Purple veins strain against the skin.
Pale, translucent, paper thin.
Skinny fingers clawed in monstrous shapes,
Brown spots from years that she can’t erase.
Now wrinkled and fragile, weak and sore,
So many things she can’t do anymore.
Some days she feels she’s been betrayed
By the cruelty of her advancing age.
She rubs her hands to ease the ache
And recalls the life they helped to make.
She looks at them and feels the loss,
Living a life bears a very high cost.
These hands that held her children near,
That gently dried their salty tears.
Hands that held her husband’s tight,
That never let go against the fight.
Miraculous hands that protected and soothed.
Hands, they conveyed her every mood.
Hands so strong they could carry the weight,
That would never give up and never forsake.
Those hands that took little but always gave,
Hands that applauded each achievement made.
Those soft, sweet hands that gently cared,
For those sick or lost in dark despair.
Hands that fussed and fumbled that day
Her husband gave their daughter away.
Those hands holding tight as he slowly died,
Caressing his brow as she stood by his side.
Hands that rocked her grandson to sleep,
That gladly took over when others grew weak.
Hands that once held everyone that she loved,
And prayed for strength to our God above.
Hands that were always so willing to give,
Hands that reveal a life fully lived.
Small, feeble hands, now empty and cold,
These hands that each day will keep growing old.
These hands she now tends to hide away,
These hands that at times make her feel ashamed.
Grotesque and useless in her eyes,
They rest in her lap as she quietly cries.
But I see the hands of a hero so true,
A woman who survived what this life put her through.
A woman whose heart still shimmers like gold,
With the hands of a warrior who made her mark on this world.
More By Pat A. Fleming
Artist Mary Jane Q Cross
Text & image source: Snowwolfs Woodland Nook
“How many years of beauty do I have left?
she asks me.
How many more do you want?
Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.
When you are 80 years old
and your beauty rises in ways
your cells cannot even imagine now
and your wild bones grow luminous and
ripe, having carried the weight
of a passionate life.
When your hair is aflame
and you have decades of
learning and leaving and loving
the corners of your eyes
and your children come home
to find their own history
in your face.
When you know what it feels like to fail
and have gained the
to rise and rise and rise again.
When you can make your tea
on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon
and still have a song in your heart
Queen owl wings beating
beneath the cotton of your sweater.
Because your beauty began there
beneath the sweater and the skin,
This is when I will take you
into my arms and coo
YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING
you’ve come so far.
I see you.
Your beauty is breathtaking.
~ Jeannette Encinias
via Midwives of The Soul
Text & image source: Contemplative Monk