Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rainbows and Friendship

I learned to crochet a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it.  I made many projects like washcloths, baby blankets, prayer shawls, purses, and hats.  When I found out I was pregnant with Seth the first thing I did was go to Wal-Mart and buy yarn to make booties.  Yes I bought pink yarn and I came home and made my first pair of crocheted pink booties for my baby I was calling Faith.  I also crocheted a blanket for baby in a neutral green color.  In November when I learned my Faith baby was a boy one of the first things I did was go to Wal-Mart again and buy blue yarn.  And I started right away to crochet him a newborn hat and baby booties.  I loved how they turned out.  I couldn’t wait for him to wear what I had created.  These were his and he did wear them, but not like I had imagined.  I have them now in his memory box.  They represent the love I had for my sweet son while I was pregnant with him. 

I have boycotted anything crochet since he died.  The very thought of picking up a crochet hook and yarn made me sick to my stomach.  I was cheated out of seeing my son wear the hat and booties until he outgrew them.  And another thing that bothered me about crochet was the night before his birth I had moved a couple of boxes from my room to downstairs.  Some of the boxes were heavy and one of the boxes was full of yarn.  I have not moved those boxes since that night and when I see them guilt pours over me with the “what if” I caused him to die by moving those stupid boxes.  Boycotting yarn, yarn hooks, and crochet just seemed like justice to me. 

Crochet however has been an amazing experience for me.  When I learned about the craft friends and I were so intrigued by the fact that while your hands were busy it would be a wonderful time to pray.  I loved the idea of this ministry and I found myself praying for the recipient of my project while I was crocheting.  It was a new found love.  I am thankful as I created those sweet booties both the pink ones and the blue ones I prayed for my sweet baby.  It is a bittersweet memory.  But I have to believe God heard my prayers and my baby sensed them too.  My baby was cuddled, loved, and prayed over.  It was the best possible gift I could have ever given to him. 

I have a great friend who knew how the amazing experience crochet had on me.  She has gently tried to encourage me to pick up my crochet hook and create a project.  She reminded me that it might be healing to cry and pray as I created each stitch.  I have balked at her suggestion every time.  I wasn’t through letting crochet know that I was hurt that my most precious project was greeted with pain.  But if there is anything I have learned about grief is that sometimes the best way to work through it is by some physical outlet.  I have worked through pain by painting birdhouses, making bread, taking pictures, even mowing the grass and raking leaves.  I often balk at the idea of it but find the physical release of my grief moves me forward.

I am honored to have met a sweet friend who unfortunately knows the grief of losing a son full term too.  I was matched up with her through the hospital grief program.  We wrote to each other daily in the beginning and then finally decided to meet up for dinner.  We talked for four hours about our sweet boys, stillbirth, pain, and heartache.  We shared birth stories and photos and memories.  It was amazing to be with a friend who knew the language of babyloss.  I didn’t have to explain my feelings to her.  She understood them. 

I was thrilled when she told me that she was expecting her rainbow baby.  But I admit I was nervous too.  Because she was further along in her grief she had become like a big sister to me.  She had held me hand and listened to every hurt and pain I was experiencing.  Could I now return the favor and love her and support her during a pregnancy?  It was a rainbow baby!  I was in no way jealous of her.  I wanted her to have a baby.  I needed her to have a baby.  Her only child had died.  I have a houseful of kids.  This friendship has allowed me love her like I always love on a friend who is expecting.  And it was safe.

I had been pondering the idea of making her baby a hat, a rainbow hat.  But I was confronting my own pain of the connection I had allowed crochet to become to Seth and his death.  I picked up my crochet hooks and held them in my hand.  I felt determined to use them, to create with them, and to love on a “rainbow baby” of a precious friend.  I searched for the yarn.  It took a couple of attempts but then I found it.  I loved the rainbow colors and I was ready to create a rainbow colored hat for a rainbow baby.

I was nervous picking up the crochet hook, but I was reminded of my friend’s courage of being pregnant again after a loss.  I admire her courage.  I crocheted my first chain with the yarn.  And after a couple of attempts and a phone call to a friend to remind me the sequence I was crocheting again.  I began praying for my friend and her baby.  I also remembered my baby boy and my pregnancy.  The memories were sweet.  Although the pregnancy ended in heartache, I have a sweetness in my mind, in my soul of a sacred relationship with my son.  I found my eyes full of tears that began streaming down my face.  But I knew as they fell that they were tears of healing.  As I continued crocheting the hat I begin feeling a pride in my accomplishment.  My sadness began turning to a smile as I held this little hat in my hands.  It was beautiful.  All of it was; the hat and the moment of creating it.  As I finished the final stitch I was sad that it was complete.  It had been created so quickly. 

I wanted to make sure I had the sizing correct so I pulled from Seth’s memory box the sweet hat that I had created for him.  I held up the two hats to one another. The fit of the rainbow hat would be perfect.  I held within my hand the hat of my baby boy’s past and the hat of a new baby’s future.  It brought to mind of an unlikely friendship.  We met because our babies died.  It is a horrible reason to become friends, but now that I know her I can’t imagine not being her friend.  We have been through hell, but God and our babies brought us together to ease the pain. 

I loved how the crocheted hat turned out beautiful.  And of course I needed to crochet more.  I also made her sweet baby rainbow booties. 

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