Life Matters


Hands tell a story about the person. This is why so many artists like to include the hands of the person in their work. Hands are unique, just like the person. Take a look at your hands and then look at others. How are they alike and how are they different?

Every healthy hand has four fingers and a thumb. It is our hands that enabled us to make our way in the world. We took our first step by hanging on to a piece of furniture while we learnt to walk. Our hands helped us do things as simple as buttoning a shirt to putting on a sock or tying up a shoe or combing our hair. A hand as Aristotle said is the ‘tool of tools’. Our hands used wisely are our enablers. Enabling us to love, to heal, to show kindness, generosity, hospitality and more!

My sister Christine has great hands. Earlier this year in Brisbane we celebrated my birthday. Hands enable us to hold a glass of wine. A merry heart is a good medicine.

My thoughts moved to hands when I was with my mother in her final weeks of life. As we held hands, she would have a comment about our hands. My sister Debbie and I gave our mother hand massages. She said to me ‘Kathryn you need more hand cream, your hands are dry’. I told her it must be to with my often hand washing; chores in the kitchen and tending to the chickens – each time another hand washing event! Then my mother held my sister Trish’s hand and she told her she had worker’s hands – ‘You are a hard worker Trish’. Then another sister Debbie has beautiful elongated fingers with manicured fingernails. She is in the beauty business and cares for her hands. She was also blessed with genetically beautiful hands.

Debbie’s hand. Her hands are even more beautiful when you see them for yourself.

I held my father’s hand as he passed away years ago. His hands were rugged. They spoke to me of strength, power and protection. Just like the hands of my ‘One and Only’ (O&O). However, his hands while they are strong Irish hands have a softness that quickly returns even after manual work.

My mother’s hands in the photo just before she passed away show a lifetime of living and working in the Queensland sunshine. Of bringing up six children and of hard work. When the photo was taken the week before her passing, there were also signs of arthritis.

My mother’s hands.

My mother’s hands held us when we wept, held us when life was unsteady or when we celebrated a milestone in our life’s journey. Our mother’s hands gave us generosity, comfort and stability. To others this included hospitality. It could have been to a stranger or an old or new found friend.

A touch of the hand on another’s arm let’s them know you care. There can be an absence of words. Sometimes words get in the way of allowing a caring touch to tell their own story.

I received a card in my letterbox, just picked up this morning. In part it said ‘Valma’s spirit of love, kindness and compassion are her gifts to all of us’. Not all of this was expressed solely from her hands, it was a combination of head, heart and hands that expressed the true Valma and a mother’s love. For that, my siblings, grand-children and great grand-children will long remember her with a grateful heart.

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