Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It Takes a Village

A group of families in our neighborhood, all of whom have young kids and only a small fraction of whom we actually know, got together to make this lovely quilt for us in Hudson’s memory. A few moms did the piece work, another mom quilted everything together, and then each of a large number of families worked to tie the pieces of wool yarn at each corner where the pieces come together. The result, as you can see, is stunning, both visually and symbolically.

Back in my church-going days in high school, I used to attend an Episcopal youth conference at Kanuga in Hendersonville, NC every year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It was called Winterlight. Someone with a better memory than mine can tell me at which Winterlight the following thing happened (and if someone has a picture handy, I’d be happy to post it here, too). A large group of kids, maybe 25-50 or so, stood in a circle with a ball of yarn. One person started with the ball of yarn, held the end, and tossed the yarn across the circle to another person, (and I think they were supposed to say something they valued about that person). The second person held the yarn and tossed the ball across to someone else, and so on. I may not have the process just right, but you can picture how this progressed—bit by bit, strand by strand, a giant web of yarn was formed inside this circle. The point, of course, was to show how community is created between individuals, what a critical role each individual plays in the community, how a community is stronger than each of its individual parts, and how each of our lives touches many, many other lives in ways we don’t always realize.

When one of the neighborhood moms delivered this quilt the other day on behalf of all the families who helped make it, the yarn web from nearly 20 years ago is what came to my mind. Hudson touched so many lives in ways we never realized, and the community that has formed around and underneath us as a result is lifting us up in so many ways, both tangible and intangible. This quilt, and everything it represents about what is good and kind in the world, is my One Good Thing today. Many, many thanks to the Brookland families who made it for their love and support, and to everyone else who is part of our web.


  1. The quilt, and all it symbolizes, are beautiful. I can just imagine how moved you were when your neighbor delivered it. I want you to know that Hudson's One Good Thing community means a great deal to me.

  2. Beautiful quilt. I'm glad your neighborhood is supporting you.

  3. It is so lovely. Hudson's light continues to shine.

  4. What a moving and beautiful way to honor Hudson, you and Ed, and your "village". I know you only through Dana, but I too am a part of that village as are many many others. I am truly touched by your eloquence as well as your strength in being able to put your intense feelings and grief into words. Another good thing. You and your family continue to be in my thoughts daily. Susan Belasco Miller

  5. Mandy,
    I'm stopping by to say thank you again for the beautiful words you left on my blog. I've read and reread,
    " My heart is so heavy for you that he is not with you now, eating you out of house and home and cracking jokes with his brother and sisters. I wish you all the comfort and peace that you can find, Jackie."

    The simple scene you describe is one that I would give anything to have as you so well know. I visit your blog today to see the beautiful quilt made in Hudson's honor. What a wonderful, caring community your family is a part of. Their kindness I'm sure is a testament to your beautiful daughter, but also to her wonderful parents. As you offered me, I give to you-All the comfort and peace that you can find.

  6. The yarn web...that is what I have been thinking about throughout your entire ordeal. i vividly remember being in Balthis, Fran playing and the yarn covering the entire room. I remember looking acros the room at so many folks and thinking about the depth of the web and how one day it would make sense, but at the time I just thought it was cool. I wish I could remember what year that was...we were in high school...and we all recieved a piece of yarn at the end. i remember wearing a bracelet as a reminder of the I wear One Good Thing. Thinking of you my friend...
    Much love, Mary Henry

  7. I love the symbolism of the butterfly.....what a lovely One Good Thing......your village is supporting you through the darkness and ever closer to the light. In my mind, Hudson is that light, forever shining.

  8. Beautiful. How thoughtful. xoxo