Tag Archives: dad

Reach for Me

Daddy's Hands

Lying awake too early this morning, I stare up, into the darkness. My mind is unable to reconcile all the things that are happening, the new uncertainties. In bed with my husband by my side, to my left, I feel his warmth. Unwilling to wake him from his sound sleep, I gently offer my right hand out from under the sheets. As my desperate mind struggles, my soul reaches for help. With my palm turned up, God, the Universe, knows that I’m in need. Maybe, especially this morning, one of those who have passed will come take my hand, reach for me. I feel a coolness in my right palm. Maybe it’s the AC, the tiny fan beside of my bed, or Mamaw, Mom, Mamaw Mamie, or the one who just recently passed, Dad.

I think of Dad, his hands, and how he used them. The old home movie of him making mattresses plays in my head. He’s so handsome and strong. I recall his special way of holding his props, coffee cup, cigarette, and keys, as he paused to watch birds eat a few seeds. I see his manicured fingers pulling the lawn mower up the steep bank in front of our house. I remember him popping the hood of my car to check the oil. Each time three dips and wipes to make sure he had an accurate read.

My mind goes back to just over a week ago. As Dad lay in his hospice bed, I admired his handsome hands that I held in mine. I noticed that my nails had gotten long, which only happens when I haven’t been doing the things I should. I considered my life, creative work, and why I’d placed so much on hold. I wondered, did he ever do the same? “Daddy, did you ever want to be and artist, or do anything creative?” I asked. “Yes,” he said, “I liked to draw horses when I was young.” That was his simple response. With those few words he told me a lot. He was a bit of a dreamer, much like me. We both love being outdoors and prefer buzzing, living things with wings to those that talk. I think of how strong and gentle he was, how he paid attention to details.

This morning, I imagine Dad drawing pictures of horses as he longed to be out, free. For him sanctuary was a blue sky, green grass, and colorful birds in the trees. I daydream for him. Dad quietly asks the horse to come down, gently reaching his hand out to barely pet her nose. He whispers to her, “Shhh, shhh, it’s ok.”

As the sun comes up, my husband, reaches for me, and pulls me in tight. I embrace him. With my right hand clinging to his arm, I feel his warmth, his life. I know that it’s all unfolding as it should. My husband and I are not alone, our needs will be met. There is comfort in his arms.

Biscuits and Buckshot (At Her Front Door)

Mamaw Mamie

Mamaw Mamie

A chain gang was at her front door and the men were hungry. Mamaw Mamie was at home alone with her young children and she couldn’t ignore the men in need. Gathering her children together, she went to the kitchen for biscuits. Mamaw Mamie, in her apron, went to the door with the children lined up behind her. She offered a plate of biscuits with one hand while holding a shotgun, behind her back, in the other.

When my aunt shared this story with me a few years back, it really stuck with me, not exactly as she told it (cornbread and courage), but as I remember it (biscuits and buckshot). I’ve come to realize that these types of biscuits and buckshot choices are with me every day. In making these decisions, I would hope to be as generous as my mamaw Mamie. My dad and aunt certainly are.  Growing up, my dad and aunt were so good at taking care of mamaw Mamie, returning kindness and generosity that she showed them and so many others. With those examples you might think it would be easy for me, but I often let fear keep me from being open to give.

What choice I would have made? I don’t have children and I’ve never experienced a chain gang asking for help, but I do see people in need each day. I fear what I see. I don’t fear the people in need, but I fear the situations I see them in. I’ve been hungry with little food. I’ve felt homeless at times. I’ve often been in need with few people I could call on. Seeing anyone going without makes me sad and it scares me. I know where I’ve been and I fear that I will someday be right where they are.

Recently, I signed up to volunteer at the local homeless shelter. I thought about it carefully. This was a mindful decision and I feel that I’m ready. Still, I am a little afraid. I don’t want to break down and cry in front of the people I’m trying to help. With a few prayers, I’ll face my fear and try to help like mamaw Mamie did. I have to.