Loss, Grief, and Lack of Knitting

My mom died twelve days ago. It was unexpected, and it happened fast. I got a phone call from my dad at 5:00 in the morning, I got a plane ticket, flew down, got a car, drove down, got to her bedside at 7:00 that night, and a little more than an hour later, she was gone. IMG_9117

I can’t even begin to describe our shock and sadness. My mother and I were incredibly close; we talked almost every day, and I could tell her anything (and she was actually interested to hear it!). I was fortunate to have had extra time with her in the last few months, because my father had been through some medical crises and I went home to help take care of her (she became a paraplegic in 1997 after malignant melanoma went to her spine and broke her back, and my father was her full-time caregiver). Those days with her were so precious to me at the time, and all the more so now.

This had already been a very difficult summer for a number of reasons. Through it all, my spinning and knitting (much of which I did sitting next to my mom) helped keep me balanced and centered. But now? All of a sudden I can’t seem to do either one. I haven’t spun since my dad had a medical emergency mid-July (the last day of Tour de Fleece). And I haven’t knit a stitch since the day my mother died.

It’s so strange. I look at my knitting and it feels like it was something a different person used to do.

I assume this is only temporary. I think this week I’m going to try to make myself pick up the sticks and knit. One of these days I’ll maybe even get back in the blogging groove (I do have a whole backlog of projects to show you, most of which are handspun).

Have you ever been so sad, or so disoriented that you couldn’t even do the thing you loved most to do? If so, how did you move through and beyond that?


52 thoughts on “Loss, Grief, and Lack of Knitting

  1. Yes. Still do, in fact, despite 2+ years. It’s part of grief and it sucks and it’s new to you right now but you get more used to it over time (it also gets shorter). Just let yourself grieve and feel and do not, under any circumstances, beat yourself up about it or think that there is a deadline for grief. Just let it be and do what you can for that day. Or let others help you. And remember that the depth of your grief is at the same level of love for your mother… The deeper it is the more it hurts. But you’d rather have that love than not have it at all, right?

    • This. Exactly. And losing your knit and spin mojo is entirely possible and ok. Do the things that feel right. Put things away if it hurts to look at them. Minute by minute, day by day just listen to your self. Much love to you and your family and I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you so much. And yes, you are right, I would rather have had the love than not!

      I have thought of you so often over these last 2+ years. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  2. My dear, the only way you get through it is one small, slow step at a time. Give yourself lots of grace in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. It Is a long, slow journey and though it feels lonely, you are not alone.

    Peace and blessings to you.

  3. When M lost one of his best friends in a horrible hiking accident earlier this year, I went through the same sort of thing. I carried my knitting with me room to room, friend to friend, visit to visit. And I didn’t touch it. And then I dove into the frog pond, and suddenly I was able to do something with yarn that seemed appropriate. I ripped out one whole finished sweater, and then hand wound center pull balls. It was destructive, mindless, and gratifying.

    Slowly, I came back to the more creative side of the craft, but not without being away for some time. I became completely immersed in making a quilt for our friends’ parents, a process that was somehow more raw than learning the horrid details of his death.

    Grief as you may already know is a tricky thing. You will come back to your knitting in time. In the meantime, find another way to connect to your craft,at be wind some handspun or toss the stash and look for combo spins. Or find your mending pile and fix everything that is broken. Whatever you do, know that you are an amazing woman, mother, wife, daughter, and person.


  4. You don’t know me…I enjoy and admire your fiber sharing. I am very sorry for your loss. The fiber will be there when you are ready. Remember to breath. Please know I will be holding you in my heart.

  5. My condolences on your mother’s unexpected death. On top of the other things it is hard. And yes, deep grief has caused me to stop knitting temporarily. Trust that you desire will come again.

  6. Oh Stacey, first of all I am so terribly sorry for your loss.

    Not to compare the situations, but we lost my brother in law just over 4 years ago now. When we found out (it was wholly unexpected) we bought plane tickets and went. Before we left I wound two balls of yarn for prayer shawls and packed needles. And the entire time we were gone (almost 2 weeks) I didn’t knit a stitch. It didn’t feel right. I couldn’t settle. I don’t remember how long it took (it seemed like forever and no time at all) but one morning I woke up ready to pick up the needles and start again. And it was my comfort – I knit those 2 prayer shawls for the survivors and found them immensely healing. Take it easy and be kind to yourself. You will begin to find joy in things again exactly when you’re most ready to.

    • Thank you so much! I did the same thing – brought knitting with me on my way to see my mom in the hospital. Was able to knit on the flight down before she died, but not any after that. Every time I saw my knitting with my suitcase, I felt like a whole other person had packed that!

  7. My mother died in 2009′ and I totally understand that feeling of lost ness. People will tell you it gets easier with time, I won’t tell you that, just that it changes. A time will come when you will feel a little less lost and the grief won’t be as overwhelming but there will always be some grief attached to your mothers passing. I found that taking one day at a time was the best I could do, so that is my advice to you. Just take one day at a time and take care of yourself. I still find myself almost 6 years later wanting to tell my mom something or share something with her and I just do, sometimes I say it out loud and other times I just say it in my head and heart.

  8. oh goodness, i’m so sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

    indeed, loss of a parent made me a different person in several ways. and desire for making things didn’t return for months and months. but when the desire came back, it became a deeper need and drive to express myself–yet another way i was changed.

    take care of yourself and give yourself time. xo

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s so difficult to pick up things where concentration is needed when you are in the glass bubble you surround yourself with after losing someone so very dear to you. But, slowly, gradually , in good time you will begin to pick up the things you love to do. You heart and your head need time to heal, just listen to that still small voice, take time for yourself but above all things remain positive and do, please do take up friends offers of help ….they mean it when they want to be there for you.
    Big virtual hug, and don’t forget He will hold you in those strong powerful arms safely and look out for you.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship with your mum and I’m very glad that you made it in time to have that last hour with her. As the others have said, grief can be a strange beast. Be gentle with yourself, if you don’t feel like knitting or spinning, don’t force yourself. One day, you’ll feel like it and you’ll do it. And it’s okay not to do it in the meantime. Similar to Jane, I have found that while time doesn’t, contrary to conventional wisdom, heal everything, what time will do is allow you to have longer and longer periods of the grief not being front and centre.

  11. Pingback: Wednesday Festival: If you are wondering… | RevGalBlogPals

  12. Oh, Stacey, I’m so so sorry. Sending ::hugs:: and love your direction. When I was deep in the muck with PPD, I remember looking at my knitting, and knowing that I remembered how to knit in the sense that I knew how stitches were formed, etc, but realizing that I didn’t remember how to knit, in the sense of sitting down and just knitting – in that sense, I forgot how to do all the things I loved. It was very disorienting. I know now that those feelings are a part of grief, trauma, and depression, and so very normal, but knowing that doesn’t make it any less disorienting, really. For me, it was a matter of time and connection – becoming less isolated is what helped me pull through. But of course PPD is a very different thing from suddenly losing a parent. I just want to surround you with love right now.

  13. I’m so sorry. Sending you all the love and strength. A couple years ago, I went through a bad bout of depression and could not do any of the things I loved to do. I wanted to knit, skate, spin, etc but just couldn’t. I’d sit on the couch with my knitting and just cry. As I healed, everything eventually came back to me. In the meantime, be gentle with yourself.

  14. Yes, I have been through it and understand. It is tough and finding your “new normal” is not a linear path. There are ups and downs. Eventually the ups start to win out. Caring for your children is the best medicine because they contain some of your mother, and have their whole lives ahead of them. But as others have said, be gentle with yourself. Don’t feel you need to push the knitting/spinning. Your love of it is so strong that your interest in it will return in time. Until you want to start it up again, just look at some of the things you enjoyed creating. Or unfinished spinning on a bobbin. Or a magazine like Spin Off. The little things first and the big things will follow. You are in our prayers.

  15. I lost my mom suddenly. A Friday night she was home, doing dishes, an aneurysm, she fell, that was it. The shock is well, shock. Be gentle with yourself. Grief takes as long as it takes, especially when it’s your momma. For now just getting up is enough.

  16. I am so sorry for your loss. Grief is such a personal and tricky thing. I wasn’t a knitter when my mom passed away in 2002 but I do remember not wanting to do anything that I normally enjoyed doing like reading or watching TV (especially the shows we would watch together – I still have a hard time watching the Oscars). I say give yourself time and don’t push it. Hugs to you all.

  17. I’m so sorry Stacey. I wish i could say or do something to bring you some peace and a bit of comfort. The tiny piece of experience I have to share is that when i was reeling with grief years ago, I was surprised how much music helped, as therapy. Sometimes I just wanted complete silence for days but other times I’d swear it saved my life. Thinking of you xoxo

  18. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and my families prayers are with you. You had a horrible scare with your son and I found your blog out of sheer coincidence, as you know my half sister lost her son after he was buried in the sand last year. You gave me words of encouragement that I passed on to her and she thanks you. She too lost her mother many years ago to Alzheimer,s, my sister always had a cheery disposition even after her mother no longer recognized her, she was prepared or thought so. Surrounding herself with Family and talking about the good, bad and comical times gave her a sort of calm. We keep those special memories of our loved ones are tucked deep inside, never to be forgotten and always cherished. Spin on sister your mother would want you to.

  19. My deepest sympathies to you and all of your family. Nothing prepares one for these things, and so our bodies fumble around just as our minds do. I know your job makes you a source of comfort to many, but be kind to yourself (and those that love you) and let them comfort you. Peace.

  20. My dad died very suddenly so I can relate with to the feelings you are having. Echoing Robby right above my comment to say that you must let others take care of you, comfort you, even though that’s not your usual role. Pick up the needles and just hold on to them – I think that eventually, the urge to create something will return. My thoughts are with you.

  21. I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief affects us in many ways. When my husband died after a prolonged illness, I could not read..anything. Favorite books, the Bible, nothing. I could not watch the videos that we loved and watched together. Sometimes I wondered if my grief was making me feel it was wrong to enjoy anything. It was quite some time before I could begin reading again.
    Knitting and spinning are so much a part of your life, something so creative that you so much enjoy– this is not the time for them. When you are ready, they will come back to you. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you heal. And you will heal. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. Pingback: Loop through Loop upon Loops :: Learning a Little About Grief from My Knitting | earthchicknits

Leave a Reply to whitney Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s