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The Gift That Helped 2 Families Through Grief

Elaine was a wonderful person and friend. She always had a smile and encouragement for anyone. We graduated from high school together and lost touch, but we reconnected in the late spring of 2009 via Facebook.

During the course of our catching up, I told her at length about our third son, Sam. He was born with an umbrella condition called heterotaxy, which affected every organ in his body. Several health scares and surgeries later, Elaine mentioned she had picked up knitting and would like to make a hat for Sam.

I was delighted by the idea and loved the fact that she was still the special, generous person she had been in high school. She was thrilled to tell me about the yarn she chose especially for him and give updates about how Sam’s hat was coming along.

Unfortunately, before she finished the hat, our son passed away. It was just eight days before his first birthday. We were devastated. Elaine offered her condolences and asked if we would still like the hat when it was finished. I told her I would love to have the hat.

To my surprise, she hurriedly knitted a prayer shawl for us and sent it along with the hat that was meant for Sam. I treasured both. I can’t even tell you how many times I would wrap myself in Elaine’s prayer shawl while aching deeply for my sweet Sam. It was such a comfort to me during such a difficult time. Even though Elaine wasn’t near, I was still wrapped in her prayers.


Just 16 months later, I heard the news that Elaine had unexpectedly passed away in her sleep. I was shocked and deeply saddened. However, I knew immediately that my husband and I would be making arrangements to attend Elaine’s funeral. I made sure to pack the shawl Elaine had sent to me.

At the funeral, I waited in line to talk to Elaine’s mom. With tears in my eyes and the shawl in my hand, I explained to her that Elaine had made the prayer shawl for me after my own son had died, but as much as it comforted me, I thought it might comfort her more. I believe the prayer shawl Elaine had so lovingly knit was actually not meant for me. It was meant for Elaine’s own mother.

Image via Contributor.

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