Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sharon's Afghan

New years always bring me into a state of reflection. Once the hubbub of Christmas wears off, and I begin dating correspondence with a new year, I'm in awe. Life is crazy. It's chaotic. It's beautiful. It's ugly.

I have been remembering my cousin, Sharon. She died several years ago, when she was in her mid 30's. She was redheaded like me, but had been plagued with illnesses since her youth. She had lupus, and had volunteered to receive experimental treatments. Those treatments, it is believed, sped her demise. She was creative, generous, and funny. Her passing deeply affected our family. She had created a wonderful tradition: every time a female in our family passed a milestone, she made them an afghan. I remember receiving mine. I believe it was when I graduated college.

It was a precious gift--especially from her. She had shaky hands that should have prevented her from any artistic endeavers. Watching her hold a cup was similar to watching someone with Parkinson's Disease. But she slaved over the pieces until they were completed--determined to not let her health keep her from blessing others. I put my afghan into a plastic bag. Once she passed away, I realized that this was my only connection to her, outside of photos. I pulled it out today to look at it for the first time in years. It is still stiff from it's initial creation. Still vibrant.

I have since taken up crocheting. For a healthy person, I find it a challenge. It's not the looping, it's the tired wrists and hands, the attention span I don't have, and the patience I lack. But the outcome is amazing.

Crocheting is a beautiful art. You create a functional, yet beautiful, piece out of yarn and loops. That's it. One skein of yarn, can be crafted into a beautiful blanket or sweater or shawl. Add it to other yarns, and you find yourself with a tapestry of many colors and personalities.

I think of my life as that--I am a skein. As I live, I leave a trail of loops and knots. As I allow others into my life, I get more color and design. But ultimately, I am responsible for the outcome and completion. The trail I leave can be viewed by many, and will be my legacy. I can be a functional item, such as a blanket, or a doily that has little use but is very decorative. I prefer to be a useful vessel. Sharon's legacy is of blessing. She dealt with health issues most of her life. But she was always positive, always creative, and always looking to bless others with the gifts she had been given.


Naida Lee said...

hmm... i like the analogy. very nice. and that's a beautiful blanket!

Phyllis Renée said...

This post is very touching and thought provoking. Thanks.

You know, you and I really need to get together sometime. I'm finding more and more we have in common. I crochet, though I haven't actually made anything in years and have a blanket I haven't finished. But I can't follow a pattern. Usually things I make are very simple or I follow something that is already made.

Kristi said...

No joke, it took me years to learn. I had how-to pamphlets, and just never got the hang of it. I would put it down in frustration, and then a few years later try again. Finally, I bought a crocheting for dummies book, and it just clicked. It made sense for the first time. And now if I have a pattern, and my book for refernce (I don't crochet very often), I can make most anything. Knitting--not so much.