I bought some handspun yarn from a friend at the beginning of the year and immediately knew what I was going to make with it. My mom had asked me for a pair of mitts after seeing so many of the mitts I had been sharing here (quite a few by this point.) I was saving the yarn for that very purpose ever since. The yarn felt special to me because my friend spun it and also because that friend sat by my side and walked me through quite a few projects when I was first learning how to knit. She helped me move from scarves to hats and really got me moving forward in my knitting. I’m so grateful to her because knitting has become such an important part of my life. I’ve thanked her, but I don’t really think I can begin to express how much I appreciate the time she took to help me.
I decided I didn’t want to wait until my mom’s summer birthday to make her some mitts, so started working on a pair for her for Mother’s Day. (I took pictures of the yarn maybe a week before Mother’s Day and you can see our apple tree was in full bloom. The apple blossoms have been done blooming for a few weeks now.) The yarn was a mix of cotton and wool, which I thought would be good for my mom’s mitts since she does live in Florida and all. (She travels to cold places for work, though, so mitts will come in handy sometimes.) I also immediately thought of my mom when I saw that color blue, I just knew she would love it.
I knit the pattern Peekaboo Mitts by Abi Gregario, which I’ve knit before. (For you fellow knitters- it’s a free pattern on Ravelry.) Since the pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, I made some adjustments for the smaller handknit yarn and wrote down my notes here on Ravelry. I did not get the mitts for my mama finished in time for Mother’s Day, but as I finished them up and got them ready to mail out last week, she called with sad news. (And later I felt that the mitts were finished and sent to her at the exact perfect time, right when she could use some extra love and comfort. Though I couldn’t be there in person to give her a big hug like I wanted to, in my own small way I could send something physical that she could hold in her hands, and that made me feel a little better.)
As soon as I heard her voice I knew something was wrong and then she burst into tears, telling me that her dear friend Helen had passed away. Helen had been struggling with some health issues a while ago, but then her health took a positive turn and she was doing much better, so family and friends were shocked when she died suddenly. When my mom moved to Florida, she hardly knew anyone. She was missing her family very much when she moved and she had such good friends where she had lived before and missed them too. Some of her new neighbors in Florida welcomed her and were so kind to her, and they ended up becoming close friends. The first time I met Helen and her husband while I was visiting my mom, I thanked them for being such good friends to her.
My mom has so many happy memories with them, which we’ve been talking about during the last few phone conversations we’ve had. One year my mom and Helen dressed up for Halloween, put lanterns all along the walkway, decorated like crazy, and were so excited for the kids in costumes to come trick-or-treating. They waited and waited and finally the doorbell rang and in their excitement they rushed to the door to see not a child in costume, but one of their adult friends pulling a prank on them. They didn’t get a single trick-or-treater that night, and later they would remember that story and laugh about it together.
They also got festive for Christmas and decided to decorate Helen’s golf cart and drive it around the neighborhood with another friend of theirs. I know I have a picture somewhere, but if I remember correctly they had a blown up snowman with lights inside attached to the golf cart and Christmas lights strung all over. They dressed up all Christmas-y too and then went from house to house singing Christmas carols. They were being silly and goofy to be sure, but the response they got from each house was pure joy and many people had tears in their eyes. That was a favorite memory for sure. One time they went to a local auction and danced to the band all night until they could barely move anymore. When my mom was sad or upset about something her friend Helen would hold out her fancy fur coat and tell my mom to put it on, “it will make you feel better” she would tell her. And then they would laugh together and my mom would always feel better.
My mom has been in a state of shock since Helen’s passing, hardly able to believe that she’s actually gone. When she walks down the street from her house it feels so strange without Helen there. My mom lost her dad years ago, and she has lost grandparents and an uncle. She lost a friend in high school, but this was the first time she has ever lost a close friend. As I’ve spoken with my mom lately through the laughter, stories, and tears, I’m reminded of what a gift good friends truly are. We don’t know how much time we will get with anyone. The time with our family, friends, and loved ones… that time is so very precious. And whenever we lose someone close to us, we are reminded of that. Reminded to not take anyone for granted, to truly savor the moments we have with the ones we hold dear.
My mom wrote this to Helen last week:
Oh my lovely friend Helen, I’m having a hard time grasping this is true. Thank you for all of your love, support, laughs and genuine friendship. My life is better for my time spent with you. The next two days we will celebrate you. See you down the road dear friend! We will take care of each other. I love you!