Distracted By Love


holly grantham -distracted by love-3

When I was a little girl
and still too short to see over the hard
church pew
or past the sea of hairdos
in order that I might study
the flowers on the altar,
I used to sidle up under my mother’s arm,
and lean into her softness.
That slanting like a
sigh of honey,
golden and warm.

I was not one to fidget because
I didn’t want to upset her or
act in a way that would elicit
that deep line between
her eyes.
The one that read like a
book of high expectations.
So, I always sat still.
And silent.
It was then that I would
look at her hands.

With both of my hands
I would gather up one of hers,
all milky blue and
soft as crushed velvet.
Cupping it delicately and
I would trace
the outline of each finger and nail,
memorizing each square inch
From time to time
she would look down at me
and smile.
I think she liked me holding
her hand,
distracting her for a moment
with my love.

So many years later,
after I had grown and left and
changed my name,
I came home.
She was now sick and dying,
despite our denial.
It was then that I took to
crawling in bed with her.
And once again,
I took her hands
in mine.

Rivers of blue now ran in
the valleys between her bones and
her paper thin skin was
peppered with memories.
Remarkably, those hands still felt
like crushed velvet.
I suppose
love-worn skin is like that.
And in her last days,
I traced her hands
From time to time
she would look over at me
and smile.
She liked me holding
her hand,
distracting her for a moment
with my love.

Holly Grantham
Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace. After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends that she lives in the country.
Holly Grantham

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  1. Dearest Holly,
    I am just going back a revisiting your posts. I am thankful for the ways you share your mom with us. Her life resonates because of the way in which you honor her in the remembering. Your poems have always touched something deep in both my heart and soul. Thank you for continuing to write with both ache and passion. You are loved dear one

  2. This is so beautiful. I love to look for my daughter when she walks back in to the sanctuary from children’s church. My heart always leaps when I see her. It helps me to imagine that God feels that way about each of us!

  3. sandyhay says:


  4. Brenda-Lee Sasaki says:

    “The one that read like a book of high expectations.”…thank you Holly. Your words feel like a gentle breeze ushering in memories that feel softer, more gracious than previously recalled. Precious.

    • Memory has a way of softening edges, doesn’t it. We are constantly changed and altered by all that we remember.

  5. pastordt says:

    Just past the first anniversary for me, your lovely words resonate in deep places. Thank you.

    • Diana, you’ve been on my mind lately. Blessings to you.

    • These words were actually inspired by your recent reflections on that anniversary, Diana. Your expression of love and devotion stirred me deeply and invited me to, once again, think about the force that was my mother. I’m so glad we have each other to walk this road. It doesn’t matter how old one is, losing one’s mother is life altering.

  6. In these days coming up to the first anniversary of my mother’s passing, your words have touched a tender spot here.I can see that I’ve got some work to do, so thank you.

    • I believe that spot will always be tender, Michele. That’s how you know you have risked love. Thinking of you as you approach this milestone, friend, and knowing the swell of grief that it can bring.

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