The Work We Leave Behind
My apologies for disappearing for the past couple of weeks. I lost my dear friend Jimmy in that time to cancer, and I don’t think I could have formulated a coherent blog post. I am heartbroken. It was also a difficult time for my children. This is their first encounter with the death of someone close, and they have been playing “death” games all week, processing the event the only way they know how. While it’s a little disconcerting to hear, especially in the midst of my own mourning, I know it’s important that they deal with it in their way.
Death, by its very nature I think, turns us philosophical, and I had my own moments of existential crisis and some long nights of deep thought and heavy tears. The truth is that nothing we have here on earth goes with us when we leave. And so my thoughts turned to those things that are most precious – the words and works that we leave behind.
I cannot help but wish that he had left more behind… his stories, his dreams, his views of the world. Jimmy had the most amazing and inspiring stories. I had often told him he ought to write an autobiography about his fascinating life, and he agreed. But now that story will not be told. I fell asleep that night and dreamt that he had a blog which he had written in every night that had inspired so many people to the ends of the globe, and when I woke, I desperately wanted to read that.
I don’t have the writing or storytelling skills that Jimmy did, and so when I thought about what I might leave behind one day, my mind turned to the works of my own hand. For that reason, crochet brought me some deep comfort through these dark hours. In the same way that my great-grandmother’s blanket still wraps its warmth around my children and me on chilly winter nights, I like to think that my crochet will do the same one day after I am gone. If I were to leave this world tomorrow, my children could at least have these lovingly made blankets around them, warming their little bodies in the same way my arms hold them now. It’s not much in comparison, I know – but it is something.
So my fingers twisted the yarn around my hook as the burial arrangements were made. I knitted a row as insurance companies brought us all back into the mundane world of the living. I stitched together squares as we toasted Jimmy’s life and turned to a ball of yarn as my children’s youthful laughter intermingled with the grief of mourning.
And now I am ready to start writing again, if only about how much I love that yarn.
Have a wonderful day, and hug those around you. We are so blessed to be alive.