Holding hands and holding on

“Have you ever really held the hand of someone you love? Not just in passing, a loose link between you – but truly clasped, with the pulses of your wrists beating together and your fingers mapping the knuckles and nails like a cartographer learning a country by heart?” 
― Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls

I am finding words hard at the moment, so I have borrowed the ones above. For six years I learned the map of Zoe’s hands, and now it is a territory forever imprinted on my heart.

When she passed away, Lisa from Features Forever made a mold of her hands and yesterday the stone casts of them arrived in the middle of a rainstorm, a small parcel on my doorstep.

As I opened it, I wondered how it would feel to touch and see the cold casts. Would it seem strange and unfamiliar? One of the terrible things about grief is the fear of forgetting the exact features of your loved one.

But as I started to unwrap them, and just the ends of her little fingers became visible, I felt instant recognition, a memory made of flesh, beyond words or images. My body knows this little body.

Features Forever cast of Zoe's hands
I’ll end with another quote, from Sylvia Plath “What did my hands do before they held you?”

4 thoughts on “Holding hands and holding on

  1. Hi Kiri – I am so glad that you have Zoe's hand casts with you where they belong. I was with Lisa that day as it was me who agreed to contribute towards the cost of them for you (Sands Manukau). I also have Zoe's hand and footprints that were taken that day as well. I didn't know how to contact you so was thrilled to see this blog knowing I could contact you this way. If you could get in touch with me we can arrange to get these to you. admin@sandsmanukau.co.nz 0278726901 Thanks Kiri. Sarah xx


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