The Pain We Carry

In my 51st year I begin to see how much my hands look like yours. My knuckles are thick and ache from holding on with ferocity to something invisible. Something already gone. To anything really to stop the spinning. And my veins burgeon with gelatinous hurt that is taking forms which no longer resemble its origin. That pain rests here as a silent reminder visible to the world.

And, in my 51st year, looking back on the other years that seemed so far away when I began I now see you there, too.  High cheek bones at 34. 39 - determined. Despairing at 46. At 51. A yielding. A softening. At 75? I don’t understand this one yet.  A knowing, maybe. If I’m lucky, I someday will.

As I am growing and come to listen, to both you and to myself, I realize that the greatest reasons that I haven’t understood you until this day are that I embody the very flaws that I assigned so vehemently. As if you were broken. But, it is the same pain we carry differently -  

– but for the hands. 

When you told me through tears that I am enough and that I do enough; I knew then that you see me.

When you urged me to slow down and enjoy my life; I knew then that you cared.

And when you pounded your forearms on the table and uttered the reality that we all have trauma; I felt your heartbeat and pain within my own.

And I cried.

And you cried.

Which I only heard once on the day of his death but I never saw in my 51 years. 

Two delicate, damaged women – a mother and a daughter – bound by intense love for one another which would not be possible in its particular beauty but for pain we both carry –

In our weary hearts.

And with our identical hands.

Christine Lasher