O, Knit Dishcloth, I adore you
Laced with loosely locking loops!
How you’ve kept me sane these past months,
Paced by stitching forms in groups.
Knit and slip, I follow instructions;
Trying to keep my mind busy.
Colours keep singing, making one
Grateful for your company.
Partly for fun, partly for relief; I wrote the above poem a few weeks ago. You see, I do love knitting, but I don’t knit big items (or at least I haven’t been interested so far). Knitting uses less yarn than crocheting, but it takes longer to form a piece of fabric. This is one reason I stick to small knit projects. Another reason is that small projects are portable, which is great if one is travelling, sitting and talking with people, or, say, keeping vigil by a hospital bedside.
Nearly nine months ago, my beautiful, then-twenty-year-old daughter was hit and thrown by a car on a busy city street, by a reckless driver who then left her broken body lying there. Even just typing that one sentence has me sobbing, again. She was very lucky that it happened right across the street from our region’s best ER trauma centre; we were told that without immediate trauma care, she would have died. I’ll likely write more about this whole thing in the coming months, but suffice it to say that the call from a police officer right after she got hit was the worst ever. And by the way, YES, the driver was found and arrested pretty quickly. Back to dishcloths…we spent lots of time in the hospital in the weeks afterwards.
As one might imagine; the first night, few days, weeks were chaotic and filled with shock and worry. Lots of news, lots of information to digest, lots of decisions to make, lots of new sights and sounds to absorb. She had many broken bones, some of which needed reconstructive surgeries to fix. She also had brain injuries. I won’t forget the knot that formed in me when the ER trauma doctor told us that. I also won’t forget the huge relief I felt when he told us she was still alive – we probably waited in a family waiting room for an hour or two before hearing any news. So, yes…we spent a ton of time in hospital with her, while friends and neighbours kept us fed. I’d go into the hospital room, steeled for whatever might come each minute as she made her way back to consciousness and then dealt with all the fallout that comes with brain injury. It was heartbreaking to watch her go through all this. In between all that needed to be done, both by her bedside and at home, I knit dishcloths (once some shock wore off).
The photos in this blog post are actually dishcloths I knit before her accident; obviously I didn’t even think of taking photos of the ones I was making while she was in hospital. I just knit, knit, knit to keep my hands busy; knit while she slept, knit while in the family lounge and my husband and I had to take turns going into her room, knit while talking with her once she became more coherent. I gave the dishcloths away to various people who actively cared for us, and then I kept knitting them.
She spent three months recovering in hospital and in rehab. The past nearly nine months have been life-changing for our whole family. She recovered quite well physically with all the broken bones and some other physical issues. Her brain injury is a new world for all of us. These months have been filled with ups and downs, and I developed PTSD symptoms. Without going into all the details, I had an exasperating wait to get therapy for that. But I finally got it, and it was very helpful. And I keep knitting dishcloths, because as my poem says, it LITERALLY keeps me sane right now. When flashbacks occur (police phone call, imagining her being knocked out of her shoes, sitting in the ER not knowing if she was dead or alive, etc.) or grief strikes, knitting is one thing that helps me stay grounded, even as I cry yet again.
And that’s why I wrote the poem. OBVIOUSLY I am eternally grateful that my girl survived this awful event and is doing as well as she is. But I also was truly grateful for handiwork that could keep my mind going, and even the act of creating and revising the poem was a grounding activity for me.
Anyone have a similar story they’d like to share in the comments below?