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'.