Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Marilyn L. Gabbard
My finished stitching for the tote bag- to be mailed tomorrow. Anne, the project originator, suggested that we journal about the experience.
My thoughts and observations follow-
Walking into Wal-Mart at the end of the day to buy thread, needle and hoop to stitch the name of a woman killed in war was surreal. I chose the light green because it felt peaceful to me. I chose the dark green because Marilyn, by all accounts was strong.
The cat joined me as I began stitching, kneading my belly and a play on words immediately came to mind. Marilyn's family "needing" comfort, families everywhere needing comfort, people everywhere needing so much.
I wondered what Marilyn's mama called her when she was a baby. I wondered what the L. stood for. I wondered if she experienced the same pleasant uncertainty that I did when she took the married name of Gabbard.
I stepped briefly into what I imagined her last moments to be.
On the news as I stitched, I watched the president ignore a question about National Guard support while he was in Kansas "comforting" tornado survivors. I pictured Marilyn L. Gabbard taking charge of troops there and offering help to those in need as her obit said she was so inclined to do. I was so angry.
As I came to the end of her name I found myself trying to come to some peace about the end of Marilyn's short life. I wanted my memories to be worthy of her service. I did my best to set aside the anger and frustration I have with all of these losses. There is so much sadness.
In an e-mail, Anne wrote "I understand the feelings of anger and helplessness, and I hope that for the short time you were wielding a sharp needle in protest, you felt connected to the larger group of us who share those feelings."
I hope that every heartfelt stitch of this project finds its way to those who need comfort. I hope that every angry moment sends a message of peace and diplomacy to those who believe that killing human beings is a way to solve problems.
I also thank those who have faced the dangers of serving their country and have returned to face what has to be the surreality of daily life.