Wednesday, February 18, 2009

She touched my heart unexpectedly

This is a story about knitting and the desire to re-live ancient crafts just for love. Only love. A love story in the very best sense of the word. One with unexpected layers, meaning and depth.

The story starts late one evening, while I was checking email, some favorite blogs and the CLL boards one last time before going bed with a book. But the appeal of the internet and its compelling visuals held me -- led me from portal to portal to the next and the next and the next.

(I'am a new knitter; so it was knitting that caught my attention in those late night hours discovering other knitters, designers, suppliers and dreaming of things I'll make one day).

Anyway, in that late night march through the ether of the internet, I came to blog called Spiffy Knits and stayed awhile, captivated by writer, a former-editor-turned stay-at-home- mom in central Massachusetts. I liked her style, immediately; it was home-y, straight-forward, no-nonsense. I like the way she wrote about her life, her children, her husband (whom she referred to as , well you guessed it, "Mr. Spiffy").

Through the blog, I followed her discovery of knitting, her advance to spinning and then hand dying. Through her stories, I began to feel a strong connection to this woman whom I've never met. She spoke to me; I felt I was making a friend.

Soon she's writing about a collaboration with other artisans to create an on-line presence for their wares. Her work is beautiful. Lovely. Lush colors. I wanted to purchase some of her yarn. But oddly none was available for sale. There were examples of her work but no current work for sale. "Hmmmmm", I thought, "What's up here?" It didn't fit with the previous enthusiasm. So back I went to Spiffy Knits to settle the mystery.

In June of '08, she writes about fatigue; she's unhappy about always being tired.

In July she's making the rounds of specialists -- Gastroenterologist. Hepatologist.

Then comes the dreaded C-word and the diagnosis in August.
Primary liver cancer.

But she continues posting both before and after major surgery only 3 days after getting the diagnosis.

She seemed so brave; so strong and optimistic. She had an intelligent, clear-headed approach to learning fast what she needed to know. She writes about chemo; you sense her preparation for the battle ahead. She never uses "D" word. Said, it wasn't about her; not about her life and her love for her kids and desire to see them grow up. She was clear about that.

But then story ends: no more entries. Nothing. Empty. Blank.

I felt let-down. I wanted more. I dreaded learning more. But I couldn't let it go. I googled her knitting friends. That's when I found it: the final good-bye: their memorial to her life from friends and sister artists. She died in October just 2 months after the diagnosis.

My sorrow was deep and profound.

I didn't get to bed for hours. I could not move. She stayed with me for days. She's with me still.

Today, I know this: a beautiful young woman's life touched my heart so unexpectedly. And I am blessed for the encounter. However brief. However illusive.

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