Normally I crochet under stress, in fact it’s my preferred coping mechanism. This weekend I made sure I brought my crochet with me to get through the devastating moments and hours and days of watching my husband and his family suffer through the aggressive onset of cancer that claimed my father-in-law this Monday morning.
Normally, I can just sit and let my hands work. I couldn’t. Normally, I would make something to ease the pain and stress. I couldn’t. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been unable to crochet due to physical and emotional exhaustion.
Not that I didn’t try, mind you. Sure, I pulled out a hook, some yarn, any old yarn and made a ring, and started some lace (my stress go to stitching habit), but my hands wouldn’t work. It was like they were too sad to function. Even the hook acted strangely in my hands, like it was a stranger not a well worn, used friend.
I carried my yarn bag with me everywhere I went, kind of like Linus and his blankie. Watching my husband and his family love and tend to their father, watching my mother in law try to cope with such devastating and horrific circumstances. I just couldn’t do it. I think beyond being unable to help them, or offer them more than a hug, or a back rub, or a listening ear, even a cup of tea, but nothing really helps; what made me feel most helpless in those moments was being bereft of my crochet. It was the signal that something awful was happening when my brain just didn’t want to go there.
Watching the man who accepted me and my children from the day I met him, go from being one of the most vital, active, intelligent and gifted human beings I’ve had the pleasure to know, to a helpless man given hours when we thought we had years, was heart wrenching. The man who once told me how glad he was that his son finally had someone to love him, and be with him; that he had been worried his bachelor son would have no one to care for him when he was without his father. He said that to me ten years ago, I never forgot it. After all, isn’t it what every daughter in law craves? Needs? To hear that her husband’s family is so glad to have her? On my part, I was able to tell him throughout the decade I have known him, how much I loved and cared for him as my father in law. No regrets on that one.
To have the wind taken out of your crochet sails, really does signify something. I’m still musing on what it means. Emotional and physical exhaustion for certain come into play. Worry, anxiety and fear certainly don’t help the creative process.
But then we were watching a very creative life end and mercifully it happened with enough time for most of his nearest and dearest to attend him. Even more mercifully he passed on in peace. Perhaps that’s the reason it couldn’t and wouldn’t happen. When creativity ends, we need to pause, to think, to feel, to be present in that moment, or moments.
The crochet will come back. I have comfort-ghans to make. That I can do, but maybe not for a day or two.