Difficult Journeys

Some journeys are fun and easy, some are equal parts arduous and fulfilling, and some are necessary and force us to dig deeper than perhaps we would like to if we could choose.

Today while a dear friend said good-bye to her sister who was diagnosed with cancer last spring, I helped to my mother-in-law into a hospice where all of her many needs can be attended to.

In the onslaught of a serious illness there are appointments to be made and met, prescriptions to be filled, medications to be taken, and treatments to be administered and endured.

Last spring, when my friend’s sister was diagnosed, I went about making her a wardrobe of chemo caps so that at least when it came to hat wear, she would have choices:

I made this homage to Hello Kitty:

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Crochet in Color’s Hello Kitty inspired hat

this variation on Michele Maks’ Granny Square hat:

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I finish a granny square chemo cap

this variegated silk chemo cap:

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A completed baby soft crochet chemo cap to fit an adult

this revised seamless hat inspired by a hat worn by Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde:

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A revised version of the Elle Woods Legally Blonde hat

and this cookie cloche, inspired by the cookies that will not leave me alone:

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One side of the hat

As it turns out, none of these hats saved my friend’s sister from the cancer, but that hats did offer her a small measure of relief from her disease and her treatments, and as she neared the end of her life, she bequeathed her various hats to her “chemo buddies,” and I have to say, I am incredibly honored.

As for my mother-in-law, her journey has been a longer, slower decline, and while it often seems that the woman she was has been consumed by disease, there are tangible reminders of her crafting past, such as this traditional granny square throw:

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Alice’s scrap granny square afghan

This piece says a lot about who she was: she liked lots of colors, she did not like to waste anything, and she was not afraid to make a bold and colorful statement with her crochet.

Crochet cannot fix all of the challenges that befall us on the journey that is life, but it can smooth the rough edges and leave behind a legacy that reminds us of the sweeter moments along the way.