In April I learned that the midwife who was with me for the home births of all three of my children had passed away after battling cancer. She was a well known figure in our community and had not announced her illness– I think so she didn’t have to answer questions everywhere she went. Roxanne was an amazing person who supported and empowered women with a seemingly inexhaustible strength. When I read the news, I wept, even though I was on a shuttle bus to the airport among strangers.
In the last month, I’ve been trying to come to grips with the idea that I wouldn’t see her again in the community, that she would never again remember my oldest son as her best child midwife at the birth of a younger sibling. A home birth is an intimate thing. It’s you, your partner, the midwife, and perhaps an assistant. Roxanne was a part of the fabric of my history of creating a family.
So I designed a shawl for her that I have been knitting. Each stitch pattern and its arrangement has a meaning for me and is a way to work my way through my grief. I brought it with me to Roxanne’s memorial and even though I didn’t work on it there, it sat at my feet and I mentally wove the stories of her life with the stitches. It’s a celebration, not a lament. The color is bright and full of life and hope– the same things that Roxanne brought to me and left with me.