Thursday, December 8, 2016


A detail from the crocheted afghan my mom made me for my 50th birthday.

I'm in a haze of post-residency spaciness. That state when you carry the goodness of connection and reflection into your daily life once you return home. Trying to hold on to it and embrace it for the long term.

My first week back from an almost 7-week absence, I'm spending most of my time tying up loose ends, picking up artwork and reconnecting with my colleagues.

Yesterday I found myself at Haymarket Station sitting next to an elderly woman crocheting an extremely large and colorful afghan, and in this post-residency state of mind, I decided to strike up a conversation.

It was delightful. She was very animated and I learned that a friend taught her to crochet at 16. She is left handed and has a unique technique. This orange, green and white granny square afghan is for her grandson's girlfriend. She's already made two for the girlfriend's unborn baby, so this one is to keep the mother warm when in hospital. She has 11 grandchildren who all live nearby except for one who lives in Washington state. The granddaughter from the west coast was home recently to visit the grandmother's sister who was ill with cancer. The sister just passed unexpectedly early according to her prognosis. 

I offered condolences and shared my mother's experience with cancer, her 6.5 year battle that involved more than her share of suffering, hoping that this would provide comfort for her sudden loss.

All this time talking she never looked up from her work, except once to abruptly interupt herself and tell me she loves my hair.

The train arrived, she hugged her mass of color and stood up. While waiting for the doors to open she wished me a happy holiday and asked for my name. Then I asked for hers, Anita.

My mom has 11 grandchildren, her name was Anita, and she loved to crochet. She often would tell me how much she loved my hair, especially since I take after her.

I know I'm in a jet lag induced haze, but this encounter has been haunting me since. Whether spectral or real, I treasure this connection made with my mom who I sorely miss.

Anita wearing one of her 'handmades'.

1 comment:

  1. I really resonated with this post, Jodi, and so often am happy that I struck up conversation with someone... am most always left feeling more connected to the web of life we all live in, and fascinated with hearing a snippet of someone else's story.... usually sad when the conversation has to end :). Sounds like a wonderful experience, and such a lovely way to connect and find meaning with the loss of your own mother. Mine just died in July, and I am missing her terribly. I was just talking to a friend about coping with our loss, and looking for ways to feel connected to those we love, and she shared that experiences like these seem like "little waves" from our loved ones, who are keeping connected with us in whatever ways we can, even if it is just through our own perceptions and openness. Glad you reached out to this lovely woman. Big hugs to you as you continue on your journey... Oh, and I just discovered your beautiful work this morning on Miles Conrad's gallery. Wow-- your work is some of the most stunning fiber work i have ever seen... such rich colors and lovely organic shapes. Just beautiful. Keep up your awesome work! Michelle Hayden