Friday, September 12, 2014

A Narrative Essay: Holding Hands

In about 45 minutes I will stop typing, eat some breakfast, take a shower, and pack my black suit.  I will be leaving for my 4th funeral in 2 years, and that number doesn't include the number of funerals I've not been able to attend.  I wonder if this is the real sign of being an adult; if that being an adult has nothing to do with grey hair, sore muscles, and numbers of years, and has everything to do with the numbers of funerals we attend for people we love?

When I was yet well away from being an adult, a little kid still a few feet from being as tall as my grandmother, we used to walk together.  We would, as is normal for a grandmother walking a young grandchild, hold hands.  She never just held my hand, though.  She would slightly squeeze it, three times, once for "I," once for "love," and once for "you."  

As a small child I thought, of course, that if I understood the squeeze, everyone must understand it.  I tested it on my grandfather, and he got it and squeezed back.  I tested it on my dad, and he got it and squeezed back!  My mom and my aunt got it, too!  I tested it on everyone I knew, and everyone I knew got it!  As I got older I would use this squeeze when I held hands with other people, and some would understand it, squeeze back.  Some would not get it, misunderstand, and either I'd let go or they'd let go.  As I got even older, I would use it as a test on unsuspecting dates.  Those that couldn't get it didn't last very long.  It was a good test.

My grandmother and I used the squeeze every chance we got to see each other, which wasn't enough for either one of us.  Over time, the squeeze developed into a conversation.

"Squeeze squeeze squeeze," for "I love you."
"Squeeze squeeze," for "How much?"
"Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze," in response.

My grandmother and grandfather were both buried on the same day.  As people were standing graveside with their own thoughts, I had only 3 squeezes in my head.  As people were standing to explain to all of us what my grandparents meant to them, I had "squeeze, squeeze, squeeze" in my head.  During the luncheon? "Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze."  The flight home?  "Squeeeeeeeeeeeze."

Today I am going to my 4th funeral in 2 years.  I will go with my husband to honor his uncle.  I will make us some breakfast, we will take our showers, and we will pack our suits.  I will stand with him and hold his hand, and I will squeeze three times, and he will get it.  Today I will think of all the love we have for the amazing person we've lost, and it won't just be a sad day, although it will be a sad day.  I will make today another reminder to never take any opportunity to squeeze for granted, to squeeze with everyone I want to squeeze as often as I can.

Want to read more about narrative essays?  Try

Prewriting a Narrative Essay
Why Write a Narrative Essay
The Use of Narrative Assignments in Introductory Literature Courses

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Please contact the author for permission to republish.

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