Rycarda Smith is a crocheting nomad.
I like to sit down with my crochet hook and begin another prayer shawl. I know that someday soon someone will be comforted by my efforts of this evening.
Crocheting has gotten me through many trials of life that have come my way.
My sorrows started with the shock of my brother’s unexpected death at the age of forty-six while working in Nigeria. I think that this was the time when I first become angry with the challenges of life. Zbyszek’s death meant that I was left to care for our elderly parents who lived 1047km away in Exshaw, Alberta while I lived in White Rock, BC.
My father was diagnosed with dementia soon after my brother died. Dad couldn’t understand why Zbyszek died so young when he, himself, had survived WWII. My dad died in 2006, leaving my independent mother living alone in the family home. Still 1047 km away from me and a ten-hour drive. My days as a nomad began.
From then on, every six weeks, between April and September I would get in the car and drive ten hours to be with mom, spend two weeks at a time, helping her with her chores in the house and around the garden, taking her to her doctor appointments in Canmore and shopping to Calgary. In August, although I would spend three weeks with her, she would say, “Can’t you stay longer?” During the winter months, I would fly into Calgary, rent a car, drive the 65 km to Exshaw. Sometimes I would be driving in a fierce blizzard. My life was on hold, no crocheting prayer shawls during this time, but I kept myself busy with my Real Estate career, my many community and church organizations, as well as being an entrepreneur.
I started a Prayer Shawl Ministry in 2015 when several other crocheting ladies joined me. Our shawls have been delivered worldwide to comfort folks in their times of need. Satisfaction in helping others has helped me dispel the heavy loneliness of carrying my family’s burdens.
Mum passed away in 2013 and I thought I could get back to my busy life. For a few years, things seemed to settle down until my husband was diagnosed with dementia in 2017. So, the question, “Why me Lord”? came back to the surface.
My husband died in the middle of this 2020 pandemic craziness from renal failure. During this lonely time of isolation, it is my strong faith in God that has sustained me, just like a cozy comfortable crocheted shawl.