My cousin works taking care of disabled children in a group home, and was asking us for ideas about what to get to put in the plastic Easter eggs for the Easter egg hunt. But it couldn’t be candy or stickers. What, we said? So we started to think.
Yeah, not going to happen, but we had fun thinking about them.
But, the real question is, what would be a sign of new life to put in the eggs?
I recently got a voice mail message that expressed condolences and commiseration over my recent few months of challenges, and the caller thought she had heard that my dog had also died. That gave me a bit of a laugh, and a note back to the caller.
To be clear, I don’t own a dog, and therefore my dog hasn’t died. Now, this evening I did have about 15 minutes of panic when Brandy (the cat who disappeared for 25 days) didn’t come when called, and I feared that she’d gone off the balcony again. That quickly dissipated when I clinked her food bowl and she showed up for her evening snack. And she got a hug, let me tell you!
No, I’m not Job (he of the travails in the Old Testament) by any stretch of the imagination. I have had a bad stretch of events strung together, but I mostly have my health, I have plenty of resources to see me through this time, and family and friends to support me. My heart has been rended in a couple of ways, but I do trust in God that it will heal with reflection and time.
Now, onto the fiber-related important things. I am casting on multiple items – I feel a real need to knit a bunch of things now.
The Dark and Stormy sweater is coming along – I’ve fiddled a bit with stitch counts, added some short rows, and loving it. I’m just hoping that my approach to the sleeve caps and sleeve widths works out. I won’t really know until the end of the knitting.
And then I cast-on for a sweater for Afghans for Afghans – I’m so excited that there will be another sweater campaign. This is out of Ecological Wool from Cascade. I’m using a template size from Sweaters 101, and added in a cable detail along the front of the cardigan.
The heathery color is nice, but I think I will dye the sweater once it is knitted, since this is headed to a school, and I think a little girl will be more enamored with a lovely blue, purple, or green.
Then there’s the lovely and amazing Blue Heron Rayon Metallic – I’ve lusted after knitting this yarn for a long time, and now is the time to knit something for a friend who has lost her dad after a long illness. Which leads me to share a realization – I checked my Ravelry library a few days ago, and because I”ve input the books and magazines that I own, Ravelry tells me how many patterns I have – and it is over 2,000. 2,000! which is far more than I will ever knit in a lifetime, and I’m a pretty fast knitter. That was a gut check on my own acquisition habits!
So, in looking at the Blue Heron, I knew that I needed to find something in the library — that I need to be celebrating and enjoying what I have. And I have picked Sherilyn, a lace shawl pattern by Ysolda Teague. I think the simplicity of the main body will highlight the yarn well, and the edge will give me something to be interested in doing at the end. I’m knitting this in the lovely plum colorway, which will be perfect for the recipient’s skin tone.
Then there’s a little hat that I want to knit up in lovely Madeline Tosh with a honeycomb stitch that will be my own design:
And in the meantime, I haven’t finished my own cowl design – it could be a submission if I get my act together…grrr.
And on a mom note: There are two memorial services planned:
- Saturday, March 23rd, 1:30 p.m.Christ Presbyterian Church in Terra Linda, 620 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903
- Sunday, April 14th, 1:30 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 9642 E Live Oak Ave Temple City, CA 91775
First, I want to thank all who have left comments on the previous blog post on my mom’s last days. Your words have been treasured.
As I sat by my mom’s bed in her last days, I worked on a pair of handspun socks. My handspun, which finally looked like sock yarn. And I used a pattern (Veil of Rosebuds) from The Knitters’ Book of Socks for a fiber type so that the socks would work.
Let’s review. The fiber, from Abstract Fiber, is gorgeous:
The spinning was done on my KCL multiple-shaft spindle (seriously, they are great, check out the KCL Woods website):
And yes, finally, after only about 3 years, I actually have a pair of handspun socks that will hopefully wear like socks!
Since they were knit during such a precious time, I may not wear them with shoes, in order that they last as long as possible. A lovely hug for my feet to remember the last precious week with my mom. Project details on ravelry: revknits Veil of Rosebuds
The past week has been a blur. My mom had her last journey in life – and even in this she taught me new lessons.
Mom finally got to the point that she just wanted everything to stop when she was in the hospital – the IVs, the poking for blood, all of it. She was very clear about this – both her nurse and the chaplain remarked on this. My mom has been the comeback kid through so many things – that when the time came for her to choose, it was brave and totally in character for her to make this decision.
I have to say, that moment was pretty devastating to live through as her daughter. My mom and I have been pretty close over the past few years, and while I never thought to challenge her decision, it was a moment when I knew the end was closer than I wanted it to be for her.
Hospitals today make all of this far easier to handle than they used to – and the nurses and everyone could not have been sweeter – one of her nurses even came up to see us when she went off her shift.
As lovely as the hospital was, it wasn’t home to mom – she really wanted to go back to Drake Terrace, so we did. The past week was spent with family and familiar faces of the staff caring for her. Her niece, my cousin, Marie, came, along with her husband Dennis and their daughters Allison and Rachel. She talked with friends on the phone, and even got a visit from Tennessee, a therapy cat. She looked so good on Saturday that my cousin thought there might be another rebound.
And up to almost the end, in spite of being in bed, mom had some enjoyment each day – listening to piano music that reminded her of her older sister Virginia playing the piano, or her Mexican dance music – she even said, “Ole Ole!” in rhythm to Chiapanecas the day before she died. Always the party girl to the end!
The last day was stressful and hard, but it was only one day. Hospice helped us greatly to relieve her anxiety, and we always had someone there to comfort her – her greatest fear was abandonment, and she was accompanied to the last. I am so glad I was in the room as she slipped away. It was not scary, and I even remarked at the time that she got most of what she wanted at the end of life – to not hang on and suffer, but to go quickly.
A family friend remarked that he hoped we would all be able to choose as well as my mom did – that when life has lost its fun and meaning, we will be able to bravely look death in the face and choose what is best.
My mom had plenty of moments of joy in her 91 years, and shared her zest for life with so many. She loved people, was always kind to the ones who had it hard, and treated everyone in a lovely way. I can only hope as her daughter to treat people as kindly as she did.
Dorothy “Helen” Rico
January 27, 1922 – March 7, 2013