A Departed Friend

For someone who spends so much time at funerals, I’ve attended relatively few at which I wasn’t officiating. Today, I’m attending my first funeral for a friend. 

I first met Pam Webb 13 years ago, almost to the day that she died. We first met at Rosh Hashanah services at Havurah Shalom in 1995. I was just finding my way back to Judaism and was slowly exploring options. Pam informed me that I “should” take the adult education class being offered. In fact, I suspect she informed me that I “would” be taking the class. Pam was a force of nature, and tended to give very concrete and directive advice. 

During a bone marrow replacement, Pam wanted a project to keep her mind off of the chemo. It was at about this time that Eva and I were remodeling the house. Pam was an architect, and decided to take on our remodel as something to keep her occupied in the hospital. Pam spoke for the house. Eva and I would talk about what we wanted out of the remodel, and Pam would speak of what “the house wanted.” Mainly, this consisted of making sure we weren’t doing terrible damage to the feel of the house. She always brought a certainty to the discussion, however, giving me a feeling that the house had some sort of spirit with which she was communing. Needless to say, the final design was both functional and beautiful, incorporating elements that a less creative architect would have said were not possible within the space limitations.

When Eva and I went off to Philadelphia, Pam was there with words of wisdom about couples moving for one partner’s career. When we started CubeSpace, Pam was available with advice, referrals and reality checks. After we opened, she took part in a multi-artist exhibition, displaying her fused glass. 

Pam was always full of ideas and projects. She was always heading off in some new direction. She was never daunted by barriers, and always sought ways around them. She kept more balls in the air than I could imagine. 

I will miss Pam’s energy and her wisdom. I will miss her presence. Her memory will be a blessing to all of us who knew her.

Baby Blanket: Starting a New Relationship

Some very close friends of mine just had a child. In response, as the knitter I am, I am responding in the only appropriate way: knitting a baby blanket.

I want to create something soft and usable, which will be loved for years to come. I want to be able to protect and comfort a child entering into a world which is often threatening. I want to knit the closeness of my relationships with the infants parents into the blanket. I recognize I’m loading an awful lot onto this little blanket. I know it is very  possible that the blanket may be deeply appreciated by the parents, and completely snubbed by the child, and that’s okay. What’s important is that I make the effort.

Eva is also participating (the blanket is being worked in strips, so Eva is doing some, and I am doing some), which is an experiment, in that I’ve never worked collaboratively on a knitting project before. It adds an additional layer of complexity to the feelings. How do I know what she is kniting into the blanket (I know the sentiments will be positive, and appropriate, but they aren’t quite mine in the same way)? But I want Eva also to be able to take part, and so I’m sharing. Also, I’d like it to get done soonish, and having Eva also work on it helps in that effort. But it is a bit of  an exercise in letting go–which is probably healthy for me.

As I knit this blanket, I’m wondering who the child will be. I’m wondering what our relationship will be. It’s a conversation Eva and I have had with the parents, and while we’ve discussed our ideas and hopes, obviously the infant has not yet been consulted, much less the adolescent the infant will someday become. We set a plan in place, and wonder what it will become.

In the meantime, strips of a baby blanket slowly materialize off my needles.