I did finish a project today. It's a little different from the ones you've seen here before. The embroidery stitches are a little wonky as mine tend to be, there is no glitter nor over the top embellishments. No buttons anywhere to be seen. But there is a story if you'd care to hear it.
Joanna Yorke Dyer was born in 1983 in Berlin where her British Army parents were stationed. Jo, as she was called, was an English lass from Somerset, near the magical city of Glastonbury. After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics she joined the army herself. She was a friend to Prince William by virtue of passing out of the same company as he at Sandhurst. Jo was stationed in Iraq where she amazed other soldiers with the amount of mail she received from friends and family. She was brave and good-natured and very well liked.
She had an infectious smile they say and could light up any room. On April 5 of this year Jo was in a military vehicle in Basra with three others when a blast exploded the car killing all four. That news story is here. How Joanna got to be my story went like this. I visited Raesha's blog the other day and read about something that she was doing. I followed her links to the Mother's Day Project , a project that is about making the world aware of the horrible heart wrenching affects of war. The project sends out one name of a female soldier who has died in Iraq to whomever asks, one name to be embroidered and sent back. All the names will be included on a tote bag which will be sent to each embroiderer in turn to carry for a couple of weeks and then sent on to another.
Before I could begin embroidering her name I felt like there should be some rapport established. I put the muslin with Joanna's name stamped on it in my lap and covered it with my hand. I thought about the logistics of a 24 year old person being in a land far away risking their life for whatever ideal they might harbor. I wondered at a world that allows hostility to escalate to a level that young lives are taken. I don't want to share my politics with you. They are, in these matters, the politics of a mother who can't imagine sending our beautiful and wondrous youth into these dangerous situations whatever the reason. And I truly thank those young people of the world who risk their lives for motives of their own.
I embroidered over the black letters on the muslin. At first I almost pulled out the stitches. The letters were so little and I wasn't managing the small curves with much delicacy. But then I laughed and told Joanna that perhaps her name wouldn't be the neatest one on the tote bag but on the bag it would be. And for that her story would be known far from that beautiful Somerset countryside from whence she came.