Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thinking of Others on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  It's been a beautiful, crisp Fall day in the Pacific Northwest.  My list of things for which I am thankful goes on and on.  Life is good.  :-)

On this day of gratitude, I'd like to share a personal story with you.... the story of an afghan... and many friends.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that quilting is my passion, but knitting is a close second.  I'm very active on the social website, Ravelry.  If you knit or crochet and have not yet discovered Ravelry, you HAVE to check it out!  Ravelry is full of patterns and yarns and best of all... chat boards and groups of people with similar interests.  I'm active on several of the group boards, one of which is a group of followers of the Knitters Brewing yarn company.  After several years of posting and chatting, you get to know people.  Much like blogging, you feel very much like you KNOW people you've never met in real life.  For many years, I chatted with a lady who shares my first name.... Sue Thomas.  Whenever Sue sent me an email, she signed it, "The Other Sue",

Sue passed away suddenly and peacefully in her sleep in August.  The ladies in the group were shocked and saddened.  We felt so empty and helpless.  When we experience loss, we have the natural desire to do something.  But when the members of a group are literally spread all over the world and only have a chat board between them- it's hard to know what to do.  You can't very well send a casserole to her husband thousands of miles away.  She had a favorite charity, so many of us donated to it, but it didn't fill our desire to do something personal.

The moderators of the chat group quickly filled our need to act on our grief and reach out to her family.  Yarn was sent by the owner of the yarn company to 42 of the knitters who had known her the longest.  There were MANY more people who would loved to have participated, but the 42 of us knitted on behalf of the whole group.  We each made one square and sent it back to the women who edged and blocked them and stitched them together.  The project was financed by the sale of a colorway of yarn that Sue loved, and all additional money was given to her favorite charity.  The afghan, which we called the "comfortghan" was sent to her beloved husband.  Her birthday fell on Thanksgiving, so this was a doubly difficult day for him.  The delivery was timed so that he would receive it this week.

I am truly thankful to have been a part of this project.  My block is the butterfly.  From the bottom left corner, it's 3 blocks up and 3 to the right.  The very first time that Sue and I chatted online was about 5 years ago when we were both working on a sock with a butterfly design.  We were both new sock knitters at the time.  So I chose to put that butterfly design on the block I contributed.  I think it's wonderful that we sent the afghan to Sue's husband, and I'm sure he will treasure it.  But this is about more than an afghan.  It's about losing a friend and feeling a void, and coming together with others who feel the same sadness to act on our feelings, and fill that void by sharing our feelings with others who understand, and then do something nice for somebody Sue loved very much. 

Birth and death... and joy and sadness and everything else we experience are a part of life.  We all know that.  But how we act on those feelings determines what kind of life we live.  My family and friends are my greatest wealth.  The people who walk through this life with me are everything to me.  On Thanksgiving, we reflect on things for which we are thankful, and in that spirit of gratitude, we often show acts of kindness toward others. Today is a day of giving thanks and for sharing (most of us with family) and generally feeling good.  But today, I also thought of my late friend, Sue.  And that made me think of all the many, many people in my life who are not family or super close friends.  I thought a lot about the hundreds of people who are, for lack of a better descriptor, the "cast of characters" who make my life as rich as it is.

Happy birthday, Sue.... from "the other Sue".  Life is better for countless people because you shared yourself with us.  We miss you and that smile of yours.... and your positive approach to life.  You always had something good to say, and you made us feel better about ourselves with your kind words.  You made life richer for all who knew you.

And happy Thanksgiving to all who read this.  Remember that we are all one of "the cast of characters" in the life of everyone we know.  Give them all an extra smile.  Life is good.


Needled Mom said...

What a touching story. I am so glad that you were able to come together and do such a wonderful project on her behalf.

QuiltSue said...

That was a lovely story, thank you. I hope you had a Happy Thaksgiving day yesterday.

Judy S. said...

Great post, Sue, about a lovely project. I am sure it will be loved. Hope you had a nice holiday.

PNWBookGirl said...

How very nice of you all!