Back in February my dear Grandma B. passed away.
My aunt and uncle were out of town, so they had asked us to come down to stay with my Grandparents and cousins for the weekend, just to “be a referee.” So, on Friday evening after work Brooke and I took off and started driving straight down to Orem, where they live. I got a couple of texts along the way, but didn’t pay any mind to them. However, once we got off the freeway and to a red light, I got a call from my mom, who was crying on the other end and told me that my Grandma had died a short while earlier.
I was totally shocked. It had come so suddenly! I had just talked to her the evening before! She had called the night before to ask what we would like for dinner when we arrived. I remember clearly her saying “Now, I heard that Brookie doesn’t like meat, so I want to make something special for her. How about soup and bread-bowls?”
When we arrived nobody was home, the cousins having gone over to a neighbors house to see some puppies to take their minds off things. We let ourselves in, and walked downstairs. And then it hit me. On the couch downstairs stuffed into a canvas bag was the afghan that she had been working on just earlier that day. When I saw that all I could do was hug Brooke and cry.
Now this afghan was kind of special. The colors were inspired by the afghan that I had made for my sister, and my Grandma had promised me last time that I had come down that she would show me how to make the pattern for this kind of afghan, and in return I had promised to show her how I made a pillow for Taci.
Later that night, after the Bishop had come over and had a good talk with all of us, and after had had a few more sad moments seeing where she had set set out bread to rise for our dinner earlier that morning, we were sitting downstairs and talking. I asked my Grandpa if I could finish the afghan that Grandma was working on and he said that he would like that. But I had no idea how to start! So, I looked up the pattern online, and made a sample baby blanket for Alexis (who we had just learned a few weeks before was pregnant).
Once I got underway in earnest, I had another special moment. I had noticed earlier that there were a few miscellaneous items in the bottom of the bag, but I had never really paid attention to them. Now that I pulled them out, I had another sweet moment knowing that my Grandma had been thinking of me. On an envelope for a magazine subscription renewal that she thought I might be interested in she had written “Taylor?” For me it was a tender mercy, a sweet little message from beyond the grave that my Grandma was thinking of me.
I kept working on the afghan on and off. Sometimes I was too busy, sometimes I was bogged down trying to find the same color (or a close match) to the yarn that she had been using, and sometimes it was just to hard to pull it out because I missed her too much. Gradually I got working on it regularly though, and I set a goal to have it finished by October General Conference. I finished it just the other week, right on time.
I learned several things from this experience. I learned that I have an absurdly tight crochet stich compared to my Grandma (I had to switch up to a larger hook just so that I could make it match- although the middle is a bit differently shaped than the rest). I learned that small mistakes can be hidden in a larger pattern. Above all I learned that a part of mortality is that we are going to leave things unfinished in this life – that’s just part of mortality. However, we can leave behind a pattern and the tools necessary for those who come after us to finish what we have started. I’m grateful that my Grandma left me such a great pattern to follow for my life, and that she left me a legacy of testimony that I can use to work on my own life.