I sit in my chair, and look at the name. Someone I don’t know has died. Should that make it any less important?
I open the box of threads, thinking about color. My sister is making dinner downstairs, occasionally asking where things are. Maybe green? Green indicates hope and growth. It is a possibility, yet doesn’t feel adequate. I continue to consider colors. Maybe I should use purple? No, that is more of a color of ambition, and power. She wasn’t ambitious, I think. I look up blue. Blue is loyalty. Blue is faith. Blue can mean seriousness, stability, and softness. I choose blue.
I thread the needle. It takes a few tries. The needle pierces the fabric, as stitch by stitch the name is outlined. What goals did she have for herself? How many did she accomplish? Looking back on the life that she lived, would she have been satisfied? Or would she have wanted to do more?
I continue to work. I hear my mother downstairs, talking about her day. About her plans for this weekend, what she will do, the things she will accomplish. I feel the needle poke my finger through the fabric. Would my blood give testament to the sacrifice this woman has made, I wonder?
My stitches are uneven, I have never done this kind of thing. Only cross stitch, with orderly charts and colored boxes, make an X here, another one there. There are gaps between some of my stitches, and some areas are thicker than others. It seems appropriate somehow.Would she have cared, this stranger, knowing what I do for her now?
Would I feel different if it was my sister? My mother? Cousin or aunt? Would I feel more strongly? Or would I be numb, feeling the helplessness of what has happened, a life ended too soon?
As I continue to pick out her name in thread, I hear my husband laugh in the other room. I think about how lucky I am to have loved ones around me. Did she have time to know love? To feel someone’s arms around her?
This takes longer than I thought. The noises of my family die down, quietness settles over the house. I continue to stitch in the glow of the lamp, my stitches become more even. I continue to think about this woman I don’t know, who I likely would never have met. Yet here she is, touching my life.
I finish the last stitch and look down at my handy work.
Someone I don’t know has died, yet I wonder about her all the same.