Monday, May 12, 2008

The hand project IX: Health & Strength

My mom's hands

When I began this project I never thought my mom would be in it. Her hands are a tough reflection of a devastating chronic disease that started to twist her bones over twenty five years ago. But her hands are also a sign of a tenacity out of this world, a sign of life resistance, resistance to these circumstances that nobody asked for, that came uninvited to stay.
A few days ago a friend and I were chatting about our moms during our childhood days. I was scared when I realized I don't remember her that much in those days. I keep memories related to our family photo album, but most of them have vanished. They are not there. It is here with me the image of my mom trying to open a door with a stiff hand that wouldn't respond; from that moment on I remember it all. My mom's presence turned physical with that disease.
However, this ain't a sad story. Far from it. My mom never surrendered. She refuses to use her wheelchair if she can spare it, she keeps on cooking, even if she needs to use her inventiveness more than others to do so, she enjoys her granddaughters and she walkes. She's walking further in time that any of the doctors ever dreamed of. There's nobody as tenacious and stubborn as her, so determined to do things as long as she can. Or longer.
I never thought I could count on her for the project. Although hers is a survival lesson, she is a discreet person and shy about her hands, always trying to hide them from sight. I promised her not to post any pictures.


Cuando empecé con este proyecto dudaba mucho que mi madre quisiera participar. Sus manos son un duro reflejo de una enfermedad devastadora que le comenzó a retorcer los huesos hace más de veinticinco años. Pero también son la prueba de una tenacidad sin parangón, de una vida de resistencia a unas circunstancias que nadie pidió, que se presentaron sin ser invitadas para permanecer toda la vida.
Hace unos días hablaba con una amiga de la imágen que teníamos de nuestras madres durante nuestra infancia. Me asustó darme cuenta que apenas me acuerdo. Guardo imágenes relacionadas con el album de fotos familiar, pero muchos de mis recuerdos se han borrado. No están. La imágen de mi madre intentando abrir la puerta con una mano rígida que no le respondía sí que está ahí; y a partir de ese momento me acuerdo de todo. La presencia de mi madre se hizo física con la enfermedad.
Sin embargo, esta no es una historia triste. Mi madre, por cabezonería o por visión personal, se niega a usar la silla de ruedas si no es estrictamente necesario, sigue cocinando, aunque tenga que revolver la comida de la cazuela con ingenio, se ocupa de sus nietas y camina, mucho tiempo después de que los médicos lo creyeran posible. No hay persona más tenaz, convencida de que puede, y mientras pueda, no hay nada que la pare.
Nunca creí que fuera a poner sus manos para este juego. Y aunque su vida es una lección de supervivencia, es muy pudorosa y tiende a esconder sus manos para que nadie las vea. le prometí que no pondría fotos.


Today's music/Música hoy:
Sara Vaughn, Patti Smith...

18 comments:

Jorge said...

Muy bien...

Aran said...

Nuestras madres si que son los pilares de la tierra... seremos nosotras asi? Me pregunto...

Esti said...

aran, no tengo ni la doceava parte del valor, coraje, paciencia y aguante al sufrimiento que mi madre. Del valor de una madre tan sólo te das cuenta más tarde...

Anonymous said...

Tu madre (mi suegra) es la persona con mayor fuerza mental que conozco. Todo un ejemplo para los sanos y los menos sanos.
Este es un post muy emotivo para los que le conocemos.

Your mother (my mother-in-law) has the greatest mental strength that I know. An inspiration for both the healthy and the ill.
A highly emotional post today, for those of us who know her.
Husband

Esti said...

gracias, husband.

Lucía said...

Los que se desalientan ante cualquier nimiedad deberían aprender del coraje y fuerza de voluntad de personas como tu madre.
Es una lección para todos.
Un abrazo.

mado&co said...

La madre..solo tenemos una...uniqua, maravilhosa...que aprendemos a entender mejor cuando volvemos a ser "madre" tambièn!

pia said...

oh esti. i have tears.

your mother and my mother share the same disease. as soon as i saw your drawing i knew. your description of your childhood, and the strength of your mother is a mirror to my own.

thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

xx

mansuetude said...

beautifully done, esti!
Happy mother's day to both of you. Your mother's hands are imprinted on you, she carried you onwards so we could now enjoy your soulfullness, too. thanks.

mansuetude said...

ps -- going to listen to ms Sara vaughn ... :)

FruensWerk said...

Do you know what ?...These are SO wonderfull hands...
give them lots of kisses...
I truly like when things not perfect...I see the real beauty...the real life...full of strength...
Say hello to her from me...with a warm hug :D

Raquel said...

qué maravilla de madre tienes!

Ciara said...

What an amazing woman! You must be very proud of her. Thank you for sharing her with us and for celebrating her too.

Esti said...

gracias a todos por unos comentarios tan bonitos.

Thanks everybody for such nice comments.

pia, give your mom a hug from me. And here's a hug for you too. :)

Kelly C. said...

much love to you, dear esti. this project continues to move and inspire.
*

when skies are grey said...

Oh Esti, it's always nice to come here to read your words, your stories and thoughts always touching. I'm sure you mom is as proud of you as you of she...you are a great example of pushing forward with a dream. It's great to watch your hand project as it unfolds.

Jill said...

Esti, thanks for a wonderful portrait of your mother and for sharing so much about your family through your words, photos and drawings. It's really moving to hear your mother's story and inspirational to know how much she is able to live her life on her own terms.

Christine said...

What a powerful and inspiring post. To talk of the unspoken, see what we are reluctant to show, to be proud, strong and stubborn. And to see beauty in the un-common. It is inspiration to us all. Thank you