I have been treading very lightly recently. The sudden and very recent lost of my mother should have caused the sudden shift in reality. But it has not. I’m still me and that seems strange.
I’ve been waiting for grief to come. I prepared myself with days off and lots of ice cream, but nothing. I have given myself complete permission to cry, but the tears won’t come. What gives? I see the rest of my family in deep and obvious mourning and yet I feel completely. . . normal. Am I too much in shock? Has my mind just not been able to process what has happened? Or, as my siblings would say, I’m wired differently? I have only ever cried at one funeral and that was the one for my son. But I wasn’t crying over just the lost of my son. It was the accumulation of all my losses that caused me to cry. The loss of a natural childbirth, the loss of my liver, the loss of good health, the loss of my ability to ever have kids, the loss of my husband being able to pass on his family name, the loss of a grandchild for my mom and in-laws, the loss of what use to be my life.
Then it occurred to me why I haven’t mourned the way I thought I would or should. After my son died, the first thing I thought of was to finish knitting the sweater I was making for him before I got sick. Why would I make a sweater for a child already gone and buried? Because I had to. It was my way of grieve. In each stitch I held on to his memory and also I learned to let him go. It was a strange thing to do, but for me it felt perfectly normal and right. I finished the sweater for him and I have kept it with me.
A day after my mom passed away, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought yarn. I didn’t need any. I didn’t even know why on Earth I had even stopped at the store. I’m guessing I just needed some place that felt safe and quite where I could wander around and just be with my own thoughts. I saw the yarn, felt it and grabbed for skeins of it. It was soft and I wanted it- those were my only reasons for buying it. I came home with the yarn having no clue what to do with it. I didn’t even look to see what yarn it was until I got home. Diva Sequin yarn. I searched Ravelry trying to find a pattern to use the yarn, but nothing looked appealing to me. I looked at my bookcase crammed with knitting books and magazines. What was the use of having all that stuff if I never used a damn pattern out any of it? Shuffling through Vogue Knitting and Knitter’s Magazine I stumbled upon a book that I bought months ago. The Prayer Shawl Companion looked up at me from its space tucked between magazines. I flipped through its pages and fell in love with the Sabbath Shawl. I don’t do lace and had never done anything that complicated before, but I couldn’t take my eyes of the pattern. Why had I never noticed this pattern before. “Because I never needed it until now”, said a voice in my head. I started on the shawl that night.
Each day now I work on the shawl. I find that I feel lost if I go too long without putting in a few stitches. I need this shawl to be made. It is comforting to knit. It’s soft texture and colors are soothing. It is pretty to look at. This shawl has become my way of grieving. With each stitch I remember my mother and I let her go. Her memorial service will be this weekend. Will I be able to cry then? I don’t know. But I will know that tucked in my bag will be my knitting needles and this shawl.