I sat down to knit in the June sunshine. C. came and joined me early on: “I need to give you an update on C-” (our neighbor whose cancer has come back). “She just started hospice care…She’s sleeping most of the time now, but the good news is she’s not in pain.” I asked why they gave her such a heavy dose because it would have been better if she could say her goodbyes instead of sleeping. But C. told me that it’s her brain tumor that’s causing her to sleep now. “She stopped walking last Friday,” C. said. C. had already said her goodbyes to her best friend last week before she went to sleep. “The whole thing is surreal.” C.’s face was peaceful but sad, her eyes watering slightly. I told her that she been a really good friend to C. and C. said our dying neighbor was a good friend to her–and everyone. Dying at 66 seems so young, just one year older than my mom. I couldn’t believe that I had just seen her about a week ago walking to her car, her new crop of hair fluttering lightly in the breeze. Now her sons and daughters-in-law have driven up to be with their mom in her final hours on earth…how fast we come and go. The whole time that I knit, people kept arriving with small gifts in hand to pay their respects.
It was strange to sit there knitting and watching as people came and went–it almost felt disrespectful…the wacky tone of my knitting performance felt out of key with the gravity of what was taking place so nearby…”She’s doing her work now,” C. told me, and I wondered what kind of internal work she could do while fast asleep. She had completed her project for the Red Cross before succumbing to the tumor…but she hadn’t made it to Sicily with her beloved husband R. as hoped.
I only knit for half an hour.