Tuesday, October 9, 2012

knitting therapy

After a loss like we've experienced, how do you get back to doing the things you loved doing before the loss?  One part of you wants to get back to the stuff you enjoy doing because it makes you happy and gives you something else to think about in the midst of tragedy.  Another part of you opposes that happy feeling because any feeling other than sadness is a betrayal to the one you lost.

But even though you are stuck in the mud and can't move anywhere, the rest of the world continues to move.  People return to their lives after a brief sympathetic encounter with you and you begin to wonder how others can possibly laugh with each other when there is enough grief in your heart to pass around the room a million times. 

But this is what people do.  We move forward.  The world keeps spinning and the time continues to tick along as if it's unaware of what just happened to you.

Eventually you make the decision to slowly move along with everything else.  And for me, slowly is the key.  I have to be careful not to throw myself into work, business or personal.  I want to give myself time to fully grieve and I'm afraid I won't have time for grief if I fill my time with too many projects.  I've read a small bit about some women finding comfort in knitting where the thoughts are able to gently float around and perhaps even organize themselves through the rhythmic motions of the needles.  So knitting has been my grief craft of choice because it's a quiet craft and I can bring it to any room in the house to be near my family.

This Kami Hat that I found on Ravelry was the perfect first project.  It's just a bunch of stockinette stitch with a few purls placed in there for good measure.  I didn't need to think much while knitting this so my mind was free to think about Timmy.

There were a few times during this project that I felt angry.  During those times my knitting was a little tighter and I even felt myself banging the needles together and throwing the yarn around the needle with a little more force.  Although I don't enjoy being angry, I welcomed all emotions and just let myself feel whatever came.
When the hat was complete, I had an unexpected reaction.  Usually I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish something as would most people.  But this time I cried.  I had no idea why at the time.  I just felt sad.  Although I'm sure my perception of those moments will improve over time, I think the tears had something to do with realizing that knitting the hat wasn't going to bring Timmy back.  It's not that I ever thought while knitting that if I could only finish the hat that things would be different.  Those thoughts didn't consciously occur to me.

I think the sense of accomplishment was missing because I realized that completing the project didn't change anything.  It didn't change how I felt about losing Timmy and it didn't change that Timmy was gone.  So what was the point?  Why did I spend so much time knitting if it really didn't matter?  It felt like a huge waste of time.  I had no idea what else I would have done with the time, but knitting seemed like a waste of it and I felt ashamed for wasting time on something that didn't matter.

My husband tries to tell me that Timmy would want me to do the things that I love doing.  I know this is true.  If it was me up there watching over the family, I would want them to do what brought them joy.  So I have no doubt that Timmy would want the same and might even enjoy watching me create things while thinking of him.

I hope the sadness at the end of a project will subside over time.  I certainly plan to face this feeling head on, and I hope that someday I can look up to Heaven and smile when I've completed a project knowing that doing what you love is never a waste of time and that Timmy would be proud of me.


  1. I had to go back and read your past posts, Michelle. I had no idea and I am so sorry. I am truly at a loss of words. Reading your story brought back many memories of my days working in labor and delivery as well as the NICU. It is a loss that is unimaginable and any emotion you feel is perfectly normal. Always remember that Timmy is watching over all of you in your darkest hours. I am sure none of us would act or feel any differently.

  2. Michelle, Timmy is so proud of you. And he loves you very much. Shae