War damage. It’s inevitable. The wounded come back and need care. Some injured warriors are more fortunate than others. Some have caregivers that do not give up on them. These caregivers give everything they have, and more, to their soldier. They are an undeniably deep well of love, compassion, commitment and strength.
The hands creating the pottery in this series of photographs are those of a caregiver of a wounded warrior. Not just any caregiver’s hands but that of a sister. A sister, who has cared for this brother deeply for many years, having adopted him as a young teen, then sees him off to war and wraps her heart and arms around him when he returns injured.
When you are with them it doesn’t take long to realize that this injured soldier’s healing is what it is through the determined, caring hands of his sister. Just as she moves the clay from lumpy clump to a strong, and beautiful, pot so she does with her brother and the wounds he sustained over there.
As you watch her confidently spinning and guiding the mass of clay, you just know she is the reason he is doing so well, that she never gave up on him, that she doesn’t hover but doesn’t stray too far either. You just know her strong and caring hands have guided him from devastation to the road to recovery.
A unique piece of pottery is bound by a number of elements, yet the most important is the way the hands work the clay. The hands get their energy from the heart, the place where all emotion resides, to create and shape a unique, irreplaceable work of art…just as this caregiver has with her wounded warrior since the day he came home from war.
~ Mary Hahn Ward, 2016 Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellow, NC
~ The hands, the heart, this piece is of Jennifer Mackinday, Elizabeth Dole Fellow Alumni
First published September 28, 2014