When I was seventeen,
she gave me what was to be
one of my most cherished gifts.
I remember the warm twinkle of Christmas lights,
the crinkle of the wrapping paper,
how what was hiding within
felt soft and malleable.
I tore open the paper to reveal
the loveliest knit scarf
in two different shades of blue.
“Now, you see the stripes on the ends of the scarf, Jamie?”
I looked at them and nodded.
“You’ll notice I made them a little different.”
I took a closer look and saw that she was right.
They went: small, small, bigger on one side
and small, bigger, biggest on the other.
I ran my fingers along these stripes,
imagining them like musical notes.
“I made them different because you’re a little different.”
From her, I knew that this was
a compliment and high praise indeed.
She had always encouraged my differences
and made me want to celebrate them.
I was never ashamed to be me.
Throughout the next twenty-three years,
I wore the scarf every winter.
It kept me warm against the cold,
helped me feel safe when I needed safety
and was part armor, part blanket, part hug.
I remember her telling me:
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
She was a constant source of wisdom.
The scarf followed me through everything
that I have lived through.
Every winter, it would greet me
as if it were an old friend
and it was always a small joy
when the weather got cold
because I would be able
to wear it again and see
my cherished friend once more.
I said goodbye to you today.
As I put the scarf on before saying goodbye,
I ran my fingers over those dark blue stripes
and imagined what kind of tune
my blue scarf would play.
For twenty-three years,
the blue scarf has been a piece of you
that I carry with me.
Now, whenever I put the scarf on,
I will picture you taking hold of my hand
and walking beside me over the ice and the snow,
perhaps running your fingers along the dark blue lines
and singing a little tune.
Now, whenever I wear the blue scarf,
I will be reminded that,
even though your body may be gone,
your spirit lives on in all who knew you.
You are with all of us,
everyone who loves you,
and our lives are
all the better for it.
Copyright © 2019 Jamieson Wolf