Sunday, April 15, 2018

Small things...

This was a quiet, yet profound, week with the burial service for my father-in-law on Thursday.    While his funeral service over a week ago was lovely, Bernie's burial brings a level of finality that we hadn't been able to experience until now.  While no one would have planned these two services to be separate (weather was in control of that), it actually made for a very personal and deeply meaningful graveside service having it on a separate day.  I hope you'll read the short post I wrote about it yesterday.


While I'm continuing to crochet away on two Spicier Life blankets, they really don't look different enough to post a progress picture.   Maybe next week.

But I did squeeze in two smaller projects.  I'm hosting a CAL this week in the Our Happy CAL Place, and to fit into the theme "Kitchen & Bath" I found a pattern for this cute Turtle Washcloth:

What a fun washcloth for a child, or a kitchen in the woods, or even a potholder - if made doubled.  If doubled, I suggest only doubling the center shell part.  And then joining and finishing the turtle's legs, head and tail with a single layer of crochet.

And then I decided to join in last week's CAL and made a bookmark (using this pattern for the stem):

 Using this pattern, sport weight cotton and a size G hook, the rose turned out crazy big.

But I sort of LOVE it!

To see what other YOPpers are working on, visit our group by clicking on the graphic below.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Meaningful moments...

I didn't mention this last week, but because we had such terrible, flooding rains the day of my father-in-law's funeral (which was on Tuesday, April 3rd), the actual burial service was held this past week (on Thursday, April 12th).

Unlike the day of the funeral service, this past Thursday turned out to be a beautiful (if extremely windy) spring day.  As a Korean War veteran my father-in-law received military honors at his burial service.  While logistics prevented a 21-gun salute, the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the flag that covered his coffin was very moving.  I've been to military funerals before, but have never had such a close-up seat to watch it from.  I couldn't hold back the tears when this young Army chaplain knelt to hand the flag to my mother-in-law.  It was so incredibly moving.

“On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s 
honorable and faithful service.”

Even though my father-in-law was 93 when he died, and his service had been many, many years ago, it was touching to see the honor that younger officers paid him and my mother-in-law.  Of course, that is expected, but I couldn't help but wonder and marvel at the "brotherhood" that exists between all who have served in the military, regardless of age and space in time.  While we were small in number at the graveside (compared to the number who attended the funeral service), it was a very personal and memorable service.  Beautiful, in all respects.


Bernie (age 26) at Ft. Monmouth, NJ - 1950

Bernie (age 93) - 2017

'till we meet again, Dad B.
"on that beautiful shore..."

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A gift of comfort...

I missed catching up with my YOP buddies last week, and it's good to be back with a post.  It may not appear at first to be a very YOPish post, but I wanted to share some of what's been going on here.  And I'll tie it back to our Year Of Projects theme before I'm finished.

My father-in-law passed on from this earthly life on Maundy Thursday (March 29th, 2018).  I like to imagine he enjoyed a most celebratory heavenly communion with his Lord on what has, here on earth, become a very somber observance for many of us in the Christian faith.

Bernie was 93 years-old and had been failing for some time. His decline had become marked since before Christmas, but when he got pneumonia in early March he just couldn't overcome it, and then a bacterial infection took its toll on his poor, tired body.

Bernie (age 90) on Veteran's Day, 2014

Last autumn, I had given my mother-in-law, Marcene, a blanket when she had a short stay in rehab after back surgery.   Marcene loved the blanket.   A blanket that seemed to me to be something of a mistake (too big for a baby or lap blanket, too small for a full--sized blanket) ended up being something my mother-in-law just loved.

When Marcene went home from rehab, I was told that Bernie confiscated the blanket and often slept with it.  He even told me how much he enjoyed it.  He said it was "just right".  Nevermind that I had made other blankets for both of them, something about this blanket was perfect.  I thought about making another one in more masculine colors.  Something just for Bernie.  But I never did.  Something tells me that that was okay.  That a different blanket might not have been so "perfect".

When Bernie was released from the hospital into rehab, Marcene brought him the blanket.  When I was visiting him one time I pulled the covers up over him and saw the blanket I had made scrunched down amongst the other covers on his bed.

I held it up in his line of vision and said, "Well, this is pretty!"

He looked at me, at first with a look of slight confusion as if to say, "You do know you made that, don't you?"   

I smiled at him and Bernie broke out in a huge grin that told me the joke was understood.

One of Bernie's sons was with him on his last night and while Bernie was rushed to the hospital in his last hours (to receive comfort and pain relief he wasn't getting in the rehab facility), of course, the blanket was left behind.  When his belongings were collected the next day, many things were thrown away because it was learned that he had contracted a bacteria in his last days.  But my mother-in-law brought the blanket home to clean it.  I suggested it be thrown away.  It wasn't worth the risk, in my opinion, to save it.  Marcene decided to wash and dry it and once again it's being used and loved.

I'm touched, not only that something so simple that I crocheted was well loved, but that it brought comfort during Bernie's last months, and saw him through most of his last night.   I'm touched that we shared a little joke between us when it was all he could do to smile when he was so weak.  And I'm very touched that my mother-in-law wants to keep the blanket that I would have likely put in the burn barrel after all it had been through and been exposed to.

But a simple gift lives on.  To warm others.  To bring some bit of comfort now to my mother-in-law.   And to make me smile knowing that Bernie took comfort being covered by it.  I'm reminded to not underestimate the value that a handmade gift can have when given in love to someone we love.

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

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