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Posted on January 11th, 2015

Tears

It hangs in the closet,
Untouched for years.
Dust is upon it
as the light creeks through.

The children come in with bins to gather the clothes.
They are to be donated,
but not the sweater.
You might think that the sweater was too worn out to be donated.
It is, after all, practically unable to be worn.
There are so many tears in the thick, purple material.

We couldn’t possibly donate this. Someone needs to keep it.
But where could we put such a thing? It’s a tattered old mess.
But it was her favorite it. She has kept it for all this time.
Why? We should have asked her.
I’ll keep it in my closet.

The purple sweater traveled to it’s new home on top of old pictures. Corners of the frames showed through the gaping holes in the material.
The sweater may not be able to keep you warm, but it could certainly warm your heart with all it has been through.

There is the hole in the right shoulder from when Marty and her husband walked through their new house for the first time. It snagged on a loose nail in the doorway to the basement.

The bottom seam line towards the back has been losing threads for decades. Baby Natalie pulled on it one day and it’s been getting pulled on by other children ever since.

The left cuff has been unraveling ever since they got Rudy, their German Shepherd. There’s also a good amount of Rudy’s fur tucked into the stitching, probably helping to hold it all together at this point.

There is a slice clean across the chest from Thanksgiving a lifetime ago, when Marty was pulling the turkey out of the oven. The patched design on the sweater had somehow gotten stuck so when she closed the oven, the patch was peeled clean off. It turned out that the patch had been loosely attached simply from being an old, worn out sweater.

The right elbow was worn away from the numerous car rides, road trips, and vacations the family took. All the driving she did left for many hours of the purple sweater resting on the center console.

The lower left side of the sweater, which would cover her stomach, had a tiny hand print-full of loose threads, from her grandson Nathan. He was trying to take his first steps when he suddenly needed to hold on for dear life.

The left sleeve was so loose it took almost no effort to slide her sleeve out of the way on her weekly hospital visits.

All the important memories are etched into that sweater. Her children always tried to get her to get rid of it because it was so tattered. Every time she would wear it, they would remind her how old it was. It was in countless photo albums, it’s history and tears recorded for all to see.

Natalie dumped the pile of clothes into the donation bin.

When she got home, she hung the tattered purple sweater in her closet.
Why is that here?
It was my mother’s favorite sweater.
But it’s falling apart. You can’t even wear it.
That’s not what’s important. It was precious and dear to her. She always wore it even when we told her not to. We’ve been trying to get her to get rid of it for years.
So why are you keeping it then?
I don’t think it’s ready to go yet.
I don’t even understand how it’s still together. I mean, it barely resembles a sweater anymore.
I know… but I think it’s the invisible threads that hold it together.
Well, I’m sure she appreciates that you didn’t just get rid of it like the rest of her clothes.
Yeah, I think so too.

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