The Unexpected Project

This isn’t the blog post I’d intended to write.  I’d planned to write about our Midwest college tour, the miles logged, the progress made on the Travelling Shawl, and our impressions of the various colleges we visited.  But that all changed just before we left for our trip.

Before our departure, we received word that a friend of the boys, Peter, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and is now undergoing the first of a number of rounds of chemotherapy.  Peter is the same age as my teenager, and has, until very recently, been the picture of hale and hearty youth.  Now, he and his family are faced with a dizzying array of tests, procedures, and practitioners as they work together to fight the cancer.

I’ve thought a lot about his family over the past week, as they’ve faced their new reality at a time when I wish they were facing nothing more complicated than a series of college visits and applications.  It’s good to know that they are surrounded by a community of supportive family and friends.

Once I processed the news of the diagnosis and course of treatment, the next thing I asked myself was “What should I knit?”  A hat and possibly a shawl of some sort came to mind.  I researched topics I’d never before considered, such as types of hats that work well for those who’ve lost hair, fibers that are not irritating, and how sizing can be affected by not having hair.  I decided on a particularly silly pattern using Polartec Fleece yarn that made me smile when I saw it.  I hope it will make Peter smile, too, and that it will keep him warm during the coming Front Range winter.

Knitting won’t change his diagnosis.  It won’t make the chemo any shorter or the other challenges he’ll face this year any less daunting.  But when a knitter gives a piece of handknitting to another, she’s saying more than “Here’s a thing I knitted.”  She’s saying, “Here’s a unique gift.  May you be warm and comforted when you go out into the wide world wearing it.”

It’s my hope that Peter and his family will indeed be comforted in many ways over the coming months.

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