“the quilts seem silent, a ‘silence like thunder.'” (sue bender – plain and simple)
they are not quilts. they are hand-crocheted, hand-knitted blankets, every one of them with a story. for hours on end, people who loved me sat and crocheted, put time aside and knitted. they chose patterns and stitches and yarn colors. they held the thought of a new baby in their hearts as they generously prepared their gifts. and with great anticipation, they wrapped these beautiful soft blankets in baby shower wrap, probably not truly anticipating that thirty-two years later i’d be holding them in my hands, all teary-like, struggling to decide what to do. do i keep them all? do i place them gently back into a plastic bin in the basement, carefully stored? or do i find a way – ala my sweet momma – for someone else who may need a soft blanket to have one of these?
cleaning out is like that. over and over and over again. the choices – like these blankets – are silent and thunderous. potent.
in the moments of holding these blankets close, i was holding my daughter, just born, wrapped in pastel-variegated-yarn. in the moments of holding these blankets close, i was tucking in my son, a soft white and blue blanket to keep him warm in a cold winter night of his birth. in the moments of holding these blankets close, i was decades removed from my life at the moment. i was holding tender memories, swirling in babyhood times, feeling the rocking chair seasons, wistful.
and i was unclear. unclear about what to do.
so i freshened each one. on the delicate cycle i washed each blanket, carefully checking for any marks or stains. they came out of the dryer perfect, even softer, if that is possible.
and i decided. i decided that they didn’t belong in a bin or in a closet, waiting.
we took them to the hospice facility in our town. a most delightful young woman greeted us there and thanked us. on the phone she had told me that these would be perfect lap blankets or shawls and that they always needed such donations. she asked me to fill out a form so that they could write me a thank-you.
funny, on the contrary, i wanted to thank them. for in the moment i placed the large bag on the chair and i was no longer holding the blankets i knew that i was passing on their nurture.
and i know that every time i might stop and think about knitted and crocheted blankets i will have pieces of times with my newborn babies wrap around me.
“each time i looked at the quilts, my busyness stopped. the fragments of my life became still.” (sue bender)