when I look at my hands, I see hers

Monday, October 3, 2011

Well, it happened fast. My grandma passed away last week, comfortably and at home. It was quiet and peaceful, and she was surrounded by family. Because of New Ulm’s annual Oktoberfest and the traffic that flocks to town for the weekend, the funeral was postponed a few days later than it was intended to be.

As it works out, she will be buried today, which is the same date that my mother died twenty-one years earlier. Wherever they are, however they are, I bet their reunion was one for the books.

My grandma taught me never to go to bed angry and how to give a proper hug. To pull weeds from the start of their roots and how to make a chocolate malt taste old fashioned. To go against the grain at my leisure, and to play the high notes of a Chopsticks duet.  To curse with fervor. To blame an accidental fart on the most unsuspecting person in the room, or to just pretend it never happened in the first place.

Lately when I look at my own hands, I see hers – just with less experience.

Long, thin fingers, wrinkled knuckles, deep nail beds, pronounced veins.

She loved unconditionally, more than anyone I’ve ever known.

She lived.

And I’m really going to miss her.


  • Mary Jo

    Flo indeed lived life fully. I remember all the stories you’d share with us. Her pink car… I now know why you don’t fess up to your farts even though we always know they are yours ;)… Well maybe they aren’t always yours.

    I love you Jacqui and my thoughts are with you and your family. besos y 포옹 (hug)

    • jlgabel

      Thanks, MJ. Love you too. For many reasons, one being because you hug and kiss multilingually, and also because you still think farts are funny. xo.