In Memory of Tink

On Tuesday night, we began decorating our Christmas tree, and I hung up some of my most special, most prized ornaments:

little crocheted angel

little crocheted angel

I have ten of these incredibly intricate crocheted angels. They are so precious to me not just because they are handmade, but because they were made by someone very dear to me. Leila Claire “Tink” DuVall was a founding member of my first congregation (I am a church pastor) in rural southwest Georgia. It was a small church in a small town, and we were a close-knit little group. Tink lived down the street from our church building, in the nursing home, where she had lived for decades; she was physically-disabled and was in a wheelchair. Every Sunday, she would come down the road in her wheelchair for church.

Tink was a crocheter and a knitter, and I believe she did other handicrafts as well. As you can see, she excelled at the very tiny detail work. She gave these angels to me my last Christmas in Georgia, a week before I moved up here to Ann Arbor. I adore them, and look forward to hanging them on my tree each year. As I hung them up this past Tuesday night, I thought of Tink with gratitude and admiration. I always treasured these angels, but it was only once I learned how to knit and crochet that I truly understood the skill, the work, the time, and the patience involved in making these. There is no way I could ever make one of these angels, let alone ten, let alone the many I know she has made over the years and given away. It truly staggers me to consider.

Last night I got a phone call from Tink’s brother, another person very dear to me. He called to tell me that Tink died on Tuesday, killed when an ambulance that was transporting her to the hospital (due to illness) had a wreck. It is such a shock, and such a loss, and it has weighed on me all day. At the same time, I feel a sense of awe and connection, knowing that on the same day she died, I was thinking of her, touching gifts she had made with her own hands for me years ago, being touched by her life and by her generosity and by the many gifts she gave me and others. I am so grateful to have her legacy gracing our tree, and to have had her life touch mine.

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5 thoughts on “In Memory of Tink

  1. Beautiful, both the angel and the writing! I have some of these myself (snowflakes instead of angels) made by an “adopted” grandmother that lived to be 100. She also crocheted dishcloths for me, and I have one that she made shortly after her 100th bday. I, too, think lovingly of her each year as I pull out those precious ornaments. This is one reason that I love the art of homemade so much…yes, it is nice to receive a gift from someone, but when you know they themselves poured their time and heart into it, rather than merely plucking it off a store shelf, well it just means more. I do not aspire to be a master quiltmaker, but I’m trying to give as many quilts to my loved ones as I can so that part of me might linger and make them smile after I am gone.

  2. I’m truly sorry for your loss. As a pastor, it hurts to hear of one of the flock (even a former flock) passing. I’m glad you have the concrete expression of her love for the world – what lovely little angels!

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