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I’ve put my sewing aside to work on this prayer shawl. I’m not much of a knitter – this is probably my 3rd or 4th project ever. I started this for a friend’s mother. My friend died of cancer a week ago.

Adrienne was my next door neighbor, and we grew up together. We played together, imagined together, enjoyed childhood together. She was an amazing swimmer, and I idolized her on the swim team. One summer, I got a “paper plate award” for being “Adrienne’s Siamese twin.” I loved spending time with her. There simply wasn’t anything better than being her friend.

Starting in the 7th grade, we went to different schools, and that was about the end of of our close friendship. She was always my next door neighbor, and we were always friendly.

Two years ago, Adrienne was diagnosed with cancer. I live far away now, so my mother told me. I admit I almost didn’t believe it. Adrienne is one year younger than me, and she was much, much too young to have cancer. So I thought.

From what I know, Adrienne’s struggle was tortuous, and I only wish I’d known her better through it. She died October 8 at the age of 30.

I’m making a prayer shawl for her mother. It’s the only thing I feel like I can do, being at a distance in more ways than one: I live hundreds of miles away, and we didn’t know each other as adults.

The knitting group at my church makes shawls, so I already had instructions for it. If you want to know more about prayer shawls, I suggest the Shawl Ministry site. Even if you’re not much of a knitter, like me, a prayer shawl is a very simple pattern. It’s based on a modified seed stitch, K3 P3, 63 stitches on size 10 needles. The three stitch pattern is a symbol “of planting peace, healing, love, comfort and hope into the shawls by the shawl maker for the receiver.”

I think it’s going to take about two weeks total to finish, though if you’re a faster/more experience knitter, it will probably take less time.

There is no way I can do Adrienne’s story justice. Though I didn’t know her well as an adult, she was extremely influential in my life for many years, and I loved her. All I know right now is that cancer is cruel, and it knows no age barriers. I was ignorant before, and now I am beginning to think through ways I want to spend my time and money to help fight the battle.

I’ve always known it was a battle, but it wasn’t my battle till now.