Virginia sat on the chair looking out the window, knitting needles in her hands. Knit one pearl two she thought to herself as she mindlessly wrapped the yarn around the needle and then pulled it through. Knit one pearl two, she continued. Sighing, she thought, has it been a year already? Will things ever get back to normal?
Knitting had always been a relaxing activity for Virginia, and she had knit more blankets, scarves and hats that she could count. This year, though, knitting had taken on a whole new meaning. It had become her world. It was a life saver.
Knit one pearl two, as she stared out the window in anticipation of her weekly visit from her daughter and grandchildren.
Not much of a visit, she thought to herself. They will try to speak to each other while peering through the window. They will blow kisses and give each other air hugs. For as much as she was grateful that they hadn’t forgotten her over the past year, she looked forward to the day where they wouldn’t have to pretend to catch each other’s kisses and she could wrap her arms around them and feel the warmth of their arms around her.
Knit one pearl two. She continued to work the yarn.
It has been a very long year for the residence of the Cedar Knolls Independent Living Facility that she now calls home. When she first moved into her apartment five years ago, she was thrilled. She met a lot of people and enjoyed all of the activities and social events that her new home offered. She was so busy that it was difficult for her to find the time to knit as she always had, until this past year, that is.
It was one year ago today that the pandemic struck, and lock down began. At first, the forced isolation was welcomed. It enabled Virginia to pick up her knitting needles again. Knit one pearl two. The rhythm of knitting needles sliding past one another was relaxing and didn’t allow to her to become overly concerned with the pandemic and the ensuing lock down.
As weeks turned into months, though, the studio apartment that Virginia loved and painstakingly decorated began to feel like a prison. She ate, slept and spent all of their waking hours alone in her room. They were told that it was to keep them safe, so they wouldn’t catch the corona virus. It didn’t make her feel safe. Instead, she felt as though she was being suffocated.
Knit one pearl two. Keep knitting, she told herself trying to keep her mind off of what was becoming an unbearable situation.
Before the lockdown, Virginia had a very busy social schedule. After breakfast each morning, she would play board games with some of her friends. Afterward, they would go outside and walk around the gardens weather permitting. After their walk they usually went back to one of their apartments to have a cup of tea or coffee and would sit and chat until lunch. After lunch they would take advantage of the many afternoon activities offered at the facility. Some days she would take a water aerobics class, some days a yoga class. Other days, she would play trivia games in lounge. The activities seemed endless and by eight o’clock in the evening, Virginia was ready to return to her apartment and get ready for bed.
The staff at Cedar Knolls did their best to buffer the isolation. Someone from the staff would check on each resident daily by coming to their rooms. It was a short visit; no more than five minutes, but Virginia anticipated and loved those few minutes of human contact. Someone from the recreation staff would also visit once a week with an iPad which would allow her to Face Time with her children and grandchildren. She would call each of her three children during those times. The calls were short, but it was comforting to hear their voices and see their faces. It was during one of those phone calls that Virginia asked her daughter who lived close by to buy her some yarn allowing her talents as a gifted knitter to be recognized.
Stacy, who was often the staff member who connected her Face Time calls, saw her beautiful creations and asked her if she could knit some blankets for residence who had been sick with COVID and had just returned from the hospital. Stacy thought that these individuals, many of whom were still weakened from the infection, would appreciate something new and warm. That’s how it all started.
The facility bought her the supplies that she needed. The skeins of yarn kept coming and Virginia’s fingers kept knitting.
The blankets that she knit were soft and beautiful and sure to be a comfort to their new owner. She would show off her creations to her daughter through the window whenever she came to visit. Her daughter would smile at each and remind her of how much the recipient would appreciate the new blanket. It made Virginia feel good that she might be brightening someone’s day.
Word got out about the resident of Cedar Knolls that knits blankets for recovering COVID patients and local craft stores began to donate yarn and knitting needles. Other residence who knew how to knit or crochet asked if they could help and began to make blankets as well. Blankets were now being sent to other independent living facilities and nursing homes in the area.
Her small studio apartment began to be overrun with yarn and blankets. She had a pile on the floor next to her couch, another pile next to her bed and another in her large walk-in closet. She didn’t mind, though, it gave her a purpose which helped her endure the isolation. It gave her a reason to get up in the morning.
Her favorite place to knit was in front of the double window that lined the living room part of her apartment. She took one of her Queen Ann chairs and faced it towards the window which allowed her to watch the season’s go by as she knit. In the spring when the lock down began, she witnessed the blooming of the daffodils and tulips. So many colors, which brightened her mood. In the summer, roses bloomed along with cone flowers, daisies and the many annuals that were planted by the landscapers. Towards the end of the summer, black-eyed susie’s brightened the area with their yellow petals. Mums were planted towards the end of September which brought beautiful color to end the warmer months.
The colder months put the trees to sleep with their bare branches reaching towards the sky. How majestic they look and how strong and resilient they are to weather such cold and often stormy days, Virginia thought.
Knit one pearl two, she would often say to herself as she sat knitting and watching the seasons go by.
It was visiting day for Virginia so she sat in her favorite chair knitting and enjoying the warmth of the sun that was beaming through her window. The sun feels so wonderful, she thought to herself. She noticed the cloudless sky as she anticipated the arrival of spring and the cheery daffodils that it would bring. She craned her neck and tried to spy toward the path that she knew her daughter would take to get to her window. It’s been quite a year, she thought and although she was grateful for her many blessings, she sat in her chair and wondered, will life ever get back to normal?