Eleanor's Yellow Sweater
She came into the library where I worked. At first, we exchanged pleasantries and social trivialities. Then we discovered we were both quilters and the niceties of small talk turned to discussing fabric choices and hand quilting versus machine quilting. From the topic of quilting we branched out to other topics. It was as if we could talk about anything, but more often than not, it was the things that made us laugh that we talked about most.
She would find out when I'd be working so she could bring in her knitting to show me. She was working on the most beautiful yellow cardigan for herself. Probably the first project she ever made for herself - she was the kind to think of everyone else first. After much discussion of button options she decided on brown wooden ones to complement the buttery softness of the yarn. Beautiful.
The last time I saw her, it was a Saturday. She came in the library to use the computer and had problems printing. I helped her. She checked out two books. I asked about the sweater and she said she had put it aside to finish two other sweaters for her nieces for Christmas presents. She left.
The following Friday, Eleanor died.
I don't know why, that in addition to the grief of losing a new friend, I am deeply saddened that her unfinished projects will never be finished. The nieces won't get their sweaters for Christmas and Eleanor will never buy those wooden buttons. Her yarns and needles and the pale yellow sweater parts will be packed away in a box - her husband unable to throw it out, but unable to know what to do with it. Some day, someone will buy the box, which will be marked "miscl sewing," at auction. They won't know what to do with it either.
Let's make a pact with our best quilting friends. Let's make a pact that whoever goes first, the others will finish the last project they are working on. Let's celebrate them as we work on their one last project and laugh over the good times we shared. Let's remember that the best part of quilting - and friendship and life - is not just the finishing, but the journey to get to the finish.
Here's to you Eleanor! I didn't know you for a long time, but the time we had made all the difference.
Note: Some of you may know I have a daughter named Eleanor. This Eleanor is not her.