Hand in Hand

My grandmother, Nannie, died almost thirty years ago but I still tear up at her memory.

At the time she died I had never written much at all, and certainly not attempted poetry, but the urge to express what she meant to me kept surfacing. Her love of God and her insistence that we would all eventually be together again were on my mind as I thought about writing a poem.

Nannie was a second mother to all of her grandchildren, helping our mothers raise us, watch out for us, worry over us and pray for us.

Just after Nannie died I mentioned to a friend that I had a poem in mind, one that kept surfacing when I least expected it. I mentioned how I wished I’d written something for Nannie before she died so she could have read it. My friend had one response.

“Write it for her anyway.”

And so I did.

Some years later that same friend called to let me know her mother died. In discussing what the family intended to do for a service, my friend said she was going to write some things to say about her mother but wished she’d written them while her mother was still alive. I returned the obvious response.

“Write it for her anyway.”

My friend had long forgotten that she’d given me the same suggestion, one that would encourage me to write my first poem. Nannie wasn’t there to read it, but I wrote it for her anyway:

Hand in Hand

You held me tight in times I might
Not have wanted to stand.
A child so young, life just begun,
You there to hold my hand.

Your years flew past, painfully fast,
Sooner than I had planned.
Effort in talking, weakness in walking,
My turn to hold your hand.

But there’ll come a time, both yours and mine
To see wonderful things, so grand.
We’ll meet in that place, a smile on the face
And we’ll hold each other‘s hand.

Stuart M. Perkins

86 Comments

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86 responses to “Hand in Hand

  1. two things here… a really great poem,… and really good advice (write it anyway). Thanks for sharing your thoughts & heart.

  2. Lovely. It brought tears to my eyes. I believe that most of us that have lost someone we were very close to think later of so much we WISH we’d said. This is a lovely tribute to your Nannie & to the Nannies in all our lives.

  3. Beautiful! You were blessed to have such a loving relationship with your granny. My memories of my maternal grandmother are limited to two visits, both of which were while she was informed and close to her death, bedridden, and essentially silent. My paternal grandmother was a character. She died when I was only 8. Memories of her include a lumpy red/White checkered tablecloth under which she kept everything from facial tissues to quarters. As I would leave her house, she’d pull something out and hand it to me, telling my mom, “Putta pants on dissa kid; she’s acatcha cold!”

  4. Infirmed… not informed! She had Alzheimer’s 😞

  5. Michele L Bordelon

    Love….

  6. shann273

    I wish my Nannie was like yours. Great poem and story..now where’s my box of tissues…

  7. Very sweet! Glad you wrote it!

  8. Ah… this is absolutely beautiful and moved me greatly as I was brought up by my grandmother, who died of dementia a while ago now. Thank you for sharing it, Stuart.

  9. Very sweet. Lovely poem for your grandmother.

  10. Sharon Eshler

    When my grandmother (Nannie) died, we were all heartbroken. As Stu said, she was the second mother for all of us. As a family, we each wrote our memories and stories about her, and named the book Hand in Hand after Stu’s poem. He was able to capture not only the special relationship we shared, but also the impact she’s had on our lives even now.

  11. Diane Lankey

    Oh, Stu, this made me cry. Great memories. Nannie would be so proud of your writing.

  12. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Such a wonderfully written poem. Thank for sharing.

  14. I’m sure she Read and liked your poem as much as we did.

  15. Beautiful poem Stuart,
    Although your Nanny did not read your poem, she read your heart.
    I am sure grandchildren brought her great Joy, a blessing from the Lord.
    Your Nanny reminded me of my own. A Godly woman always praying for children and grandchildren, and helping others.

  16. Hi Stuart, I completely relate! – ‘the urge to express what she meant to me kept surfacing’ – my Dad died 4 years ago and that’s exactly what is happening to me. I decided over the holidays (with encouragement from my husband) to write his biography (it will be a biographical memoir). This was a huge decision, but I know I have to attempt it, as like you say – things keep surfacing….

  17. If we could live as our warm hearted Nana lived, we wouldn’t go too far wrong. I learned about life from my Nana! Lovely share!

  18. lt117

    Wonderful words for a remarkable woman.
    I love this poem.

  19. DIANE RUXER

    Stuart, this is beautiful. I am feeling sad, remembering my mother’s death, just 1 year ago, but it also inspires me to write her a love note. Thanks for this precious poem!

  20. In your poem, you gave back to your grandmother the love she had given to you and responded to her wish to see you all again in heaven. A great tribute to your grandmother, Stuart!

  21. Such a beautiful poem! It can be applied to any person who has been a major influence in our lives.

  22. Loved your poem Stuart: Interesting, I was moved to post a poem of my own yesterday. Hmmmm….

  23. She read it – she’s smiling down on you.

  24. Beautiful tribute to your Nanny. I love your story about poets passing the wisdom to each other to “write it down,”

  25. So sweet. My grandmother was called Nannie, as well. She was beautiful and I miss her still after more than two decades.

  26. LISA P ROBERTSON

    Love this one, hits close to home….

  27. Such a beautiful poem! I am glad you wrote it. You inspired me to write one, myself. 🙂
    Thank you!

  28. You certainly know how to pull our heart strings. May your Nannie’s legacy continue in your family. I wrote this when my own grandmother died. It was a healing thing to do. I hope it will bless you as your poem has blessed me.

    Gran, you have gone to realms beyond our knowing
    So many memories you have left behind
    The fun and laughter we enjoyed as children
    As Bamar and Pampi you were always kind.
    And yet the years have passed and we’ve grown older
    The baby nicknames dropped as immature,
    But still, you held us close within your heart, Gran,
    I never doubted that your love was sure.
    And now your death has brought to end an era
    A time of war and peace and childhood dreams,
    You’ve gone and left behind a child who’s poorer,
    Yet memory of you still brightly gleams.
    And through the years those memories I’ll cherish
    And so begins the birth pangs of a plan.
    Maybe one day I too will have a grandchild
    Who hugs me close and loves to call me Gran.

  29. Absolutely touching. Well done.

  30. Perfect Stuart. You grandmother is smiling on you now.
    -Alan

  31. Such a beautiful tribute Stuart.

  32. Love these reflections — both the prosaic and the poetic. (Not that the prose is devoid of poetry!) The memories are more than memories. As I ponder my mother’s aging and my own, this was good to read.

  33. Pingback: Sunday Post – 12th January, 2020 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost | Brainfluff

  34. BETH

    Believe me. Grandmothers need those poems before they die. But writing them after she is gone must help the grandsons too.

  35. Amy D. Williams

    I had a Nanny with a “y”. I enjoyed this.

  36. This is a really great story thank you for this!!

  37. Sweet remembrance and hope. I loved it. Thanks for writing it down and sharing.

  38. jasonlikestotravel

    This is a beautiful poem, glad you wrote it anyway 🙂

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