Tag Archives: grief

Cro-therapy

For those of you who celebrate the holiday, Christmas I wish you a very merry one indeed. For those of who you do not, I wish you well and hope that what ever you do celebrate, when ever it is celebrated is all that for which you could hope…

 If you didn’t notice, I try not to do a whole lot of Holly Jolly on this blog, not because I’m a bah humbug kind of gal, but because I am quite aware that for many in our community the holidays (which ever there are) can be a very sad and difficult time.

Just like many other holidays, this kind of season or day that offers happy memories, often makes our less than positive experiences in life feel more raw. I know that feeling so well. Every Christmas morning I get up, and I have my yearly sniffle thinking of those whom I love very much that I have lost through distance, time or death. It’s just a wee sniffle, but I like to get it out of my system, and frankly I miss them all the time, but on special days, it is just more intense.

So for those of you who do not find joy in the season, remember that each stitch can ease our tension, and that there is no shame in tears.

This is my first Christmas in my whole life without my grandmother, Irene, and yes, I’m a bit teary thinking of it. It has been weird not to get a Christmas card, or hear her voice on the phone, and it will be really sad on Christmas Eve, because that’s when we celebrated. I’ll crochet to move through it, well that and I’ll make her shrimp/avacado salad, cause well it’s just that damn good.

Left to Right: Fearless Leader, Fearless Son, Fearless Grandma Irene, and MegaFearless Daughter

Coping through loss in these festive times, can be hard. So, if you are facing a time like this please, please know that you aren’t alone. Many others are going through hard times too. Your situation is your own, it is private, it is painful, but there are those who will love and support you, even if only virtually. Crochet, cook, cry, reach out. There’s a really lovely group on Ravelry, called One Stitch at a Time. Many of the people there crochet (and knit) to help keep their sanity together, they understand. You are also welcome to post on the CLF Board at any time, because the great thing about having over 6000 members, is that you are not alone, ever.

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Crocheting Comfort

Decorative squares from 24 blocks on a Roll by Bonnie Pierce

Comfort from crochet...it goes both ways.

I have to admit I used to think the term “comfort-ghan” was trite, and I thought the idea of them to be kind, but of what use? I mean I’ve lost a lot of people in my life, from the deaths of friends, family, loved ones, to the other kinds of losses through divorce, and distance…how could an afghan, scarf, shawl make a dent in the pain?

It doesn’t.

It doesn’t make a dent, it doesn’t take it away…but it does do something. It reminds you that you are loved. And that is not something to question. Over the past three weeks our household has been showered with cards from community members, friends, relatives. We know we are thought of, loved, and people are with us. I have recieved so many thoughtful emails from my crochet community, and to you all I am most grateful.

As I crocheted my mother in law’s comfortghan, I too was comforted. In the days after my father in law’s death, the rhythmic movement of each bullion stitch, the dance my hands performed, was soothing and real in contrast to the grief that seemed to swirl in a surreal haze as my brain tried to digest the previous weekend’s events.

Made out of Marble Chunky...great yarn ;)

Each square was made with tenderness, memories are infused in each stitch, thoughts of my mother in law mingle with recollected moments of her with my father in law as I bound the squares together, and then edging the piece with the thought of love and healing, that only time can really cater to…

I won’t give it to her this weekend of the memorial though…I’m going to mail it. About a week from this coming Saturday, she will get this with a simple note.

It will be after this next week that people will start returning to their routines, or homes, and she won’t have constant company, as she has for the past month. That’s when the comfort will be truly needed, and this is a pretty snuggly blankie. It just feels more right this way.

 

Christmas time crochet and the list goes on…

So, I decided this year I was going to crochet presents. I crochet fast. In fact, I crochet very fast. I really could be my own one woman sweatshop. Heck if I get really desperate I can pay my daughter poorly so she can join in on the sweatshop action (tongue in cheek!)…

So, life got hectic in October. Beyond, my normal work, I added extra, and then of course my father in law passed away so very quickly that we’ve spent the last week just trying to wrap our heads around the situation. Oh my he is very missed.

We know our holidays are going to lack a little luster this year, and probably for the next few to come. So, today when we got together with my husband’s siblings and their families, I asked, “Who’s up for afghans?”

I have teenage nieces, and a 10 year old nephew, they were the first to raise their hands! I mean I know they like it when I make them things, but wowsies! How cool was that?! I told them all they will be lapghans, and I’ll make them in favorite colors, and that it is unlikely that they will be all done by Christmas. But I can give them hats and scarves first in a stitch pattern that I’m doing their comfort-ghans in.

I told thim it’s an Aunty Laurie hug. Just because right now we all need a lot more hugs and we live far away from each other. No immediate hugging gets to happen.

I love being able to do this. I’m half way through the squares for my mother in law’s comfort-ghan. She gets the first one, because as much as we all lost a very important person in our lives. Her loss is the hardest, she lost the love of her life. I can’t do a lot about that, but I can crochet some love.

So my crochet list gets longer just as the holidays hit, but that’s ok 😉 Even if a few are late, that just gives me an excuse to visit later with crocheted hugs to hand out.

I’ll post photos of the squares when I get a chance to scan them. I’m using Bonnie Pierce’s 24 Blocks on a Roll. Beautiful squares with bullion stitches! You can check out Bonnie’s fantastic work on her website!

When the crochet won’t work…

   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.