Since my last post, I have gone through a major life change. In July of 2014, my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and it announced itself with a seizure and a car accident. After almost a year of chemo, pain, multiple medical emergencies, and numerous hospital stays, he passed away on June 26, 2015, exactly 11 months after his diagnosis.
After almost a year of caring for and supporting Mark, I had to deal not only with losing him, but also with losing my purpose and daily routine. I had to leave my job to care for him, and so I really had nothing. It was like this huge numbing void took over my life. People really rally around youun when someone is very ill, but after they're gone, people tend to go back to life as usual. I'm not saying that everyone up and abandoned me, far from it, but I felt very alone and lost.
One of the things that helped me keep it together was my fiber arts. I knitted my way through hospital stays and bad nights. I spun yarn when I didn't have the brain power to knit, and I eventually purchased a loom and added weaving to my recovery. I honestly don't think that I would have made it through without having these things to give my brain and body a rest.
If you are struggling with greif, loss, or stress, keep knitting!
1. Pick a project that just keeps your hands busy for those times that following a pattern is to draining. Just the rhythmic motion of your hands can be soothing. An easy garter stitch scarf or plain vanilla socks might fit the bill.
2. Have another project up and running that is more absorbing for when you need to give your brain a rest. I know that, for me, it was one of the few things that allowed me to get away when I needed a a break from all of the emotion.
3. Look to the future and browse through patterns on Ravelry. I found that this gave me a sense of future beyond what I was currently dealing with.
4. Consider making a gift of your knitting to the people in your life who are there for you. I knitted a shawl for Mark's chemo nurse. She was always there with support for both of us. I also knitted some gifts for some of our friends who threw us a fundraiser.
5. Don't beat yourself up if you just can't concentrate enough to knit, or do anything besides what has to be done. There were days when I was lucky to just take care of Mark's needs, and get some food in my belly. You need to just try to roll with what comes along.
I'm definitely one of the lucky ones. I did manage to get through it all with the help of good family and friends, my knitting, and a little medication. I found a great guy to share my life with, and expect to have a happy future with. I have my dogs that I work with. I have totes full of yarn stash to plan with. While I still miss Mark, and always will, I have found a way forward, and for this, I'm extremely grateful.