your hands

It’s been a difficult week. A difficult few weeks, actually.

I hate it when things get hard. And it’s been harder than usual. It’s been so bad that my fingers tingle and the sadness in my heart overwhelms my every cell. Every breath. My entire being.

That’s how it’s been. But it’s getting better. I hope.

Sometimes when I need to be knee-deep in work, writing a story, making a schedule, creating a to-do list, my mind wanders to you. To your health. I wonder what went wrong. When it went wrong. Why you wouldn’t get help. Why you didn’t care enough to take care of yourself.

Sometimes I think of your hands. They’re tan. The veins are large. The nails have a slight curve. You don’t wear polish and rarely wear jewelry. I don’t know why I think of your hands. I just do.

When you called, your words were simple. “I’m going to tell you because you always say I never tell you anything. I had a stroke.”

I remember my mind going in a million directions. You were talking to me. Telling me this. So surely you were fine. Right? But stroke? Stroke?! How could you be fine? You can’t be fine. It’s STROKE.

Then I remembered. It all came flooding back to me. You have no insurance.


You paid your dues. You’ve paid your dues all your damn life. It’s always been so hard. Why does it have to be so hard? Why does my heart hurt so much thinking of how hard it’s been? It shouldn’t be so hard. WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO HARD?

You paid your dues. You had insurance. Till he was laid off. That was only a short few months ago. YOU HAD INSURANCE.

Now you don’t.

Now you’ve had a stroke.

Somehow we talked you into going to the emergency room. But it’s been more than a week since it happened. You haven’t seen a real doctor for probably 30 years. I’m scared. We’re all scared.

I get word that you’re having tests. Then I get word that the hospital turned you away because you don’t have a doctor you currently see. Do they not get it? You’re not only deathly afraid of doctors and hospitals, but you have no insurance. Is this not a clue that you might not actively be seeing a doctor? And how the hell do they turn someone away who is walking around having had a stroke and who has a blood pressure reading of about 200 over 100-plus?

A few days pass. You’ve seen a doctor … you finally have medication. More tests are scheduled.

I finally have the courage and a bit of a clear head to write this. But I’m still freaking out. I’m wringing my hands. I’m biting my lip. I’m trying everything in my power not to fall apart. To lose it. To crumble into a million pieces.

I can’t keep my hands from tingling. Which just reminds me of your hands.

I can’t stop thinking of your hands.


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