Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Joyful Remembrance

A quick update on some knits before I get to the rest of this post. I finished my first pair of fingerless mitts! I did them with Knit Picks City Tweed in the colorway Kitten. The City Tweed is a Heavy Worsted and these babies went quick. Someone else may have been able to finish them faster but I did them in 2 days. I suppose if I did nothing but knit I probably could've done them in a day.

Knit with Knit Picks City Tweed in colorway Kitten on two US size 7 circulars


In a heavier weight yarn these things are so easy to crank out. And I finished them just in time for the really cold weather to hit. Success! I wanted to start with a Plain Jane pattern....its not even really a pattern really. I used a free pattern from Ravelry which was developed for heavy worsted yarn to get the CO stitch count. I already knew I wanted ribbing at the bottom and tops of the mitts and thumb. I followed my Moms instructions on how to make the thumb. Now that I understand how the thumb gusset works I can design patterns for mitts that are knit on 2 circulars! I've made more progress on Dads socks. I turned the heel last night and am doing the gusset decreases now...

Knit with Fiesta Yarns Baby Boom Team Spirit on two US size 2 circulars

The Holidays are a time when we reflect on the year, what we have accomplished and what we have yet to accomplish and our plans for the future. It is a time when we can all come together and forget, if even for just a moment, about the things that separate us. The Holidays are also a time of profound remembrance. Sometimes that's remembering whatever religious significance the Holidays hold for you, remembering long distance friends with whom you cannot share this time with, remembering family traditions and what the Holidays were like for you as a child and how those traditions have changed and evolved over time. Primarily, it's remembering people we love who are no longer here to share these times with us. In my family, we always tell and share lots of stories about my grandparents, great-grandparents and aunts and uncles who are no longer with us. There are lots of stories and I love to hear them retold every year!  

But for me, the person I miss the most during the Holidays is my brother Dennis. He was older than me by 2 years and he was my only brother. Dennis died in a car accident on May 25th 1999 in Tucson, Arizona. My life has never been the same.We talk about him all the time...almost as if he were still here. I think it's my family's way of keeping him with us still, never missing a beat. Its around this time of the year when I miss him them the most. I think he would be very proud of how our family has grown to include so many wonderful friends!

What can I say about my brother Dennis? He was a wonderful man but I'm probably a little biased! He was funny and silly, and extremely loyal. He was my best friend but we didn't start out that way. He and I had a tough time growing up, or rather, I did. As kids, he was terrible to me. But he was the only one allowed to do that. Only HE could make fun of me. As a kid, I remember thinking how much I just wanted an older brother I could look up to... one that I could be friends with. It would be years before I would I have that. When I got married the first time in 1996 in California and he flew out from Arizona for the ceremony, something had changed. He was different. He was so excited for me and excited to be a part of the service. There were couple things about my first wedding that I will never forger; my grandfather was able to be there and the brother I always wanted was there. This first marriage was a bad one. I had to leave this abusive situation less than 30 days after the service and it was my brother who rescued me. He flew to California, picked me up and drove me all the way back to live with him in Arizona. The circle of friends he had was a wonderful one. They all knew me through him. When he brought me to Arizona they took me in like I was a member of the family without missing a beat. Dennis and I spent time together all the time. If he was having a bad day he would call me up and we'd go out and have a few beers together and chat it out. Likewise if it were me having the bad day. While in school full time he was also a manager at a Chinese Restaurant. He used to bring me takeout Chinese food several times a week. He's stay and eat with me and we'd shoot the breeze about whatever or watch a movie before he had to leave. If we wanted to go out on a Friday or Saturday night and let loose for a little bit, we'd call each other and get together with our shared friends. It was almost rare that either one of us would go out without the other one or without our friends we had in common.  Dennis and I made up for lost times, bad times, and times that we didn't know we wouldn't have. We had 2 wonderful years in Arizona together before he passed. We created enough memories to last a lifetime.

The Holidays are when I miss him the most. I just wish he were he to share it all with us. He would've loved Albuquerque during the Holidays! He made it here once for a visit, shortly after my folks retired here and just 2 weeks before his passing, and he really liked it here. Here are some photos I'd like to share of the best brother in the world....

Our first photo together taken in 1972. 
My Mother rediscovered this photo in Cookie's things when she died. Cookie was my Moms mother. She was never called grandma or grandmother, she was always Cookie. It was Dennis who gave her this nickname. When he was about 4 he discovered if he tugged on whatever she was wearing and said 'cookie' he would get one! The name stuck. This was a photo taken specifically for the grandparents when we were kids. My parents couldn't afford extra copies for themselves, they just made sure my grandparents had them!

Dennis and I in the spring of 1976

Dennis and I Christmas 1976. I'm sitting on one of our Christmas presents that year, a sled. The old-fashioned kind...a real sled!

This is one of my Mother's favorite pictures of Dennis and I. This was taken on Easter morning, before church, 1977. See all those dandelions? Yeah. I loved them. The entire front of my dress was yellowed from those dandelions...and this was before church!

This was taken at my Grandmothers church on her 80th birthday in 1991

This is Dennis and I on Easter morning in 1991

This was taken at Cookie's place in California in 1994.

This is Dennis and I ready for our friend's Mike and Dece's wedding in June 1997. Mike and Dennis were best of friends and Dennis was the Best Man this day. I had a minor role in the service of lighting the candles at the front of the church for the ceremony. This is my favorite picture of the two of us ever. Although its a bit dated, its the best I looked in my whole life. I don't really look like this anymore...

This is Mike & Dece and Dennis giving his Best Man Speech - June 1997

This picture was taken at Sandia Peak here in Albuquerque. It was taken in May 1999 just 2 weeks before his passing and is one of 2 pictures taken that afternoon. These were the last pictures taken of my brother. He was very happy to have had the chance to come and visit my parents in their new home.

I miss a lot of people during the Holidays. I miss Cookie, she died 5 1/2 years ago. What I miss most about Cookie is that I never had the chance to knit with her. I didn't start knitting until after I moved here to Albuquerque which was about a year after she died. I do believe, however, she is knitting vicariously through me! I miss my Aunt Fran and Uncle Herb and the traditions we had when Dennis and I were kids. We always went to their place in Michigan for Thanksgiving and they would come to our place for Christmas. I miss the Schuster Family during the Holidays. During our years in Ohio, we always shared our Holidays with one another. Being Christian, we celebrated Christmas and the Schuster's celebrated with us. The Schuster's are Jewish and we celebrated Hanukkah with them along with many other Jewish Holidays. It was a wonderful tradition that allowed us all to learn a bit more about our different faiths. I miss Alisa during this time of year. She taught me that no matter what you choose to do during the Holidays, YOU MUST HAVE PIES! I think we made about 152 of them for Christmas of 1998. I miss my friend Rob and his "I'll take 2 Jesus's and a Hail Mary to Go, please!" There is not enough room in this post to explain that one but trust me, he'll never forget and neither will I. I miss my friends Mike and Dece and their Very Ugly Christmas Angel! But most of all, I miss my brother Dennis. I know he is never very far away and he is keeping a very good eye on all of us and those we love and care about. 

Holidays are meant to be celebrated and enjoyed! No matter where you are, what traditions you celebrate from year to year, whatever religion you choose or choose not to incorporate into your festivities, or whoever you've invited to your table to break bread, remember those who are no longer with us. Not in a sad or mournful way, but rather in joyful remembrance.


This post is for my beloved brother Dennis Edward Smith - October 22, 1969 - May 25, 1999

4 comments:

  1. What a heart warming description of your brother. It is obvious you both shared incredible love for each other. Peace to you and yours in this season of love and remembrance. Selena

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  2. Selena,
    Thank you so much! Yes, what we shared was indeed very special. To have stuffed so much wonderfulness into just a couple of amazing years, its hard to believe that there isn't a power or being or something greater than all of us who knew exactly when Dennis' time here with us would be done. Many times I have looked back on the time leading up to his death and realized that he was able to be a part of and see certain things come to pass. My 1st marriage he rescued me from, he saw that divorce get finalized - and that took a while. He saw me go back to school and be successful, he saw my folks retire and move to NM as they had wanted to for years...then he came here and saw their home. Things like that. Hard to explain but I think you know what I mean. So many things like that stuffed into a short period of time. And a lifelong sibling friendship lived in 2 years and 4 months. Amazing.

    I hope you too have a wonderful Holiday this year with your family and friends. And lots of knitting! I hope your Holiday holds a lot of knitting and yarn for you!

    Claudia

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  3. Beautiful post about Dennis. Hugs to you.

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  4. I Miss him too Claud. Lots of memories ...... crazy times, fun times, happy days and lots of love.

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