February 2014 my brother Jim and I decided to spend a week in Florida playing golf. My brother, Greg and his now wife, Mary Jo, also came to Vero to spend part of the week with us. It was a great week! Lots of golf! Lots of good food! Lots of fun!
However, the part of the week that changed my life happened at the end .....on the way home. Jim has a really good buddy, Larry Kiger, with whom he plays bridge on-line. Larry's wife, Jean, was very sick and had been in the hospital for a long time. The doctor had called the family in at least once to say their last goodby. These two people had been special friends to not only Jim but to my parents as well. Never did they come to Huntington without a bridge game with my parents. One day as Jim and I were preparing to start the trip back home, I said: "Let's stop in Winston-Salem and see Jean." We couldn't quit thinking about that possibility. And we were still talking about it as we packed the car and headed home. The trip worked out just right to reach the hospital before visiting hours were over. So Jim called Larry and gave him a heads up that we were on our way and made sure that it was indeed OK to come by.
I'll never forget Jean in that hospital bed! She looked radiant. She beamed with pleasure that we had stopped to see her. She hadn't washed her hair in weeks, but she had managed to make it very presentable. She had put a very pretty shawl/wrap around her shoulders. That small act to use what little she had on hand to look as good as she could touched me in a way that no huge ANYTHING would have touched me. It was a very special visit. It changed my life.
The two things that I took away from that visit were: 1. It is in the small things in this world that we will be remembered, so we must always remember to pay attention to our actions. and 2. I need to knit shawls/wraps for everyone that I love forever! Before this trip, I had eschewed small knitting projects because I felt they were wimpy. Sure I had done a year of socks when I realized that socks were what people had historically knitted. But if I wasn't going to jump into a sweater, perhaps I just wouldn't knit at all. Of course, the shawls/wraps/scarves have become very fashionable and that does influence my interest in them. But Jean Kiger has been the major influence for my knitting turn around.
Jean died this summer. I know that Larry is lost without her. It makes me very sad to think about the loss of someone loved so much. But it makes me happy that I had a chance to see the spunk with which she faced death for myself. I only wish that I had a photo to share with you. I certainly have a picture in my mind.