Our hands express love, passion, courage, protection, trust. With age, the lines in our hands hold all of our experiences, the feeling of love and loss, and they tell our story.

After dreaming for almost a year about this project and with the help of a dear friend, I finally got to photograph the hands of sweet residents at an assisted living home that my six-year-old son and I volunteer at. (My son calls it the “Home for Grandmas and Grandpas.”)

They each held or touched something with their hands that were important or meaningful to them: a rosary, a souvenir from a trip taken long ago, a hymnal, an artist with her paintbrushes, piano keys, Scrabble, a turtle “good luck charm,” and a new love… I love the stories that hands tell; I am always drawn to them. We hold the things we cherish the most in our hands… or we hold them tight when we need strength during difficult times.

This home of grandmas and grandpas has been so incredible for my son and I. I lost my grandma two years ago and my grandpa just last year and I miss talking to them. I miss their stories and the familiar sounds I would hear when I would walk into their house. Their little dog yapping, the TV was blaring “The Price is Right,” and my grandma yelling to my grandpa to get her more coffee.

My grandpa used to tell the same stories over and over again about when he was in the Navy. He would take us on walks when we were kids, picking huckleberries, or blackberries along the way. My grandma would be so excited when we were in town to visit them, that she would tell EVERYONE (the pharmacist at Rite Aid, the store clerk at The Market- all total strangers.) I would always smile as my face burned with embarrassment, but I loved that woman and how proud I made her as a granddaughter. She was the most thoughtful and loving person, and I feel so lucky she was my grandma.

This home has been a place of healing for me and a chance to connect to a generation I love and admire. I love hearing about their lives and the memories that live strong in their minds.

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