On every other Thursday I cut out early from work to do three things in this order.
1) Go to personal grief counseling
2) Go to the local yarn store
3) Go to the family grief support group with my husband and Meg
It is a very grief heavy afternoon and evening. It helps me keep functioning through the time in between. In some ways the second stop on my Thursday trip might not sound like part of the grief work. A trip to the yarn store is a bit of a pleasure trip, but knitting is a serious part of my grief coping mechanism.
I first learned to knit in second grade. My gram cast on for me and taught me how to knit. She was unsuccessful at teaching me how to purl. I made part of a scarf that we ended up turning into a hat that I gave my second grade teacher for Christmas. I remember being proud of it when my teacher put it on after opening the gift. It was such a silly looking hat though, I have to wonder now as an adult if she had to laugh about it later.
I didn't knit again until last March.
About a week after Drew had died, I was still not back to work. We had done quite a number of household projects for distraction and went on a shopping run with my in-laws to get more stuff to do more household projects. My mother-in-law wanted to stop at Michaels to get some yarn. I was suffering from the usual cognitive dissonance that happens when doing ordinary things right after life changing events. The yarn looked pretty and a I remembered how long it had taken me to knit that small hat when I was in second grade. So my mother-in-law helped me pick out some pink and green bamboo blend yarn, appropriate needles, and bought me a copy of Stitch 'n Bitch.
The next few days I attempted the long tail cast on several times. Finally getting it mostly correct around the fifth time. Then I knit Meg a garter stitch scarf. It was the first time I could sit for awhile and get my thoughts to slow down some. I dropped stitches, learned to pick them up again, and had to unravel some parts of the scarf to fix more major errors. Meg loved the scarf. I was hooked. A college friend clued me into ravelry and I found patterns galore to contemplate.
Knitting works for me to help tame the grief. I know I'm not alone in this. There is even a book called Knitting Circle by Ann Hood who lost her five year old daughter suddenly and took up knitting as part of her grief work as well. I haven't read it all the way through it yet, but the library has it and one day I'll have the mental energy to check it out and read it completely.
So today in preparation for the first anniversary of Drew's death next week,I bought yarn for various thank you hats and Meg picked out yarn for a Child Surprise Jacket cardigan. It is more yarn than I could possibly knit in a week. I am prepared. At least I am prepared for knitting. I will never be prepared for the time when I can no longer say at this time last year, Drew was alive.