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  • Lisa Molina

When We Held Hands

by Lisa Molina

“You have your father’s hands.” I said immediately when the nurse placed your tiny waxy wet body into my arms. Fingers thin and long.

Three years later, I held one of your hands as you wailed at the shock of pain, when nurse pricked one of those fingers; The blood soon revealing your body was full of leukemia cells.

I held your hands throughout the thirty-eight months of chemotherapy, clumps of your hair falling into my hands as I would wash it, until none was left.

I felt those tiny hands as fists banging on my chest because you were so furious that this “medicine” that was going to make you well made you feel so sick.

I felt those hands squeezing mine across the table eight years later when the cancer returned.

“Mom, I don’t want to die. Tell me I’m not going to die. Please! Tell me I won’t die.”

I sat caressing your hand while nurses and a doctor worked furiously to revive you while you lay unconscious in septic shock, nearly dying, remembering the day I first saw and held them through a blur of tears.

And I held those skeleton-like hands two years later when the cancer was now in your brain; And the umbilical cord blood of an unknown savior child was transplanted into your withering, nearly-dead body…. resurrecting you.


You’re twenty-four now, free of the grip of cancer. We haven’t held hands in many years; But I look at them often, hoping you don’t notice; And I smile softly as I watch those beautiful, long-fingered hands you inherited from your father, pulsate with movement and Life.

And I can still feel them holding mine.

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