Grandpa Timmons couldn't see well through the filmy cataracts forming over his eyes.
"Look," he would say, holding out a skinny tan arm with white blotches and scars.
"I'm a sun worshiper in Florida every winter when it gets cold up here, and these spots don't even show."
I was young enough then that he didn't expect a response. I don't think he liked children. Perhaps I didn't trust him.
. . .
As my tall father began to lose his short battle with lung and brain cancer, we could see purple veins through his thin papery skin. As he died I could finally touch his back and tell him I loved him. Tearfully.
. . .
My mother's skin felt moist and warm after her hysterectomy. She had a lot of skin as she grew older.
She hadn't wanted to linger and tried to tear out the breathing tube. I honored that wish, and spoke with the doctors. We had the doctors increase the morphine.
When she soon became silent, I could touch her cooling skin. I lay down near her on the bed. Her skin gradually grew cold and her breathing stopped.
But I didn't cry until later. Did I tell her I loved her?
. . .
"A routine checkup, Jan?", asked the female dermatologist.
I sat on the paper-covered table wearing a paper "gown" open at the back.
"Might have another problem spot", I said.
"Oh yes," she agreed, even before beginning to examine my body for skin cancer. Once one has had melanoma, skin becomes a liability.
Skin damaged by too much sun as a child. Skin sensitive to touch by lack of boundaries as a child. A body and mind only now learning to say no.
Written at a Handcrafted Words Online Workshop