Knitting makes me a better person, at least when it comes to being patient. Or even just being. I value this greatly, especially now. For the past several months, my grandmother had been bedridden, and mostly disconnected from the world. Partly from dementia, and partly from something else I guess. For months, my grandfather could only get a few words a day from her, before she drifted back into that in-between space. Sometimes, during her alert periods, we could see she recognized us, but sometimes not. I don't know how she felt about her circumstances, she never complained. But my Grandpa, this was really tough for him. It was hard, he always thought he would precede my grandmother in death. Of all the things he had lived through, this thing affected him more than any.
My grandparents were a huge part of my growing up. My brother, sister and I spent most school holidays and a good chunk of summer at my grandparents house. In a shifting world, their home was our stability, the place we were always welcomed and loved. Most of my childhood my mother was a single parent, so my grandparents were my example of how married people behave. Indeed, adults in general. Cross words were seldom heard, nor raised voices. Other than the exasperation that comes along with 3 (or more, if the cousins were over) rambunctious grandchildren around. The older I get, the more I appreciate them, and the role they've played in my life. I knew I always had a lifeline if I needed it.
During this time, with my grandmother slowly fading away, all the major details were taken care of. They didn't need me to clean or cook, my uncles had all the financial details covered. But the thing I can do best is sit and listen to Grandpa talk. About his grief, his worries, and listen to his stories. Grandpa is a gifted story teller. And so the need for simple knitting. No fussy counting, or complicated stitch patterns. Just steadily linking stitches, and listening to Grandpa. More often than not, after a few sentences his anguish would lift and he would brighten up. But knitting filled the silences in between, filling the space like the sound of gentle rain falling on the roof. Something comfortable and undemanding that seems to free the mind and ease the spirit.
My simple knitting project; Easy . The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight, dyed by me during a Knot Hysteria workshop.
My grandmother finally slipped away last Monday night. She was 93 years old. January 24 was my grandparents 74 wedding anniversary. Grandpa is 95. Grandma didn't knit, but taught me sewing and embroidery and a little baking. I was mostly interested in licking the spoons.