Thursday, February 10, 2011

A hat that is more than a hat

When someone is ill, more so when terminal, most people wish they could do something. A casserole is standard, but when one is suffering through cancer and chemotherapy and can't eat then ideas can run a bit thin.

A few months ago I received a skein of hand dyed yarn. I tried making a few pairs of socks but nothing turned out. Then I found a pattern and quickly knit up a hat. I mailed it off to my husband's aunt who was undergoing cancer treatment and recovering quite well.

It had been just long enough that I started to wonder if she received the hat when I got a beautiful 'thank you' note in the mail. I was glad to have offered a little comfort to someone so deserving and, of course, received the gifter's thrill of knowing your gift was really appreciated.

The day after I received the note I got an email explaining that his aunt had recovered from her stomach cancer and subsequent intestinal complications wonderfully but the back pain which had been plaguing her was more than back pain. The cancer came back near her pancreas and this time the only treatment is to extend her life a few months by undergoing more chemotherapy.

She had requested that anyone who wanted to visit do so before she started treatment again since she will be vulnerable to infection. I called to set a time and she explained to me how much she loved her hat and that she wears it every day as she's been trying to continue walking for health, that it was the perfect color, perfect fit, but that it fell out of her pocket and was lost. She asked if I'd make her another one and insisted on paying me for it.

I had just enough left from the same ball and set to work on the twin hat. It was done just enough to give it to her during our visit. She smiled broadly which was payment enough. I explained to her that this was meant to be her hat. I had tried to make other things with the yarn but those projects did not work out. I told her that her loving the hat was so fulfilling for me and I couldn't accept money for a gift.

While it's only a small gesture I'm glad that I found some way to show how much we care for her.


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