Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Yarn Along: Squaring up to dementia
It is Wednesday and time for Yarn Along again. What have you been reading and knitting?
This week, I have given up on Mr Tudge and he has returned to the library but I am still enjoying dipping into Katharine Stewart's crofting diaries.
Knitting-wise I have almost finished the baby cardigan for my nephew - the sleeves are attached and I just have the yoke and bands to knit.
I have also been knitting squares - 10cm (4 inch) squares using odd ends of DK yarn. I read in the local paper at the weekend about an awareness raising project in aid of Alzheimers Scotland. Some of you will know that I lost my Mother to dementia in 2010. For years we watched, despairing, as she slowly unravelled before us. All her skills, talents, humour, personality, gentleness, abilities and faculties just came undone- stitch by stitch at first, then part of a row - and then, suddenly - the woman we loved had been ripped away.
Almost as soon as she died, however, she came right back to us - knitted up again in the glorious patchwork that was her self. The bad memories of her illness - the difficult behaviours, the incapacity, the frustration and the decline during her final months and days - all miraculously vanished. We spoke about how she had been before this sickness took her from us - we laughed, we recalled, we shared, and we re-membered her.
Since then, I have shied away from anything to do with dementia - the very idea of it has been pushed away - no need to deal with this now. I had my mother back whole again, even if it was only in my memory. That first new year, a kind and loving friend sent a calender of the most beautiful landscape photography - printed on behalf of an Alzheimer charity. We could never bring ourselves to hang it on the wall - it would only serve as a reminder of what we had been through. I hated to hear about others who had been diagnosed - it brought back feelings of dread and despair. Even on the blog, I have a post label for Alzheimer's, from the occasions that I wrote about Mum and her illness. Sometimes I notice it, then quickly avert my eyes from that word. Indeed, it is a disease that strikes not only the victim, but their families too and we had all suffered in some way.
But then I read this tiny article - just a few lines and a phone number - Calling Knitters Young and Old. I phoned, and here I am knitting little squares to be joined up into a huge blanket of 71,000 squares - the number of people in Scotland diagnosed with dementia. All those different people, from all walks of life,who are slowly disappearing bit by bit. I like the idea of knitting for these, the unravelled; helping to create a collage of coloured yarn, each square representing the individuality of each person suffering from dementia. I think I feel ready to square up to this disease now.
The squares are needed by the beginning of May this year, so I have plenty time to run a few off as I go along. Many thanks to friends who are sending me squares too. I do know that there are some who read here whose lives have been touched by this disease, and one or two who are currently dealing with it right now. I send love, blessings and strength to you all.