Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When our niece phoned on Sunday, she feared her mother was sinking. She didn’t seem to be able to hold a thought long enough to finish a sentence. She – our niece – took yesterday off work, and phoned us from the hospice in the morning, bless her! to say that her mother had had a good night and was much brighter – so that we wouldn’t worry all day.

We found this to be true when we finally got there in the afternoon. My husband insisted on going by bus and it proved an epic journey. C. is very weak, very frail, but clear-headed and thoroughly herself. A dr told her yesterday that she has a “week or a fortnight” to go, for some of which she will be comatose.

We had a good visit. Our niece was there (and very kindly drove us home). The situation was thoroughly surreal.

I don’t have much experience of death, close-up. I didn’t know it was possible to get this close with no pain (she now has a low-level morphine drip), no indignity, and no terror. There has been much suffering, and tears we haven’t seen. But also much love, given and received.

We’re not going to London this week. I’ll go up to the station this morning and try to get our money back for the tickets (but I will fail). Rachel and her husband Ed plan to drive up on Saturday to see C. Greek Helen just phoned to say that she will come on Thursday or Friday if flights can be found and boys disposed of.

I got my lace stash out yesterday, with the usual feelings of gloom. Even if I live long enough to master the rest of the stash, there’s at least a lifetime of lace knitting there. And there’s some good stuff – it would be wicked to buy more now.

But. The email from Knit Purl illustrates an utterly irresistible shade of Madeleine Tosh Pure Silk lace called “lichen”. When you click through to the website, there is no “lichen” on offer, although they could presumably get me some. The temptation remains, especially after reading your comment, Beverly, about how tussah might prove possible to knit.

And thank you for the pointer to Loop, Jenny. They do indeed have a good deal of Tosh, but (perhaps fortunately) neither Pure Silk Lace nor the DK quality I would want for the Effortless. Art doesn't often take us to Islington, which is a pity -- it's a place I'd love to visit.

My current thought is to go with this Chinese “cashmere” yarn. It’s the same stuff, a gift from James & Cathy, as I used – in a different colour – to knit the Amedro “cobweb lace wrap” for Greek Helen last year. It’s a good, clear red.

(The state of that radiator grill leaves much to be desired. The camera is merciless.)

And back at the ranch, I’ve done the cuffs of RtB and love them. They are strips of garter st, after which one doubles the stitch count in one row before proceeding to the sleeves. But it is only when one applies i-cord to the last row of garter stitch that the wonderful bloused effect emerges. I am delighted.

Today I’ll rip out half the peripheral i-cord and re-do the buttonholes. Once one faces the fact that the job must be done, it doesn’t seem so bad.


  1. Sending love for your situation. A slow passing of a loved one is very hard on everyone XXXX

  2. Gail (nosenabook)1:46 PM

    Sending love in this difficult time.

    I also love those sleeve cuffs, shape and color.

  3. Gerri1:57 PM

    I'm glad C is pain free. Despite the sorrow, I found there is grace in being able to share the passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  4. Dear Jean,

    Am sending all my best wishes to you and your family, and most especially to C.

    As I may have posted here at an earlier stage in C.'s illness, I was impressed and even gladdened by the hospice care a dear friend of mine received last fall. It was so different from my own mother's final days, spent in a hospital ICU more than twenty years ago, which were filled with the pain, terror, and uncertainty to which you allude in today's post. I hope that all of us who face a long dying process are able to receive the supportive care that C. is getting.

  5. My thoughts are with you as the family gathers.

  6. =Tamar7:26 PM

    It's a shame that hospitals so rarely handle situations with the care and understanding of hospices.

    There are many people who have happily sold yarn purchases they no longer loved, in order to focus on yarn they currently intend to use. Could you consider selling some of the less-ideal lace-weight in order to upgrade to what you would use immediately?

  7. The main thing, Jean, is as you say: the giving and receiving of much love. That is all you can do and is, in fact, all anyone can do. It is the best thing you can do. You are lucky that C is aware that you are loving her as she goes on this journey. I lost my mother recently - very suddenly and unexpectedly. She never regained consciousness after a sudden cardiac arrest. I hope that she was aware that we were loving her as she went. Be gentle on yourself.

  8. knitting the red shawl with all its warmth and love and good thoughts will hopefully help you and all around you during this time.

    we keep keeping you in the light.


  9. Anonymous7:32 AM

    What are you planning to knit with the Chinese cashmere?