Friday February 29th 2008, 11:16 am
Filed under: Knit,Life

Tina at Blue Moon Fiber Arts wrote back in delight: you’re a Camel fan too?!

Yup. Pink Floyd meets a Jethro Tull-ish flute. Their “Never Let Go” song with its words, “Man was born with a will to survive…never let go!” was my inner theme song I kept turning to and playing in my head five years ago while I was in critical condition. It was both motivation and comfort.

I had asked Tina why she’d named this colorway Lunasea, and mentioned that it was the name of a Camel song and that that was why I was interested in it. Yes, she told me, that was it. She had asked her customers to help name her new colorway, someone had volunteered that, and because she was an old fan of the band, Lunasea had totally won out.

Andy Latimer from CamelNine days before that hospital stay started, I was in my doctor’s office in bad shape after a month’s worth of refractory Crohn’s, saying I had concert tickets for that night in Santa Cruz, an hour away, and I really, really wanted to go. But I would skip it if he told me to.

Go if you want to go, he assured me. Have a good time.

My friend Michelle, whom I later designed the Monterey shawl for partly as a thank you for taking me, was an old Camel fan too; her mother was a Crohn’s patient, so she was perfectly understanding of my not being sure till about 6 pm whether I was going to make it. But at the last moment, I called her and told her, oh, c’mon, let’s just go!

Andy Latimer’s group had a song with lyrics that pertained to spinning and weaving, and I at one point months earlier had had a short email conversation with them on the subject. There was also an album I ordered where they had accidentally duplicated an earlier order instead, and I wondered how on earth to return it when the simple errand of running to buy another shipping envelope or new tape to reseal the original package was, just then, a huge deal to me, since I was ill. In the end, I simply re-ordered the one I wanted and told them, I grew up in an artistic household, I’m a little protective of artists, I’ll just give the extra copy to Michelle and everybody’s happy. Don’t sweat it.

That evening, watching them from right near the front, they hadn’t toured in some time, and Andy looked a little out of breath a few times as he played. I thought, it must be tough to keep on rocking on stage as you age. But they clearly had a good time, they played numerous encores to a packed, cheering crowd at The Catalyst, and a fine evening was had by all.

Since this was the kick-off concert to their tour, their plan was to mingle with the crowd afterwards to celebrate.

And so Michelle and I got to introduce ourselves to Andy. And–he knew who I was! When I told him my name, he exclaimed, “OH!”

And then, with a tenderness in his voice that surprised me, he asked me gently, “How’s your health?”

Such a different effect from the proud man I’d just seen playing his heart out on that stage. I… The last thing on earth I wanted to do just then was whine about Crohn’s, or anything else for that matter, not after getting to actually go and actually hear them play and triumphing over all that. I kind of turned away a moment–and then spoke to the truth: I looked up at him straight in the eyes, and gently, gratefully laughed, “I’m here.”

That hit him hard, somehow, and he turned half away himself for a moment. Then he, too, turned back to me, and said quietly, looking back in my eyes, a heartfelt “Yes.”

In that moment we were both entirely there for each other. Whatever may come to you. I care how you do. Be well as you go forth from now.

I had no idea…

There was an email in my inbox last fall: Andy had had, for years, a mild case of a disease that impaired his blood’s ability to take up oxygen. (OH!) It had suddenly taken a rapid turn for the worse and he was about to have a bone marrow transplant.

Monday, there was a follow-up email: he’d been doing well, but at 90 days post-transplant he had just had a serious setback and was back in the hospital. Light a candle for Andy, was his wife Susan’s hope. Send whatever hope or vibes or thoughts you might want to for Andy’s sake. The doctors were reassuring, but it was so hard to be back in the hospital…

Oh honey, don’t I know it.

And so the Lunasea Silkie yarn that Tina sent me to knit up for Andy got knitted the last few days; Stitches is over, their crisis is now, it was time to get that knitting DONE.

I usually wait till the recipient has gotten their surprise before I say anything. This time I’m not waiting. I know how much prayers, candles, Thinking Good Thoughts, for me it’s prayer, but whatever people feel comfortable with–I know how much of a difference it made to me back in the day. And so I pass Susan Hoover’s request along. For the man who was willing to meet me, a stranger, where I was when I was the one who was sick.

Andy? If you read this? Man was born with a will to survive. Be well, friend.

6 Comments so far
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What a moving story. Amazon says your book should be on my front porch when I get home. I’m betting I cast on for Bigfoot tonight…

Comment by Channon 02.29.08 @ 12:33 pm

What an incredible story. I’m sending all my best for Andy.

Comment by Michelle 02.29.08 @ 3:55 pm

I am so touched by this story. Thank you for sharing it…and I’m praying for your friend. I, too, understand…there are fears and feelings that just cannot be expressed verbally…I prayed for him…and I think your thoughts and gift are and will be greatly appreciated…now and always.

Comment by Abby 02.29.08 @ 6:02 pm


Comment by Diana Troldahl 03.01.08 @ 8:05 am

thoughts and prayers going out for sure!

Comment by rho1640 03.01.08 @ 2:51 pm

Andy is in my prayers. Each morning I knit, usually a prayer shawl that is done in a simple K3, P3. It is a perfect rhythm for prayer.

Comment by Linda W 03.03.08 @ 8:16 pm

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