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THE HEALING BLANKET

Margaret Rogers www.weavings.us

Oh, what excitement. Theresa, our first child had just told us she and her husband were expecting their second child. She told us, that before she knew she was pregnant God had revealed to her, she would have a son in July and his name was to be Isaac. This would make five grandchildren for my husband, Robbie and me. We were all so thrilled.

Theresa is such a good expectant mother. She prays continually, talking to the baby at regular intervals, always eating the right foods and taking care of herself so her baby would be healthy. And, Todd is such a big loving husband and father. Everything was right with them. How wonderful it is to see such a young Christian family. They have their whole life before them, and with God leading them what could be more.

For eight and a half months everything did go smoothly. Theresa's regular trips to her Christian doctor were uneventful. Then one day I came home for lunch. Robbie, was babysitting Joshua, Theresa and Todd's two year old. Theresa was just leaving. She said she had felt her baby kicking just fine during the night, but when she awoke she didn't feel any more movement. She called the doctor and they told her to come in right away to do a sonogram; it was probably nothing, but they would check.

When Theresa arrived at the doctor they immediately ushered her in. All was not well, there was no heartbeat.

Robbie called me at work and said that Isaac had died and they would have to induce labor. We all left for the hospital immediately. It was such a sad event which did not end quickly. Her labor was not easy and the pain of knowing her baby was dead was almost more than she or anyone else could bare. Her husband, Todd and I were in the delivery room when Isaac was born. I will never forget the weight of it all.

Afterwards all of us in the family held Isaac and told him hello and goodbye. Our priest, Mike Hesse, was there too and we also had a baptism for baby Isaac. We each said a prayer and wept many tears.

How could this happen?

Everything was so picture-book perfect, but Isaac was dead.

No matter that we all prayed silently that God would bring him back, he was lifeless.

Such a small bundle.

Such a tragedy.

Even after all the tests were run we never knew what caused baby Isaac's death. It was very hard for us to let him go even though we knew God was taking good care of him now.

When I first learned of Theresa's pregnancy, I had decided to weave a baby blanket for Isaac. I am a mostly self-taught weaver, having learned from numerous books. I live 55 miles from the nearest weaving guild and it is rather difficult to get instructions other than reading. I have an old floor loom that I bought on vacation in Kentucky, so I went to work excited and more than a little scared. I especially prayed that God would help me make this blanket special. I always pray when I work at weaving, but I so wanted this one to be great since I had never made anything for a family member. I wasn't sure I could do it.

I had been subscribing to a weaving magazine so I had a lot of ideas, but I had only woven about 15 items so I didn't have a lot of experience. I found a Checked Baby Blanket design that I thought I could handle.

Living in the small town of Destin in Florida, I didn't have much yarn to chose from. I ended up using a hand knitting acrylic, normally used for baby items. I began, though rather slowly since I often work overtime and only have the weekends to weave. I had only worked about twenty inches of Isaac's blanket when the tragedy happened. Afterward, I just quit working on it. How could I? The pain was too great.

Other young mothers in our church had their babies; they were so joyful. Tears rolled down our cheeks as we watched them hold them or heard the little sound newborns make. How would we ever get over this hurt?

After a few months and giving it all to God, I attended a grief workshop at the church. It is good to get together with Christians, especially ones who have gone through a traumatic event and are hurting like you. Through the workshop I learned many ways to deal with grief. I prayed and felt my way was to complete the blanket, so I began working on it again.

Theresa and Todd want other children and maybe by finishing the blanket it would be a part of Isaac and a new baby too, it would help keep him close to his new little brother or sister. Through grief counseling they also advised me that it would be healthy for me to finish it.

As I began early one morning before work, I switched on the light in my sewing room. The bright light illuminated the unfinished blanket. I thought of Isaac and the tears began rolling down my cheeks. As I moved the beater bar back and forth it found its rhythm. I found a change in me as I prayed within the rhythm. Little by little the design continued to unfold. More and more it unfolded and a true healing began in me.

I did a lot of praying and soul searching as I worked on Isaac's blanket. Still, I often put off working on it even though I could. Gradually weeks changed to months and a transformation came over me. I could accept Christ's healing touch and my grief somewhat subsided. Finally, as I got closer to the end I felt a great burden lift. The Healing Blanket was done and so was some of the hurt. It was good to finish.

It is beautiful. Maybe not so much to everyone, but to me and my family it is and it is especially to God. Somehow I know Isaac thinks it is too. But, the real beauty is in God's tender caring. Through it all God was always there, knowing and caring.

Do I understand? No, and maybe I will never until that time when I come face to face with Jesus. But this I do know, God felt the hurt and anguish we all felt at the loss of little baby Isaac. No, we can never completely get over losing someone close to us, but the joy of knowing that we shall see them again and that they are in a better place, a place filled with joy, makes it all better.

Theresa and Todd went through a long grieving spell. They wanted another baby but this was not to be for such a long time. I did not tell her about the blanket. I put it up until the time was right, but I shall always think of it as a "Healing Blanket," made with love.

As a foot note: Theresa and Todd now have two more children, born perfectly, in addition to their first, Joshua, they now have Samuel, and Rachel.