My friend is not the least bit vain. Unassuming, she is one of those people who kept the same look for decades (although I have watched her hair change to many wonderful colors). She had made the decision to wear wigs during this period and I decided I would knit/crochet hats for her. She is a strong woman with a solid support system in her family and friends. She is not detached from being sad about losing her hair, but she would never complain, brave front and all. She knows I'm making hats for her and she didn't ask for anything special, she likes the styles she has seen from me in the past. I have already begun to make these for her, but I am having the hardest time with this. My creativity is struggling and it just doesn't feel right.
I had to think about it, but I realized I’ve never created anything for someone who is ill, not someone I know personally. I've participated in charity events where I've made throws, hats and scarves and toys for animal shelters, Hospice care, those in cancer treatment and preemie babies in hospitals, the Homeless and the poor and for friends of friends, without hesitation or reservation. I've even met some of the people of whom I've made these things. I thought I had empathy, I’m sure I did for most of it, but if I’m really true to what that word means I have my doubts now and it’s freaking me out a bit. I find myself obsessing over whether I should make the hats whimsical and funny or just practical to keep her head warm. What should I do to make her feel better…there is nothing I can do to make her feel better…I should make her tell me what she wants…that’s dumb and selfish of me, she’s not suppose to make ME feel better…OMG, what’s wrong with me… I hate this.
Having been a paramedic for awhile, one learns to keep illness and mortality at a distance. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the people or that you can’t become emotionally attached; it’s a misnomer that doctors and not emotionally involved with their patients. It’s empathy one learns to put aside. Empathy is the emotion that makes you think “how would I feel in the same situation”, and when one has to make a decision on what is practical and best, empathy will screw it up every time. Don’t think so? If I were facing cancer treatment, all that would be on my mind is getting rid of the f*^kn’ cancer. No cover up or fake hair would make me feel any better about facing it. I can’t imagine how any one individual would feel, I only have my own emotional content to go with...that’s the part I have to give up to do this. It’s not about me. I have to go on the premise that what I am providing is what she really wants from me and yarn and cats are what I do best. For now , I’m just going to bury it and go buy some more yarn.
She likes greens and lavenders, I’ll try that…