These are the hands that held me as I took my first breaths.
The hands that fed me and changed my diapers and rocked me to sleep at night.
The hands that helped me learn to crawl and walk and later, ride a bike.
These are the hands that packed my lunches and helped me with homework and cheered me on at countless games.
The hands that made my Halloween costumes and wrapped my presents at Christmas.
The hands that helped me get ready for school dances and plays and graduations.
These are the hands that comforted me when girls at school were harassing me and gave me a high-five when I got suspended for sticking up for myself.
The hands that took care of me after I had major brain surgery and helped me pack for college just a few months later.
The hands that helped me paint my room in the sorority house and always sent me money when I needed it, even though she knew I spent it all on booze and cigarettes.
These are the hands that have always loved me no matter how difficult I made it seem.
The hands that have always clapped the loudest and always been the first to dry my tears.
The hands that have always put my needs before her own, even to this day when she tries to offer me the food I’m feeding her.
These are the hands that gave me life and made me who I am.
The hands that taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, both given and received.
The hands that have guided me through life, even on the darkest days, even when she didn’t know it.
And I will do anything and everything in my power to be there, right by her side, holding these hands, as she takes her last breaths.
It’s the least I can do.
This post originally appeared on the Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s Facebook page.