Writing this down so I don't forget it.
The pic is from last week at the nursing home, but last night I was sitting with my mom in much the same way, holding her hand, when she told me my hands were cold. (Actually they weren't--hers were--but I don't argue with my mama these days.)
I let go of her hand I was holding and put it under the blanket. A few minutes later she asked, "Where are your hands?"
I showed her. "Right here, Mom."
Then she asked, "Where are your daddy's hands?" (Earlier in the day she had asked where my daddy was. He died 22 years ago.) I told her, "Daddy's hands are in heaven, with him."
Then she asked, "Where are my [her] hands?" I couldn't help giggling a little as I showed her her own hands.
Later I was talking to Evan (my 12-year-old) and told him about the whole exchange, which I took to be indicative of her confusion. He said, "That's kind of like when I was a baby and you would ask me where everything was: Where's your nose? Where are your eyes? Where are your fingers? Where are your toes? Where are your hands?"
Oh. Wow. Confusion? Maybe. Or maybe, memories.
Update, one year later: I just had another memory about hands that happened after this post was written. Just a little while before she died I was holding my mom's hand. Suddenly she started squeezing mine--hard! So hard! I didn't know she had that much strength left in her. I don't know if she knew she was about to go and was saying goodbye or trying to hold on. But I will never forget that squeeze.