Since today is my recently deceased younger sister's birthday, I want to write about the panda I created to put in her coffin. Why a panda? She _loved_ pandas.
Or maybe I should start earlier, by saying she was one of my younger sisters and I taught her how to crochet - and swim, ride a bike and all those zillions of things older siblings teach their younger siblings, good as well as bad. But it's really too soon for me to discuss it.
As to the panda, I wanted to make something special for her to ease her passage into the next world. I know, it sounds crazy, but that's what I wanted to do. I selected the Caron Simply Soft yarn and began a pattern I had around the house. No matter how I worked that pattern, I was _not_ satisfied with it. I ended up ripping it out twice before I gave up on that pattern.
Then I remember a pattern for a toy, one I had made a lot of a long time ago and my younger sister & I sold at a fair. So again I used the Simply Soft (which, by the way is _great_ yarn but no, I receive no kickbacks from them) and reworked the bear about 4 more times. I wondered if I even wanted to finish it, because by finishing it I would be admitting to myself that she was dying. And I was afraid that something weird would happen and she'd die when I finished it.
I finally finished the small panda. I stuffed it, including a heart pendant inside of the panda that had belonged to my grandmother. I put it on my bedside table and fearfully waited. She didn't die immediately after I finished it, so I was quite thankful for that. I found it very difficult to discuss with anybody why I made the panda. When I journeyed to the funeral home with my older sisters, I presented the panda to be placed in the casket, along with some coins and a few stones. My sisters acted as if I was the goofy one. Or maybe I just felt goofy and oversome with emotions I couldn't explain. Either way, the panda went into the casket and I was satisfied with that.
I very seldom take apart my crocheting, especially so many times for such a small thing. But I wanted it to be _perfect_. I wanted it to express that the love I have for my younger sister did not stop with her death. I wanted it to express all I couldn't say and should have said. Tall orders for a small object made of yarn and stuffing. But the panda would have to do.
Only one other small toy vexed me as much as this panda did. It was a lion I made about 23 years ago. That little lion had to carry a lot of weight, too. But that's another story for another time.