Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Knitting for Ghede

I went to the hospital today. No, I am not sick. I was dropping off a bag of hats the sosyete knit this winter. And I got way more than I came for.

I spend my time leading this house of love we call Sosyete du Marche. Its a good life. I have my dogs under foot. I have an active and robust gang of folks who come together monthly to sing lustily into the night. But I also have this itch, this hankerin' to serve more. To do more. I will not go gently into the night, only to leave a legacy of throwing fets and baking a mean lasagna. I want to make a difference, no matter how small or unknown.So I come up with ideas that I foist upon my hapless crew and get them to join me in my mad cap adventures. This winter, I discovered I had not one but four huge bags of leftover yarn. Hmm.. a conundrum for me, but not for long. Hats! I will make little beanies and then... give them away! And so will everyone I know!

And so we begin knitting and crocheting with relish. I make three premmie size beanies and begin a fourth, when Papa Don pops his cork and my knitting takes a back seat to worryin'. Fast forward to January this year, and I am swimming in multicolor caps, due in large part to my sister mambo, who can knit like the devil is chasing her, and she's got to finish before dawn. So I do what I do - I make a couple calls, find the right department and get an invite to come on down and drop off the caps. Simple.  Not.

I go to the Albert Einstein Neo-Natal unit on North Broad Street in Philly. I have history with this hospital - Don's cardiologist was here and for nearly 20 years, we dutifully came every six months for testing, trials and tears for fears. Ugh. But it's home (in a way) and so I reached out to them first. As I rounded the corner to the NeoNatal unit, I am joined by four ladies who are Marketing, Volunteer and Admin for the unit. There's a photographer in tow, and the publicist. Those who know me, know I loathe to be put in the spot light. I like to do nice things and then disappear like the genie in Aladdin's lamp. I pose for pictures, holding the bags. I bond with the Head Nurse, who whispers conspiratorially to me, "Can I ask for something?" "Of course," I say. What she then said blew me away.

"We need death blankets. Little ones, and a cap to go along. It for the families, so they can have a memento of the baby." My spirits don't abandon me, so I ask "How little?" "Oh, 18 inches square would be good." I swallow hard, and say "Of course, I'll get right on them." I am shocked back to reality by the numbers that she reels off to me - appalling numbers. 3,000 births a year, with a fatality rate of 60%. Newborns sent home in tee shirt and diaper in 6 degree weather. Drug addicted babies who can't stand being touched, or being in the light or around loud noises. The blankets help block out sound and light, keeping them safe and warm. By the time I get to the car, I am in tears.

And so Ghede pats me on the back and says Just Do It. And of course, I will. Those four bags of yarn are still there. And my sewing machine is running behind me as I write. I will use my skills for more than decorations or pillows. I will help to cloth Ghede's children, so they can go warmly into the light -- be it day or evening. And hopefully, any of you who reads this, can help me too.

If you knit or sew, I am asking for donations. If you are handy witha  pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook, then I need newborn and premmie caps; 36" square blankets of any kind. Small 18" blankets for those little angels who've already departed for Ginen. Just send them to me, Mambo Vye Zo at 1615 Dekalb Street, Norristown, PA 19401. I will take pictures and post when I can. Please remember these are for babies, so pale colors, nursery prints and small details are all appropriate. Any 18 inch blanket received will be embroidered by me with the word, "Love".  If you can't knit or crochet, then how about send me fabric or yarn, so those of us in the sosyete who do hand work, will have supplies to use. Anything you give is gratefully accepted, and deeply appreciated. The work of a Mambo is healing - babies, parents or nurses. It's all part of the cycle. Ayibobo.

1 comment:

Cheshire Catman said...

We can't always prevent death, but we can send the dying into the night with love. Bless you, Mambo.