As very young children our world is comprised of a small piece of tightly woven fabric. Each thread represents a family member, friend, or important person (teacher, neighbor, coach etc). The fabric is small because we are small. If a child has a far reaching family, perhaps their fabric has a denser thread count than a child who has a smaller family. As we grow, increasing our awareness, more thread weaves its way into the fabric that defines us. The fabric grows with us. If we’re lucky the fabric deepens in its composition as we meet and form relationships with new people, and enhance relationships with those whose threads, perhaps, have been part of our cloth from the beginning of our memory. Holes surely form in our fabric, and are healed by the abundance of threads ready to help us in our hours of sorrow and need. As we get older, some of the threads that made up our core cloth are spread further apart due to the rich collection of threads that have woven their way into our lives, but those core thread are still there, still important, even if we don’t catch a glimpse of them as often as we used to. They still made up a piece of who we’ve grown up to be. We still think about them and their impact on our lives, even when we can’t see them. Threads wear out. Maybe they become clear, like monofilament. We still feel them as part of our cloth, they’re still part of the texture of our lives, but we can’t see them anymore. We are at once both joyful over their influence on our lives, and grieve for their loss. And how interesting it is that by the time mid-life rolls around, so many of us carry the same threads in our fabric. We experience the same joys and losses. We are a collective quilt perhaps. A scrappy quilt to be sure.
I found out yesterday that Tom passed away the night before. I’ve known Tom since before I have memory. I grew up playing with his daughter as a very young child. His sister ran the summer camp my husband and I went to as young children. Tom, while I have only seen him five or seven time in the last 10 years, was a core thread of my early cloth. He, of all people, reassures me that we have an adventure to head out to from here.