Sunday, February 9, 2014

Live and Die with the Blanket - Finding New Threads

Last night another lesson showed itself all wrapped in blankets with MORE then a past... I will unravel this tale and hope you see and feel what I am trying to share.

When I met my husband back in 1977 he had a Ralph Lauren Polo Blanket in his apartment that was given to him as a graduation gift.  I never really liked it - brown, beige's and not a soft one to cuddle under.  With the birth of our first son Nicholas my poor husband had his lower lip shaved off due to cancer and started the process of daily radiation for more days then I care to remember.  I had taken a picture of this man under the blanket laying next to our son in such pain and illness that I feared he would not even see our son's first birthday.

Fast forward 4 years and the birth of our second son Conrad.  While I was having a C-section performed to help our son enter the world after 3 months of bed rest, hospital stays and all sorts of bad news my husband was undergoing a surgery to remove cancer on his forearm for the second time in two years.  When we reunited back at our house we all got under the blanket and hoped for a better year.

Through the years that blanket laid on my husband through many illness, hardship and pain.  My sons and I knew that it was to wrap him up in love and hope.   After the passing of Curt in 1996 I tucked that blanket in a box and could not handle to gaze upon it.  So much pain and sorrow I felt within it threads.  When a couple of years ago I laid out all the treasures of my husbands past upon the tables in my house I asked the boys to take what they wanted... One of the items Conrad took was the blanket.  I was glad to see the treasury go because the ghosts locked inside them always weighted so heavy on my heart.  I would struggle to remember the good times but it seemed as if only the bad times would surface and I could feel those feelings as if they were happening right that very second.

Fast foreword to this week.  When I arrived at Conrad's apartment there nicely folded on the arm of his couch was that blanket.  Like another reminder of all I had lost it made me burst into tears.  It was not the blanket but rather it was a physical reminder of ALL THE PAIN I had gone through and how NONE of it has left my heart.  Tucked away like I had done with that blanket I had tucked away all the feelings that I had experienced the last 32 years and had hope never to revisit.  Yep, there I was a puddle again without the words to even say what in the heck I was crying about now.  My son stood there like a deer in the headlights - what a wreck I have become. He struggled to find words to make it all better but that was like sticking a finger in a bursting dam - not the best idea

Each night I lay under the blanket during this bitter cold snap and the ghosts of all the past smothered this tired gal.  Each night I was willing to revisit those memories and face them head on.  Sometimes I could shake them and other times I felt as if I was being wrapped like a mummy in her tomb - to be buried alive for all time.  Then something amazing happened last night....

Conrad had a friend come over after they both got off work.  He was coming to purchase one of my antique wool blankets that I collected over the years.  They are military blankets from all over the world and have special meaning to me. You see I have had a soft spot of blankets that have covered the ill and dying - no wonder there but I have also felt that to honor those blankets was to honor those who suffered so while under them.  Anyway. the young man could not decide and although I gave the history of which country, which war and so on - he was not able to make a choice.  So I said in my usual weird way - "Close your eyes and hold each one and just feel"..  Yes, I got that strange look I am so use to but he complied - I think he only did it because he that he was being polite. 

As he picked up the first one he held it and nothing.  Then he reached for the next - one of my favorites  from Switzerland WWII but nothing.  Then he picked up one that has always been what I call " the special one... "  I have been known to pick it up in times of stress and squeeze it.  The clam, peaceful feeling that covers every inch of me during that time is like a hug from an angel.  The moment it was in his hands he pulled it to his chest and squeezed.  I smiled at Conrad and we knew he had found his blanket.  The young man opened his eyes and I could see he found what was missing.  Through our conversations about all sorts of other things this kind soul with many wounds kept petting and stroking the blanket. When it was time for them to leave - meeting up with friends for a fun night out Conrad came back into the apartment and asked me what I saw??? I told him what I saw in the young man the moment I met him but then I told him what the blanket showed me.  I know you are all giving this page that weird look but trust me when I say this...  Conrad's face changed to stone.  You see he never told me any of this young mans history, I never met him until this night.  Conrad stated I was spot on and that we needed to talk in the morning....

As Conrado closed the door and I locked the bolt - I took a very deep breath.  I walked over to the couch and grabed Curt's blanket.  I held it tight and let all the pain and sadness fill me.  I allowed buckets of tears to follow and did not try to tuck them away.  I allowed the story of this blanket to tell each tale and then release it's power.  I then took the blanket outside at 2 am and gave it a good shaking.  Releasing all the past and bringing it into the present.  As I did that I also said "Grace I am releasing you from the past and giving you new threads" I said this over and over until I felt the release.  Good thing now one is awake at this time or we might have had visitors from the rubber room appearing.

This morning as I made the bed I for just a moment revisited that blanket.  Again, I stated I am working with new threads....  I know the past is what we build on.  I know the events that are behind us give us knowledge, strength, joy and YES, pain but with each new thread we add we can change and so  TODAY I START WITH NEW THREADS.//

What is your blanket made of???   How have you wrapped yourself in pain, loss and sorrow???  What are you going to do to find NEW THREADS?  Would you share your blanket with us????


Anonymous said...

Grace,you have a gift. For the written word!!!!

liz said...

Dear Grace - I have two blankets actually. A down comforter that my Mom was going to throw away and a wool blanket from LL Bean that my Dad gave me for Christmas over 30 years ago. On the coldest of winter nights here in upstate New York, I can wrap myself in the warmth of their love for me. Please keep writing when you have the strength - it is a blessing to me and all others who read it. Blessings.

Nicole Bottles said...

whew what a relief. i'm not the only one who feels emotions in the weave of blankets! this is a real thing. yay. i have a pure alpaca blanket that an estranged aunt gave me from peru. and i feel so warm and safe when i snuggle with it. it's a little scratchy (i wonder if it's actually llama), so its not as much of a physical comfort as emotional.
i always tell people i knit love and hope into every stitch, ever twist of fiber that i spin!