hours of sleep, forced by their exhaustion, when the last thing they wanted to do was to miss even a moment with their dearly beloved lying there in his hospital bed. Her hands have stroked his forehead, adjusted blankets, swabbed dry lips. This morning her hands lovingly smoothed the pillows and made sure that he was comfortable. Looking at him closely she said suddenly, "I think he wants his hand out from under the covers"; and indeed he immediately seemed more comfortable when she freed it up from the weight of the light, warm red blanket.

She held his large hand between both her smaller ones. He opened his tired eyes, their blueness so close in shade to her own, and gazed at her.

This evening she had to fly home. Her boys start school in a couple of days and, as Brian's friend Dr Reedyk said to her this morning with great kindness in his voice, "Life has to go on ..." 

As she prepared to leave the hospital room it was her turn to loosen her grasp on her father's hand. For the first time in her life she had to let him go.The place in her heart that she has kept just for him was shattering in a million pieces. How do you say goodbye to the first man who ever loved you, the one man who has loved you every single day of your life?

There was nothing for her to do but to relinquish his hand to the Man she must trust to take care of him for the rest of his life, the Man whose hands will carry him to a place of no more pain, no more tears, no more partings.

She placed his hands in his Father's hands and whispered a broken I love you, Dad.


  1. Beautifully written Karen. How precious. Dear Brian he was a good Dad and husband.

    It stirs memories of my Dad's hands...I took some pictures the year before he died of his hands with my girls hands they are treasures.

    Blessings as you continue to care for others. My thoughts and prayers are with Char, Brian and their family


  2. I wept! ... There is no hope without the hope of Jesus, the Man Whose broken hands bind ours together, hold ours when there's no-one left, bring us joyously to the home of His Father, lovingly holding on tight through the valley of the shadow of death. He will never let us go. He will never let this father and daughter go, and in His hands, unseen yet real, theirs continue to touch, holding on to love that has overcome all obstacles. Thank you for this beautiful picture and piece of heaven on earth.

  3. Your blog yesterday was beautiful. You have an amazing gift of words, and captured my feelings so well. Will miss holding my dad's hand, but am glad he's with Jesus, and HE is holding mine as well.


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