Friday, November 11, 2011

So much more than just praying hands

When I was a little girl I spent a relatively decent amount of time at my Grandma and Granddaddy's house. My Granddaddy was one of my favorite people in the whole world. He was always happy to see me and always had time for me. Even though he had 10 other grandchildren to love, whenever I was with him I felt like I was his whole world.

Granddaddy, much like my own dad, was a big story-teller. Being Catholic, my grandparents had a little statue of praying hands sitting on a side table in their living room.

I didn't know they were praying hands. I didn't know much about them at all, actually, so one day while Granddaddy sat peeling potatoes at the dining room table I asked him what that statue was.

Granddaddy smiled and told me a story of two brothers. The two brothers came to this country, poor as could be. They came here on a boat from a country far away and their dream was to make it in America.

Those brothers struggled at first. They were poor, hungry, and looking for work. They had no place to live and were dirty and slept out in the cold. In time, they both found jobs and worked hard to make something of themselves. They helped each other and before long, they both had successful businesses and homes that were warm and clean. They each got married to beautiful girls and had children who became great people.

In the end of the story those two brothers were so proud of themselves that they gave each other a high five. And that's what that statue was, their high five.

When Granddaddy died I was barely 9 years old and he was the first person I had ever known to die. It was unbelievable to me that he was gone forever. No more trips to Cumberland Farms to pick out ice cream from the cold case, no more being thrown on the bed over and over again until poor Granddaddy was exhausted but still did it "one more time" just to make me laugh, no more sitting in his lap as he watched one football game on the television and had another on the radio, no more of his stories, smiles, or laughter.

I remember so clearly my dad telling me that Granddaddy had died. We were sitting in my mom and dad's bedroom and I stared at him blankly and said "Okay" and left the room.

I went into my sister's old bedroom, which had been turned into a guest bedroom at the time and I sat on the bed with my back to the door and stared out the window. My mom came in and said "Honey, it's okay to cry."

But I couldn't cry. I couldn't even fathom it being a reality that he was gone.

Days later, after the funeral, my Grandma sat me down and gave me those hands. "Granddaddy wanted you to have these."

It was then that I cried.

I still have those hands, over 28 years later. They went with me to multiple apartments in college, home again, to my first home, and now to our home here. And every time I look at them I smile and remember his story.


The Virtuous Girl said...[Reply to comment]

Ok ... that made me cry. I always think of Grandaddy when I see praying hands. What a wonderful man he was. What a huge impact he made on those around him. How blessed we were to have his love, his joy and his laughter to help mold our young lives. I still miss him and his infectious smile. But, I have comfort knowing that he is in heaven watching over us, cheering us on in his incredibly sweet, tender and loving way.