They look like big, good, strong hands

A focused memoir in 200 words.

I wipe the dribble of gravy running down his chin through the three-day stubble, his head leaning to the left. Dad’s eyes pop a little wider to acknowledge the attention, probably feeling embarrassed. He does not want to blemish the new orange soccer sweatshirt emblazoned with the Dutch flag.  The hands which deftly shuffled a deck of cards and splayed a full hand for selection can no longer grasp the cup of juice to bring the straw closer for a drink.

When Mom was alive, they waited anxiously for vacation breaks in anticipation of our two children spending a week at their home, playing catch in the yard, working the garden, picking the vegetables. The evenings would be capped around the table, counting the wins and losses in the penny stakes card game. On other days, the kids would accompany Dad to the Canadian Institute for the blind to deliver the canes he repaired in his retirement as a machinist. Those same hands are incapable of holding a fork and knife. The tools must be managed by the long-term care staff.

I lift another bite sized morsel to Dad’s mouth. He keeps it closed, drops his head. He is done.

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