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A Knitted Scarf by Libby Rich

The other day I found myself waiting to be admitted to Brookwood Hospital. For some unknown reason I was bleeding internally. I was by myself, worried sick, my imagination running wild with possible causes for the condition. I had not called anyone to come sit with me and offer comfort or distraction.

Shortly after I arrived a young woman on crutches was escorted into the room by a nurse. I thought she was in her mid to late 20s. When she was asked if she needed to sit down, the young woman declined, stating it was easier to stand. It was then I noticed her left leg was amputated below the knee, hear head was bald and a shunt was in her neck. After he nurse left I asked if there was anything I could do for her. She smiled and said no she was good: it was more difficult to get up and down than to just stand in place.

“Besides,” she commented, “I’ve been here lots of times and it never takes them very long to admit me.”

I asked about her diagnosis and she very calmly replied it was osteo carcinoma. “My chemo treatments require hospitalization so I can be carefully monitored.”

“Well,” I began, “I belong to a group called the Circle Of Life Knitting Group and we knit scarves for chemo patients at Kirklin Clinic and I happen to have a couple in my bag. May I give you one?” A huge smile appeared on her face as she said, “Sure that would be great!”

I pulled several unfinished scarves from my bag (all that they needed was to have the loose ends woven in). When she saw a multi colored one she said she would love to have it. I told her it would just take a minute for me to complete so that she could take it with her. As I began weaving the loose ends I gave thanks to the universe and the angels for allowing me to make a small gesture for this very sick woman. Regardless of my diagnosis, it would not be as harsh as hers. This woman was bravely fighting for her very life at a young age; I had lived 40 years longer, enjoyed good health, happiness, and success during most of it. She, while facing great adversity, still greeted the world with a smile and warmth. And this, my friends, taught me a much-needed lesson. I could do the same in her honor.

We exchanged hugs after I handed over the scarf and then we were wheeled our separate ways. I will hold her in my mind and heart and ask this special woman be given good health so she may continue to show by her example how life can be lived.


Libby Rich

The LJCC is funded in part by the Birmingham Jewish Federation, the Birmingham Jewish Foundation and the United Way of Central Alabama.