I remember the smell of her fragile hands. They smelt like onions, chemo and Dusk fragrance. They were often full of holes and bruises and covered in plasters that were meticulously and gently removed by our then 4-year old pug, Rumpels. Her nails were always long, but never painted. They were discoloured because she smoked.
I see her hands in mine sometimes – the hands of a strong woman. The veins in her hands always made me think of a map. They were always visible and bumpy. Much like mine.
With her weary hands she fed us, held us, bathed us. She cooked, cleaned, picked up after us. She wrote. She loved to write. Letters and poetry. She loved crosswords too. She consoled us when we needed comfort and slapped us on the hands when we needed discipline. She made us koeksisters and piesangbrood as padkos when we traveled to the cost. She ate trays and trays of ice in the bath every night. She took care of our father when he lost his basic motor skills in a car accident. She taught him to walk, eat and speak again. She healed him. With her healing hands. Her strong woman hands, she raised three children and a full-grown man.
She gave with those hands. She was tired and sore and sick, but she did what she could. She was involved with CANSA. She planned events, helped with their books. She made sure sick people, like her, were more comfortable. She fought for them. She fought for help for them. She was strong.
Her strong hands; her strong spirit. My Wild Angel.