When my son was born, over thirty three years ago, I received a beautiful handmade blanket for him. I remember the day I received the blanket. My sister, Sandra, handed me the wrapped box. I carefully unwrapped the box, lifted the lid and slowly folded the tissue paper back.

There, in the box, was the beautiful hand knit blanket. As I looked at the blanket, Sandra exclaimed, “I made it!” I must have looked at her questioningly, because again she exclaimed, “I made it, really, I made it!”

Sandra, who was murdered two years ago, wasn’t known for her domestic abilities, especially knitting. She proceeded to tell me she had learned how to knit so she could make the blanket for me and my new baby.

A few months ago, while once again purging my closet, I came across the blanket. It was in a box, carefully wrapped in tissue paper. When I folded back the tissue paper and saw the blanket, the memories of the day I received it flooded my mind.

I held the blanket. I touched it to my face. I cried. The day I found the blanket, Sandra had been gone for just over two years. She was tragically murdered in her home. I remember thinking; did I tell her how honored I was that she made the blanket for me? Did I tell her how beautiful it was?

I sat in the closet on the floor and stared at the blanket. At that moment, I realized why I had saved the blanket all these years. Sandra’s only child, her daughter is expecting her first child in February. I had no way of knowing all these years, but I saved that blanket so I could pass it on to my niece to use for her baby. Now, Sandra’s grandchild could be wrapped in a blanket that she had made.

Just yesterday, I wrapped the blanket in fresh tissue paper, put it in a new box, taped it up, wrapped it up and sent it to my niece a few states away. I wrote her a note, explaining the story of the blanket. Now, I’m anxiously awaiting the birth of my new great niece in February.

Although my sister, her grandmother, won’t be physically present to celebrate this new life, she will be with us in spirit and I for one, can hardly wait to wrap the baby in the blanket and tell her how much her Grandma loves her.

Shirley Wiles-Dickinson 2011

Shirley Wiles-Dickinson

Shirley Wiles-Dickinson is the youngest of four girls in a Midwestern family. In 2009, her sister was brutally murdered. She writes about her experience following this loss.

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