On some levels, I can understand his choice: She's interesting, has a phenomenal memory, patient, kind and a crafter. She'll always be a knitter to me, but that undersells her other crafting interests: She could crochet, sew and was a most proficient cross-stitcher. At least three other reasons why you might want to spend some time with her.
I'm clearly in the "denial" stage of my grief. We lost her only days ago or, perhaps I should say, we can't really have lost her, can we? Yet, under instruction from our father-in-law, sister-in-law and I have sorted through her crafty things. This has not made her passing any more real, though it has allowed me to realise how all our treasured possessions are just "stuff" and are, on some level, meaningless. It truly is about the people. For example, I'm now the owner of some rather lovely knitting books. My current reaction? In all honesty: Indifference. Now, if my mother-in-law had personally gifted even one of these books to me, I would have been thrilled. Absolutely delighted. She and I have a shared love of Kim Hargreaves's designs and I've long admired MIL's copy of Kim's first solo publication "Heartfelt" (one day I'm going to knit myself "Darcy"). Well, now it's mine. Which is nice but in such a flat, emotionless way. And there are others. I'm sure that my attitude will change over time and perhaps, at some point, you'll allow me to share with you these special, new additions to my library.
As for unfinished projects, there were a couple (by which I mean three): One child's cardigan complete except for the buttons; one child's top (in progress); one crochet blanket, finished bar a short section of border. More than a competent crocheter herself, sister-in-law very kindly completed this and the blanket, MIL's first adventure in crochet for years, is now part of our family home and crafting history. An absence of buttons doesn't count as "knitting" so that leaves one, one project. Since we think that the top was destined for her eldest child, sister-in-law has taken the work to complete. And, just like that, the projects are sorted (well, almost).
Then there was the stash, or lack of it. At least that's what we initially thought as her work basket contained only the yarn she was using plus a few other oddments. Sister-in-law and I were stunned to say the least. And possibly shamed (as we compared hers to the complete frivolity of our own stashes). Thankfully – for our own consciences, I mean – over the next couple of days, father-in-law found a few bags of yarn, mostly comprising gifts that she hadn't got round to using. So, not really stash of her own making – but there was enough to give hint to her own tastes.
Despite my earlier ascertains, very quickly it became too much. Books lost their individual identities just falling under the collective heading of "knitting"; yarn became a blur, loosing its composition, texture even colour. I could barely focus. I didn't want to know, didn't want to look, didn't – don't – want to accept the truth of why we doing this. But I also didn't want to part with any of it. Not just randomly: It had value to MIL and I wanted the next person to appreciate that, if not in the same manner, then in a different but meaningful way. But who am I to dictate how other people's belongings should be distributed, handled, cared for? Who I am to set such high, unrealistic and unfair criteria? Seemingly grief can give a false idea of legacy. Enter MIL's friend and neighbour who, understanding everything – the practicalities, the emotions, everything - took the remainder of the collection for distribution among her crafting friends. To only say "thank you" is completely inadequate but I confess that any other, more suitable words, fail me.
Of course, this isn't the whole story. There's the self-reflection that goes with the loss, particularly when you can connect through a common interest. Can you imagine going through my projects, my stash, my books? More to the point, can you imagine what my MIL would say (let alone my own mother!) with the sheer abundance of stuff? What would they do with it all? Would they get any joy from it or would it be a toil – and, in my case, a very heavy toil?
I realise that now may not be the wisest time to make any decisions about my "stuff" so I'll refrain from giving away all my stash just now, tempted as I am. But I am more committed to knitting it. I'm starting with the yarn that MIL gave me. Too late for her to see the finished work, but – if I start now – not too late for her intended recipient to wear it: Her Oldest Grandson.
Anne, I think of you with every stitch. And your grandsons will be blessed to be wrapped in the enduring love of their Granny.