But nothing else would do
Sunday April 27th 2008, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Knit

Picotee amaryllis blooming for the third yearNo, I’m not showing pictures of the project yet. Today’s Picotee amaryllis, not quite all the way open yet, will have to stand in for it. Gotta have some surprises. (Right, and I’m as good at holding off on anticipation as a five-year-old on Christmas Eve, we’ll see how long I last.) I came down with a cold the day after I got the yarn, had to put it away for two weeks, and finally now I can safely knit it up for them. At last.

I got a note from Andy a little while ago that totally made my day, telling about his having taken a walk outside of the hospital, at last, on a beautiful day, wearing his “magical scarf.” There’s nothing like a knitting recipient who loves what you (and Tina!) created to make you want to create more. I offered to knit his wife a shawl or scarf, whatever she’d like, asking for shaping and color suggestions. I wanted to get it right. I wanted them both to feel supported and thought of. The family of the patient has it, in some ways, harder than the patient. They need not to be forgotten.

I was going to dye something from my stash, but when I heard back, I knew none of the base yarns I had would quite get to the colors she liked. I went to four yarn stores, searching.

The last one I went to, walking through it, wishing for lace or fingering weight in a nice soft yarn in just the color, why doesn’t anybody carry colors that–

–there was one. One only. It leaped out at me. It screamed, I am THE shade! Right, yarn, tell me, how do you know? But I just knew. And it was so soft. So perfect.

I still, no, no way. I can’t…

I stood there in Creative Hands in Belmont, then, flashing back to the Crohn’s of five years ago: lying on my side in a hospital bed, too weak to hold up the edge of the page I was trying to read, too far gone to register a lot of what it said anyway: every lab mouse that sneezed was written up in those pages. But my husband and I needed to understand what we were deciding on. The doctor had his (positive, it turned out) feelings on the subject, but he wanted our input before telling us his gut feeling. The side effects of the experimental med being proposed included MS and lupus. (Hah. Beatcha.) Absolutely not to be given to patients with those or any neurological diseases, since it damages nerves. It depresses the blood pressure. (Great. I’d already done 63/21 once, memorably.) And on and on. My lupus had killed off the previously-working main nerve to the right side of my heart; there, as far as anybody could guess, would go the rest.

And I utterly knew in my bones that that med was the door to life for me, and not to risk it would be to die. I was so close. Whatever the outcome, let it happen, I wanted to live. I fully expected never to be able to digest food normally again and to be on TPN (tube feeding) for life, but if that’s what it was going to cost, I’d take it. I remembered my friend Neil’s dad with much gratitude, telling me that getting a pacemaker was no big deal. You just do what you’ve gotta do.

I stood in that store, knowing that one does not choose something like a bone marrow transplant except under circumstances where it comes down to the simple choice: I want to live. Remembering not knowing how I was going to find the strength to take the next breath. Nor the next. And my doctor coming in just then, needing me to live, imbuing me with that strength I needed so much simply by his caring presence, in a way I cannot begin to describe.

It was one of the defining moments of my life: our presence and our caring matters. It matters.

And the med worked. Pass the Green and Black’s mint dark chocolate. That small frivolity became a great joy.

I stood in that store, flashing back to Andy’s words: his trying not to complain, his briefly mentioning the fatigue beyond fatigue, his thanking me for recommending the book “100 days” by a doctor who had had a bone marrow transplant too, someone else out there who knew what it was like. Fatigue beyond describing to the living–Andy only barely touched on it in his note, but it was okay to tell me. I knew it well.

I pictured how that exquisitely soft yarn would beckon Andy to lift his tired arm to put it up around his wife’s shoulders as he continued to heal, finding both strength and softness in her presence.

I mentally apologized, and am still doing so, to every person I’ve ever knit for who didn’t and won’t also get a project made out of Jade Sapphire–but hey, please know, you’re in good company. I’ve never sprung for it for me, either.

Although, you know? Truth be told–I guess I just did.

13 Comments so far
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It is gestures like that which make one want to keep fighting.

Comment by Amanda 04.28.08 @ 5:18 am

You are truely a giving and beautiful person. I feel as if I have been blessed since finding your blog and getting to know you through your posts. WHenever I am having a bad day from my TM/MS all I have to do is read your blog and my spirit is immediatly uplifted and my day brightens. Wish I could say that you make my day physically better, but the brightening of my day does seem to help lift some of the physical problems away. Thank You so much for posting about life, Knitting, your flowers, and ablout all the lives your knitting has touched. 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 04.28.08 @ 5:58 am

While you know I love a lush yarn dearly (can’t decide what colorway of Superior I want!), the yarn isn’t nearly as important as the love and kindness knitted into your gifts.

Comment by Channon 04.28.08 @ 6:04 am

I’ve found those particular decisions… well, to all come out fine in the wash, sooner or later… you know what I mean. The end result so much more worth the expense and in all honesty, spreads so much farther for years and years, eh?
You ARE an angel.

Comment by marianne 04.28.08 @ 6:34 am

You are truly what knitting from the heart is all about.

Comment by Lisa 04.28.08 @ 8:13 am

Thank you, and remember–Andy is someone who saw me a little earlier in that flare, who saw that I was ill even if he didn’t know the details, and who chose to be completely there for me in the moment. I owed him. Buying that yarn felt utterly like the right thing to do, and Marianne, you’re right: it does all come out the better for it. I’m very glad I did.

Comment by AlisonH 04.28.08 @ 9:28 am

the yarn is one part. The rest is what the knitter puts into a project, and Dude, you are putting so much of yourself into your projects! Anyone who receives them will FEEL it. And if the yarn is the right colour, then it’s the right yarn.

Comment by Sandra 04.28.08 @ 12:42 pm

You are just too kind. I can’t imagine the care you put into your projects!

Comment by Momo Fali 04.28.08 @ 1:23 pm

Wow, the colors at Jade Sapphire are incredible! Can’t wait to see a finished shawl with one of those.

Picotee is pretty incredible, too. 🙂

Comment by Toni 04.28.08 @ 6:25 pm

Speaking of lab rats that sneeze…Amy’s rat Sam has..um..allergies or some kind of respiratory wheezy/sneezy part to his existence. Rat sneezes sound very cute. 😉

Comment by Karen 04.28.08 @ 6:39 pm

My cardinal rule when shopping-be it for pants for me (ugh) or a gift- is this,”If the item shouts BUY ME, then buy it. You won’t be sorry” Amazingly that rule actually cuts down on the bits and bobs one buys, since those things don’t scream “buy me”! But the stuff you do buy, you never regret….

Comment by Carol 04.28.08 @ 7:55 pm

I used to be a quilter, I did as much as I could by hand. (that used to be the whole thing).
Circumstances made it better to be a knitter, so I learned more about knitting.
I feel so blessed that I can do handwork. There’s nothing like putting your love into something for someone, and having them feel it when they use the item.
It blesses me more than it blesses them, and gives me a reason to keep on.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 04.29.08 @ 7:03 am

Alison — so nice to make your e-cquaintance and to read your blog. My sister-by-choice has Crohn’s, so I know it takes a strong woman to face each day and to think of others. Thank you for sharing your stories and your patterns.

Comment by Wunx~ 04.29.08 @ 1:27 pm

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