With my mom being so sick this past year, it has been a roller coaster ride of a year. My mother has proven to be one tough cookie though. She had a rough go over the winter. As a result of the liver disease, she had pneumonia twice and several bouts of hepatic encephalopathy, where she was confused, sometimes to the point of unresponsiveness. I am (and I think the doctors are too) surprised and impressed by how well she is doing health-wise and how gracefully she is accepting HUGE changes in her life. I hope if, and when, I am faced with a serious illness like my mother’s, that I will handle it as well as her.
When she was in and out of the hospital over the winter, I started knitting the ribbed scarf from the book, Stitch ‘n Bitch. It was a good way to pass the time while my mom was sleeping and while we were waiting for the doctor to make his rounds. If you have ever spent much time in a hospital, you know what I mean. Knitting during those times was not only a nice distraction, but when the nurses would come into the room, it often opened up a conversation. They would say “how pretty” or “I knit too”. It felt nice to make a connection with these people that were taking care of my mother, that I saw all day long, and to be able to talk about something other than my mom’s illness. I was so focused on my mom being sick and what was next for her, that it was hard to think of anything else. I felt really alone too, as it was often just me there with my mom. Talking about what I was knitting, made me feel like a human being for a second, which I so needed at that time.
I am new to knitting and not that fast yet, but I got pretty far on this scarf during those long stays at the hospital. When my mom was moved out of the hospital and into a nursing home, I forgot about this scarf for awhile and only finished it recently. Because I knitted it when she was in the hospital, it will always remind me of that time. I completed the scarf and my mom made it through, so I felt like it made sense for it to become a gift for her.
It sat on my dress form for a bit waiting to be photographed and it just so happened that shortly after I finally photographed it, it was Mother’s Day. I couldn’t have timed it better, except that maybe a scarf in May isn’t the most seasonally appropriate gift, but it is Seattle after all, so she may still be able to wear it. If not, it will be waiting for her this Fall.
On Mother’s Day, I brought her a card, some flowers and the scarf. Then we went out to the patio at the nursing home and did a little photo shoot. I think photographing my mother like that, made us both feel good. She was so sick over the winter and had lost so much weight, but luckily has gained some of it back. My mother realizes how much better she is doing, but I don’t think she looks at herself in the mirror much, so I think it was nice for her to see how much she is looking like herself again. It was nice for me too. It made me feel good to be able to show her how beautiful she is and to be able to capture photos to send out to the family that isn’t here, so that they can see it too.
I think my mom and I have both learned a lot in the past year. It’s been a rough year, but I am so grateful for the time I have had with her. It has forced me to slow down and live in the moment so much more. Who really knows how much time any of us have left with each other, so it is a great lesson to learn.
Learning how to knit came at a good time for me, as well. It not only helped me get through last winter, but produced a special, meaningful, handmade item that gives new meaning to the expression “handmade with love”.