one heel

I would have predicted that yesterday would have been okay.

Most of the days have been okay, or okay-ish. I have been going to the gym, and I have been sort of talking to my friends and doing my work, and I have been… okay. I went to a bike rally thing, and I answered some of my email, and I have been knitting this pair of socks, and all they need is a heel.  It’s an afterthought heel. All I have to do is snip a thread, pull out the stitches in half a row, pick them up and knit a heel. It’s easy.

one heel 2017-09-26

Then yesterday morning, Joe left for a business trip. That’s cool. I mean, we have to have a real life – one where we go to work and earn money and pay bills and take care of the family, and Joe’s been so great at that. I’ve been sort of a mess, and Joe has given me the great gift of being steady. It’s such a good word for what he’s done over the last few weeks. He’s been steady. I’ve cried and cleaned things with a toothbrush and been as wild as a goat, and Joe has made sure that there has been food and orderly things and been so sweet to our kids – and they’ve been great too. I feel so bad calling them “the girls” or “the kids” because they’ve been so grown-up, and so beautiful, and so terrifically, fantastically sweet. Their amazing grandmother is gone, and I know they are all gutted, but there hasn’t been a word of that to me. I’ve tried to have room to feel for their loss, but I’m not sure I’ve been great at it.  They have held me so lovingly, and turned to each other as friends and sisters, and not one of them has put their grief ahead of mine, and sometimes, as I cling to the life-raft that is everyone who loves me, I cannot believe how strong and beautiful they are.

Then yesterday morning, Joe got on a plane and left, and I was going to get up, and read email, and organize things and catch up with all of it and that’s not what happened. Instead, I got up and realized that usually when Joe’s out of town I hang with my mum, and I actually reached for the phone to call her and then some rogue grief train came out of the darkness with its goddamn lights blazing and I couldn’t get off the tracks fast enough and it hit me. Just like that.

I staggered through. I went to dinner with a friend and pretended everything was mostly  fine. I spoke with my sister and somehow managed to hold her sadness in me and hear it and know it and not lose myself entirely while I said things that I hope helped. I called the tax people and found out how much our bill is, and when I have to pay it (turns out it’s last week) and I bought toilet paper and tried to figure out why the hose in the backyard that’s supposed to be on some auto-thingie that Joe set up isn’t working right and I texted a friend who didn’t text me back and called a friend who didn’t have any time, and the whole time I worked at being a grownup and punctuated it with wild private sobs, and inconvenient jags of crying during which I held that damn sock and tried to knit one stinking heel onto the thing.

I didn’t get it done.  I didn’t manage a thing. The hose is still broken. The bill is unpaid. My bedroom closet is a disaster, and I realized that I am not sure that I am ready to be without my people, and still, here I am. It’s Tuesday. Joe’s gone for a few more days, and I’m getting on a plane before that, and I’m here by myself – and it’s so weird to be at loose ends, because usually I really like this – being alone and rattling around our house by myself, and I can’t tell you how embarrassed and surprised I am that this late into my forties I cannot cope without my mother, and dammit, I really just want to finish this sock.

It’s one stinking heel. I’m going to try again tonight.


295 thoughts on “one heel

  1. And it’s okay to feel that way. My dad’s passing didn’t fully hit me until months later because I was being the strong one, the one who lifted everyone else up and held it together, and then one day, it hit like a ton of bricks and I cried and felt so hopeless and lonely. And then I picked myself up because that’s what dad would have wanted and moved slowly through life. In your own time and your own way, you will find “normal” again. But for now, it’s okay to feel all the feelings and not be as productive as usual. I’m sending you virtual hugs and positive thoughts that you will find your “normal” again, when it’s time. Hugs!!!

  2. I don’t think it matters how old we get, our mom is still our mom. If it helps to soften even the tiniest rough edge, I’ve been thinking of you lately, holding you in my heart just a bit, hoping your pain eases as quickly as can be and that the happy memories lose their sting.

  3. This October is the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, terribly. Even now, I sometimes think I should call her, reach for the phone and …. The grief train will eventually make fewer and fewer stops at your door — because the love endures.

    • October is 25 years since mine passed away. I used to phone her at 3 in the afternoon from work, I knew she’d be having coffee. Even though my husband (at the time) and I lived with her, and I would see her in a couple hours, I still called. It was a long time until the 3 o’clock feeling passed. I still find myself thinking about how she would feel about the people in my life now, and how she didn’t get to meet my fantasic niece and nephew. And still so many questions I would like to ask her!

  4. It totally sucks that grief has no timeline, no schedule; and rears its head when you least expect it. I am so sorry, and the blog-sphere wishes we could make this better for you.

  5. I remember that first time, when I thought “I need to call my mom and tell her . . . .”. And, I couldn’t. Crushing. I’m to the point now where I can chuckle about it. Be gentle with your expectations.

    BTW, the afterthought heel was my mother’s favorite. She taught me to knit socks. She was a great knitter.

  6. The picking up the phone to call, and then getting kicked in the gut by emotions went on for years with me. My mom passed away when I was 21, and I don’t think the urge to call went away until I was in my 30’s. It’s just emotional muscle memory to call. When I noticed I hadn’t got that urge to call in a year I got sad all over again.

  7. I remember being so alone 3 weeks after my dh died, and it stinks. You did all the right things…keep going to dinner and calling people even if you’re just going thru the motions. I’m sure your “kids” would understand if you leaned on them a little right now….maybe call them? The blog loves you and I wish I could take your pain away, but all I can do is to tell you it does, I swear it, get better or at least easier to bear.

  8. Please know that you are never really “without your people”. We are all here. And if you feel the need to rant and cry about the unfairness of it all, feel free to do so with us. We’ve all been there in one way or another, and we understand. There’s a whole world of knitters out here holding you close.

    • Amen to that! We’ll totally be here, Steph.

      I reckon that all that you’ve described in this post is a totally sane and ‘normal’ way to feel given the circumstances. It sucks and smacks you at random why-right-this-second? times, but it’s a totally appropriate place to be. We, the blog, care a lot about all that you’re going through, and want you to know that you’re loved and befriended and supported – even if that’s from distances as far as Melbourne to Toronto. Hang in there, Steph: we’re all cheering you on.

  9. My heart hurts for you. This is the nasty sneaky side of the journey through grief. It gets better. Meaning that the sneak attacks become a thing you know how to endure. No less painful, no less real, just a thing you know, from experience. Be kind to yourself, be well, and know that their are many holding you and your entire family in our hearts.

  10. If the heel isn’t ready to be knit tonight on the cheerfully stripey socks, set them aside to start another pair. Maybe these need to be the after-after-thought heels. We each muddle through our grief, picking up the bits of the world that has shockingly continued spinning without us for a time.

  11. It happens,and that’s the way that it happens. One minute you’re fine, and coping, and dealing with it, and then suddenly you’re not. The only way to get to the other side of grief is too go through it, hard as that is. Feel what you feel. You will heal, at your own pace, and all of us who make up the Blog are here for you.

  12. I’m so sorry. I am 50 and I still have moments when the grief overwhelms me and I cry like a 5 yo, thinking “I want my mommy!”. I don’t think we ever get over that, it just happens less frequently. It’s been 11 months since my mom passed.

  13. My mother led the singing in the children’s church group. I can’t sing the second verse of Silent Night, which she taught us, without breaking down. It’s been a lot of years, but I still tear up. Stuff jumps you when you don’t expect it. Hang in there!

  14. A book that might fit you right now (though I’m not sure how much religious thought is in it) is by CS Lewis called A Grief Observed. He wrote it when his wife died and he was thunderstruck at how bad it felt.

  15. I wish I could just reach through the computer and give you a hug. I used to call my mom from work every day at lunch just to check in with her, and my first week back at work after she died – I was lost. I would pick up the phone and start to dial. We love you, kiddo, we’ll be here whenever you need us.

  16. It hits at the weirdest times, the weirdest things. Smiling gets easier, the missing never changes. We’re lucky to have had such love from our mum’s that we miss them so much.

  17. Grief is sneaky like that. Continue to be kind to yourself. And I can’t say about Canada, but in the US, even tax people have mothers and they can sometimes wiggle a little with an extension for the state your life is in. Might not hurt to plead your case if you haven’t already to avoid penalties. I know that’s not your biggest worry, but maybe it is one that can become a little smaller.

    • Seconding be gentle with yourself! One of my seventh graders said something that has always stuck with me. Mourning is like a rose bush. When you are close to the death, all you can feel are the thorns. As you move further away you appreciate the flowers. May your mother’s memory be an ever blooming florabunda!

  18. Oh my, yes, I have been hit by the rogue grief train at times, too, and sometimes I just felt like I had to wait on the tracks for the next one to come along, because why get up? My sister died six years ago. I expect the grief at certain times, of course, like when I spend time with her three daughters or their dad and his new (lovely and so appreciated) wife. But, one day a few years ago, I went to a yoga class on her birthday. I had been holding it together, and I hadn’t really thought about the class being on this day, and really, who can’t handle a little focus and relaxation when they’re having a tough time? Me, apparently. I guess I was holding it together with all the tension in my body, because when it was gone, I was lying there at the end of the class unable to stop the racking sobs. I couldn’t explain to my instructor because I couldn’t speak. I’d catch my breath, and calm down a bit, realize it was not really happening all over again and that I’d made it through hours, days, years since her death, and things were OK. And then I’d open my mouth to explain, and that train would just barrel right through.
    I’m so sorry you’re feeling all this loss.
    I can remember seeing people I knew, people who’d lost those close to them as well, and wondering how they possibly could smile. I watched them and was absolutely overwhelmed by everyone’s losses. I grew some more empathy, I know.
    And right now, it’s pouring out toward you. Your love for your mom showed every time you wrote about her. I’m so glad you had her, and just so sorry that she’s gone.

  19. You need to call you bike friends, your yarn friends, or anyone in your phone book till someone is there to listen. It has been two years and the sudden emptiness just randomly shows up.

  20. Your ability to articulate the internal experience of grief is remarkable. My mom has always told me Love is forever. She’s still here, but the time is soon–she’s 93 and declining. I can only imagine where you are, but I feel it intensely because you describe it so eloquently. Heartfelt hugs to you.

  21. And that is grief. Grief sounds so romantic when you read about other people having it. In real life, it is just messy and ugly and makes you feel like shit. Roll with it. Time is the only answer.

  22. Earlier this year, my baby brother committed suicide. I was already wrecked, and when my partner left me on my birthday, 5 weeks later, I was wild. Screaming, crying, scary wild. And I learned that I couldn’t be alone, not for a second. I didn’t trust me with myself.

    Being an introvert (like you and I, Steph) who is grieving is a strange balance. What kind of interpersonal energy you need shifts so much faster than it seems like it should, and being alone is so much less of a comfort than it usually is.Sometimes it feels out of control to be alone, and it makes you wild or scared or empty. I wish I could be there to sit quietly in a room and need nothing from you, or clean something, or even knit that heel if you would let me. I hope that you can find the company you need. We are here for you.

    • Elizabeth, my love and care to you. What a shockingly rotten patch to live through. And what kindness to still be able to reach out to console and offer support to someone else. May there be new joys in your life, and very soon, even in the midst of all the struggle.

    • Elizabeth, I am so sorry for your loss, and for what you went through and are going through. That is really awful. I am amazed at your heart and strength. Hugs and love to you

  23. My first Mother’s Day without my mom was my first Mother’s Day as a mom. I would see an item to get as a gift and make a mental note to buy it and – oh, wait. She’s not there.

    “She’s not there” would wipe me out unexpectedly and convulse me with ugly, raw sobs that I couldn’t control. All while tending a seven-month old baby, who would never know her Grandma. “She’s not there” for the first tooth, first steps, first struggles of me learning this motherhood gig. “She’s not there” when the second baby was born and named after her.

    It’s been 27 years and I still cry (like now) but it’s not as sharp or ugly. You will cry a lot more, Stephanie, and it may sneak up on you, and it is what it is. And someday the rejoicing that you had a marvelous mother will outshine your “she’s not there” moments.

    All my sympathies and hugs to you.

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss. My mom died in January and I still start to call her to talk, ask a question, whatever. I don’t think that ever completely stops but it does get less painful. Grief has a life all it’s own that fluctuates day by day. You just have to go with the flow and know that some days are going to be a nightmare and other days not so bad. Eventually the good days will be more frequent than the bad days.

  25. I don’t know you personally Stephanie, but all I want to do is hug you right now. My mom has been gone almost 25 years. Grief sometimes still sneaks up on me when I least expect it. I was an only daughter with 3 brothers and mom was my best friend.I miss her daily, but my memories of her sustain me through the rough patches. May your memories of your mom help you too. Love endures forever.

  26. My dear, grief takes as long as it takes. Very profound, I know. It’s been 19 months without my dad and I’m ok mostly. Sometimes,though, it’s a freight train. Keep on, you’re doing it right for you. Hugs and peace from Michigan.

  27. Grief is like a terrible flu or cold that you think will never end, and yet one day, you get up and you realize you can breathe freely (or more freely) again and it begins to lift. There’s no rhyme or reason or particular timetable to it. I’m 17 years and one month into it. Every so often, far less frequently now than at first, something will rise up and get me. There’s nothing to be done but roll with it. I couldn’t knit for almost a year (Ma was a knitter, a spinner, and an amazing weaver)…and then one day I couldn’t *not* knit and I’ve been at it ever since. Peace.

  28. I lost my mother very suddenly a year ago tomorrow. You have my deepest and most sincere sympathies. I wish I had wise words of comfort to share, but I am finding it difficult to really organize my thoughts. You’re going to miss her forever, but it does become less immediate.

  29. The best advise I got after my parents passed away a year apart was this culture thinks you will be done with your grief in 2 weeks. In reality it takes 3 years. During that time give yourself permission to grieve. Grief was my constant companion and then one day I realized it had left, quietly, and I was strong enough to go on. Reach out to others who have walked the path and they can be of comfort. God bless…

  30. I’m joining in with this huge group hug. Most of us have known the sadness, the grief . I know we’d love to find the words to make your agony less, but, as one wise poster before me stated, the only way to get over grief is to go through it.
    Just know that you are surrounded by love as you go through your painful journey.

  31. Stephanie, my husband died and all i could do was try not to spend each day in a closet… for several months. You have earned your grief. Embrace it, Acknowledge it. OWN IT.

    No, you’ll never get “over it.” as it part of your life. But, I promise, it won’t hurt so much in a few years….

  32. My therapist described those moments as grief bursts. Like a rain squall that comes out of nowhere, drenches you and knocks you off your bloody feet.

    • Oh yes – that’s it almost exactly. Like a tropical storm centered directly over your head – no warning siren or anything. Just sudden drenching and dropping to your knees. 17 and 15 years, respectively, for my dad and mom, – still get these bursts, just not as often.
      Chris S in Canada

  33. I am not going to tell you the usual platitudes about time healing pain or that this too shall pass or even share a story of my own grief. Instead, I will tell you that when my mother passed, neither my sister nor I she’d a tear. No crying, little grief, mostly just emptiness. She was not a shining light or friend to either of us. We don’t miss her.

    Please value and honor your grief, it speaks volumes about who your mother was that she is so deeply and horribly missed.

    • This is my story too, and my grief over my mom’s death 13 years ago is that we hadn’t had the kind of relationship that I could grieve over. The depth of your pain speaks to the love you have for her.

  34. So sorry! Grief is a whirlwind, not a straight line. It hits you when it feels like it. For me it was on the 4th of July after my dad died, and I was totally not expecting to be flattened. Patience is the only way through. The need for patience, and mortality itself, totally stink.

  35. Sending huge hugs! When my mother passed, I was given a book about losing a parent. The one nugget it had was to expect that every time you reached an event when you would have seen this person, you expect that you will grieve some more. It’s true. When my daughter got married, when she had her baby, when my son began college. These were all events she would have been involved in, and, no.
    I’m so sorry – I hear your sob and understand. Thus I send hugs.

  36. You need to get a book called “Tear Soup: A Healing Recipe For Healing after Loss”. It is a kids book but it is a truly helpful look at grief.

  37. I was Jewish briefly; converted and then wandered away. One thing I liked was the rules for Shiva, or the process of mourning. There are all of these rules that sometimes seem so weird and arbitrary but they are designed to give you permission to take the time to heal enough to deal with the world again. I’m glad at least you aren’t feeling that pressure to “get over it”. My aunt had someone say that to her when her husband died. It was a year later and she said she should be over it by now. Clearly had never lost anyone before. Anyway sorry to ramble. I think of you often.

  38. When I lost my mom, I had NO idea how hard it was going to hit me. I spent several days, like you did, at her side, watching the whole thing unfold. It was devastating. It will time (like weeks and months) to get back to anything like normal.

    And don’t apologize for not tending to your family’s grief. The care circle works like this: Care goes in to those who are closest, and those on the outer part of the circle find folks outside to share their grief with. Your daughters are close, but not as close as you – they are sending in care, and finding others to work through their grief with – and that is perfectly ok. They have their sisters, spouses, friends, other family, to process with.
    And good on you for grieving now instead of trying to be ok now and stuff all those feelings. They will just wait until you are ready – so you are doing yourself a favor by letting it be. You are in my thoughts. And someday that heel will get knitted.

  39. I lost my mother about the same time as you did. She had cancer. My mind tells me she is with God all health and happy. Which gives me some comfort. But, I just can’t wrap my mind around never talking to her again or seeing. As a grownup I agree not sure how to move forward with out my mom. And the tears none seem to end. I understand your pain. I pray we both find a peace with in us to move on with life. Even those it won’t be easy.

  40. Embarassment? Surprise? Please, sweetie, don’t do that to yourself.

    You were connected to and loved by your mum for your whole life (+ 9 months) and I’d frankly be concerned if you were able to wrap that up and put it aside in a matter of weeks.

    • My thoughts exactly. You are navigating a new path in unknown territory, and your ability to ‘feel all the feelings’ will serve you well in the end. Please don’t expect more of yourself than you are capable of at this time. Comfort yourself as your mum would comfort you.

  41. Dear girl, grief takes time. Give yourself the gift of having very low expectations, and as few commitments as you can manage without sinking the ship. Let yourself ride the waves. There’s a reason people used to wear black for a year after the passing of a loved one… a signal to the world to treat very tenderly the person who has suffered a tremendous loss. I sometimes wish that custom were still in vogue. It’s not morbid — it honored the truth of a very sad and life-altering situation, and served as a sort of external band-aid to signify the presence of a deep emotional wound. (It astounds me that here in the U.S. people are typically given three days’ paid leave from work to mourn a loved one. The implicit idea is that it takes a long weekend to get over it. Rubbish.) You’ve suffered a devastatingly unexpected blow. There’s no “getting on with it” — there’s only getting through it. Your tough, can-do, Canadian survivor spirit has always been an inspiration to me and countless readers of your wonderful blog… but honest to god it’s OK to be frail and broken for awhile. In fact, it’s an essential part of the healing process. Blessings.

  42. Hugs and prayers! Give your self grace to keep
    allowing those feelings to come, grief train and all. I love that analogy – such a perfect description of the way it jumps out of no where or goes on & on & on with no caboose in sight. Breathe through each moment and know that you are in our hearts.

  43. It’s okay, and right, to keenly, and at times wailingly miss your mom! She was such a steady, presence in your life even before you first drew breath. This year so full of firsts is hard.

    Those thunderclap moments of overwhelming grief that steals one’s breath are so unexpected and hard. Even after years there will still be occasions, usually pertaining to great joyful news, when the first instinct is still to call mom. Those times bring quiet tears, a lump in the throat and the deep ache of missing her so very much. Yet you will embrace them for those moments will bring her tangibly close. The memories, her wisdom, advice, sayings, a certain way of moving, of being… you will hold close and treasure.

  44. My Nana died when she was 93. Her “kids” were in their 60s and 70s. They knew it was coming. And really, I think they were surprised. They hadn’t ever known (or even imagined) life without their mom. They were gutted too. Love to you and yours.

  45. Stephanie, this is called a grief burst – it is a real and normal phenomenon. One moment a person feels fine, or fine enough all things considered, and then wham! splat! whoosh! explosions of grief. Breath-stopping, life-stopping, every-thing-stopping grief. This hideous and painful state moves through. It is a normal part of mourning. You are normal to experience grief bursts. Something would be amiss if you did not. They pass. And then they come again. And they pass, again. It is a form of ‘dosing’ or modulating or pacing. The sharpness does shift and the aching pain changes and softens too. We live our way into this transition.

    It’s only been a brief while since your Mum died. An entire life has ended. That is big, really really big. And it takes a while and it takes process to really digest the magnitude of what it means. ‘My Mum died. She died. She’d dead.’ She has always been there and now she is not. That is huge to digest. A quick demise is actually much harder to grieve because the shock of the illness and the rapidity of the decline don’t give a person opportunity to find her way with what is occurring and then, schplam!, ‘I didn’t even get caught up yet and death has come.’ And the shock makes it all feel stranger. Even if you witness that final breath it is still massive to absorb. It feels unreal. It really does. When your relationship with Mum has been positive and supportive and nurturing and she is someone you turn to and who supports you when you are having a hard time, to need her more now than you ever have, as a hurt or injured child needs her Mum, and for her to now not be there when you actually need her most is an extra pain. You aren’t supposed to be functioning like an got-it-together adult, you are a daughter whose mother has died, and a daughter is a child no matter her age. And hurt children naturally want their Mums. This is normal.

    Shock has an analgesic quality, meaning that it numbs pain. And that numbing is important. It is far, far too big to digest in one fell swoop the magnitude that is death. It is ‘dosed’ instead and grief bursts are part of the ‘dosing.’ It is also normal to feel like you are losing your mind, that nothing matters and everything matters even all at the exact same time, to be forgetful and absent-minded and irritable and moody, to not be able to absorb a word you read even when you re-read and re-read. It is normal to feel bone tired and simply need more rest and more sleep and not be able to or want to take part in as many activities. This is all normal, go with it. A deep reorganization is occurring in your being and your being needs space and time and room for it to occur.

    To be bereaved is a special kind of state, a sort of injury to your heart. It is ripped open and painful and it can actually physically hurt. And like having a broken bone is a special healing state that needs a cast for support, to be bereaved is its own special healing state that needs support. Offer yourself kindness. Let go of judgment. Try putting your hand on your heart and saying to yourself ‘may I be kind to myself in this moment’ and then just listen inside yourself and make space for the grief burst to move through. Accept support. Let the people who love you take care of you. I had to touch the ‘world’ that is the Knitting Interwebs and your family and friends supporting you.

  46. Heel, schmeel. Get to it or not. You are on a different train. And it is where you need to be. Grief comes in waves and knocks you off your feet. You will get up again, but you are allowed to take the time to brush the hair out of your face and spit out the sand. Steph, I wish I could make it better, but this is one of those journeys that you make alone. I finally, finally, after 8 years, deleted the last voice mail from my mom. It wasn’t important, it wasn’t profound… was just her voice. And I miss it. I, too, pick up the phone to call her and….I can’t. I want to tell her about her amazing grandsons and……I can’t. It hurts, but each blow is a little less. If it gives you any comfort, take time to look for your mum. She will send you messages, I think. Once, when I was 8, my mother and I did a cross stitch sampler- the old Irish prayer- “May the road rise up to meet you..”- that she ordered out of a catalog. We did it, even with my wobbly stitches. It was sort of a joke between us,- my mother had a wicked sense of humor I don’t know what happened to it, it was lost long ago. But when I cleaned out her apartment in the days after she was gone, I came across those words in a wide variety different places- old catalogs she kept, referenced in a novel she was reading, underlined in a newspaper lining a drawer, and twice written out in her handwriting. It continues to crop up for me, although I never saw it with such frequency before her death. No idea why, but if my mom was poking at me, that would be something she would do, so I accept it. The first year is the hardest- the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, etc. It will get easier, and those grief waves will come with less frequency. They will still sneak up on you years later- but that is a small cost for loving someone so deeply. Peace be with you. I wish I could help.

  47. Oh honey, I’m so sorry. It sucks. No poetic words or advice, but know you’re being sent love and comfort from all over – especially from me. Be well friend.

  48. I know it will never be okay, but someday in your time, you will get through a day without the grief overwhelming you, this is not the day and that is okay. Know that many of us are holding you close in our hearts.

  49. You’re not alone, so many of us feel the pain you’re in right now-just give yourself time to adjust and cope with the loss. Many hugs & thanks for all the joy you’ve given us, your blog readers, over the years. It will get better.

  50. When my father died suddenly,
    14 years ago, a cousin I had not heard from in years called to offer her sympathy and talk about old times. As soon as I got off the phone I thought, “I have to call Daddy, he will never believe Dianne called me!” Then I remembered, oh yeah, that’s WHY she called. For over a year, every time someone came in the back door I looked to see if it was him. Habits die hard, especially when you don’t have time to prepare yourself for the passing of a loved one. Long term illnesses are so hard on the patient, but sometimes I think the sudden deaths are harder for those left behind.

  51. Yes. That’s it. Right there. It won’t be the last.

    In the worst moments, when you think you won’t survive and almost don’t care if you do…you will.

    And Joe will be there and your girls will be there and Elliot will be there. And you will get through. And although you do not know me and have no reason to believe me, I ask you to believe me anyway. You will get through because that’s what we do. We get through somehow. Holding you and yours in my heart…

  52. Dear Steph…don’t be hard on yourself. There is no “should” about grief. You aren’t being a baby. You are just being a daughter. We are so lucky to have had a wonderful mom who has such a big place in our heart, that being without her is so, so hard. You will always miss her, but it won’t be this hard forever. Somehow we do go on. Find some way to be kind to yourself, as she would have been kind to you. Grief is a process of accommodating the changes in your life . It sounds like you are angry with yourself because you “should” be doing or being something else. Crying, feeling blindsided, feeling anger and despair,….it sucks, but it just is the process. All we can do is try to find a way to be in this moment in some sort of grace and kindness for ourselves. Everyone here holds you in their heart.

  53. Sneaker waves, that’s what I call it. Oh sorry. What i feel is that so many of us had terrific mothers. So much love. Yes, just to hang out for a day. Miss her. Thank you for your blog. For still caring about us.

  54. I cried with you as I read this. The tug you feel, the very real need for your mom’s voice and presence….that is a testament to the strong, unbreakable loving bond you two have…what a gift, but what a hard thing to feel lost.

  55. Oh lovey. I cannot help you in the depth of your sorrow, or even change the current that will bring you in. All I can say is you will find a way. You will be happy and have bright moments again. Till then all you can do is keep your head up and paddle with the current. If you are out too long, or cannot keep your head above water it’s natural to seek professional help. Sometimes we need to be lead back to solid ground by those that know the waters you are in well.

  56. I don’t know if this will bring comfort or prolonged agony, but comfort is intended. My mother has been gone since 1987… 30 years! Last year I lived through my 62nd year, the year of her life in which she died, and I thought about it all the entire year. How is my life to be more in some way than hers? Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her lovingly, gratefully, wistfully.

    With much, much time and activity, the overwhelming ache goes away. But never the relationship. Keep on keeping on, cherish the feelings and the memories, create and strengthen relationships that honor the one you have had with her and look forward to the day that her memory is a blessing. Many hugs!

    • I agree with Susan, the relationship doesn’t go away, or the love, or the blessings. When I have lost someone there have been grief trains but also angels, reminders of the good. I’m pretty sure they are visiting you, too, but maybe not with big lights and loud noise. They can make you cry, too, but not so hard. With the rest of the blog and with all my heart, I’m thinking of you and your mum.

  57. There are no rules for doing grief right. There is great freedom in that.

    Let yourself grieve however you need to. Not many people can fall and be held by such a wonderful community as you have created with your blog.

  58. The depth of your sadness is truly a measure of how close you and your mother were. You will always miss her. A year plus after my mother’s death and I still catch myself thinking, “I should tell Mama about that. She’d love that story.” I probably always will.

    One thing that helps me is to wear her old plain band wedding ring along with my regular day-to-day jewelry. That way something tangible of her is always with me.

    Take care of yourself. Your Mum would have wanted you to.

  59. A helpful rule sometimes is to do something for just 5 mins, if it doesn’t feel right then stop. Take off any pressure, things are exactly how they should be right now. No forcing. ‘ it is what it is while it is”
    Love and thoughts with you.
    It’s all OK. Be with it.

  60. When I read your posts, I am so struck by how hard you are on yourself. Of course you still need your mum, of course a tax bill is too much. You should feel proud you are even up and showered. (Or just up, I’m not judging!)

    And it’s not the same as your real friends, I know, but we, The Blog, are here and thinking of you. And we are so sorry you are going through this.

    • I agree, please don’t be hard on yourself. I lost my brother very suddenly, 20 years ago and I still miss him. It never stops, but we learn to live again and you will too. Give yourself time and know we are thinking of you.

      • The blog is holding you in its collective heart Steph. You’ve given so much to the community – and to bigger and bigger communities. Maybe some of that can come back to hold you up in this difficult time.

  61. Grief & pain can be hard, tricky things to work through. And as a wonderful lactation consultant once told me: there’s no shame in getting some help with it if you need. If you need to talk to a counselor a few times to help you figure out how to be more capable of continuing with your regular life while you work through all the very real, very understandable pain you’re in, that’s ok. Wishing you peace.

  62. Dear Stephanie
    Your grief is so palpable and you express it so beautifully and so humanly (as your writing always manages to be). My heart cries for your heart and I know that you will slowly return to your life, an irrevocably changed life but still a beautiful one. Your lovely and loving family (that you so generously share with us, somehow without infringing on their privacy) will pull you through and your happy memories of your Mum will surface more readily than your grief filled ones of how she died. Feel free to take your time, do what you need to do and not what others think you need to do and be kind to yourself and those you love.
    With much gratitude for the times you make me laugh when otherwise I might cry or feel sorry for myself.

  63. Don’t be embarrassed. It’s normal to feel like this. Sometimes I still feel this way about my dad – more than two years after his death. Or about my FIL, who left us more than four years ago. And sometimes I still cry about our cat who died in 2016 and was our baby, our child. You will feel better, the sadness will hit less often. Just take your time. It’s nobody’s business but yours how long you need and I’m sure everybody in your wonderful family understands. (((Hugs)))

  64. A whole year after my precious Daddy passed I was sitting in a restaurant, celebrating my wedding anniversary when I suddenly realized Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” was playing in the background. Remembering it was my Dad’s favorite piece of classical music sent me into the ugly cry. I composed myself at the musical change and went on with the appetizer. Not two minutes later there is a repeat of “Claire de Lune”! It finally occurred to me that maybe Dad was wishing us a Happy Anniversary. So I acknowledged his message and the music changed immediately. Look for your Mum’s messages in the little things of life. It will help you feel less alone and without her.

  65. Hugs to you Stephanie. You learn how to walk alongside the grief – I’m sure you’ve heard that already and I bet you thought it was a cliche. I certainly did, but it’s true. You are doing a wonderful job of putting into words what grief is, how it feels and I appreciate you so much for that. I’m the same age as you and if it helps, nearly four years to the day since I lost my mum, I have learned to live without her. Except, actually, she is still there in your heart and your thought patterns and your experience. I am also a godless heathen so once she was gone, physically, she was gone forever. Yet I hear her in my head, in my words coming out of my mouth. That brings me comfort and now, finally, I can laugh about it and embrace her. You will get there Stephanie.

  66. Shame, guilt, impatience, Stephanie, what are you punishing yourself for?
    Not that it’s *never* helpful, but in my experience if you feel the need to hurt yourself in this way, it’s worth figuring out why.
    You just lost your mother, it’s gonna take you a second, try and be nice to yourself, would you?

  67. Sending you many hugs. There is no normal in how anyone deals with grief. How you feel is how you feel, and it is valid. You will feel like you’re doing better and then have days when you feel like you did on this day. Be kind to yourself and know that there are many people out there holding you in their hearts.

  68. Oh Steph, there’s nothing I can say to fix the bag of awfulness you’re stuck in, but I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been profoundly moved by how beautifully you have written about grief, and that although it’s nothing in comparison to what you’re going through, my heart is aching for you and your pain. Sending you love and solidarity and vibes to just hang on in there. The Blog is with you through this. xxxx

  69. Be gentle with yourself. Grief is never linear. It comes and goes and never at the times you might expect it to. You might find yourself giggling at the most inappropriate time and then sobbing even though you don’t feel there is a reason for it at that moment. A song, a smell, a word, damn near anything can trigger your heart right now. The scope of your grief will change but for now it is where you are. Sending much love and virtual hugs as you travel through it.

  70. Dear Stephanie,
    You have had your first, “first”. It does hit like a wall. This first year will be full of them. Treat yourself gently. There are no grief police. (just as there are no knitting police) The first year will be difficult, I will not lie. But the silver lining is that my siblings and I have grown closer than ever. We began new traditions to help each of us with the loss. I am sorry to say that the firsts go on indefinitely after that first year. Last November when my first child got married I experienced another first. It kinda hit me during mass. I thought I wish mom and dad were here, they would be so proud. Today is the 6th anniversary of my mom’s passing and while I will go to work and do my daily stuff, there will be bittersweet feelings hanging around today. She is no longer in pain and not suffering. That is what I hang onto. Take time. Process this life event in your own way. Grief has no timeline. Hugs, that sock will eventually get done.

  71. Please be kind to yourself. Your grief will flow and ebb and you have to feel it and try to appreciate that it is a tribute to your mother and how deeply you loved her and she loved you.

  72. Yup. I can’t focus and our tax bill is due and I can’t find it. And our tax collector is a fellow knitter and has offered to send me another. I’m in a weird space time continuum.

  73. As others have said — when your people are not physically there, when someone doesn’t text back, when someone else doesn’t have the time to talk on the phone, the blog is here. We’re here, somewhere, wherever we happen to be. And we love you, too, even though we may never meet in real life. Even though I’m sure there are words you don’t want to send out into public cyberspace; you can still let us know that you couldn’t knit that stinking afterthought heel today. Sending you love and good wishes. Life can be difficult sometimes.

  74. I’m not going to share or compare about things in my life with things in your life.
    Just know, I completely understand!
    Just keep squeezing that little baby and smelling that fresh baby smell and cry. You don’t have to have it all together. Your family and true friends will understand.
    Sending prayers of peace to you and your family.

  75. Hi lovey. I have no better thoughts or offerings than are above except to say that it does hurt, it’s going to, but at some point you’ll find yourself thinking of your Mum in happier times and somehow you’re going to smile at those memories. There’s nothing wrong with you except grieving, which is very difficult.

  76. Just wanted to send you a big THANK YOU for grieving out loud. It helps others who may be going through a similar time. You’re strong, you’ve got a great support system, and you can handle this season of your life too. You’ve got this…just give it time. I hope one day soon you’ll find yourself thinking more on her life than on her absence. When you hit that tipping point, breathing may be a tad bit easier.

  77. So many tears Steph, I know that rogue train of grief that comes flying out of nowhere and knocks the wind out of you and I am so very sorry you also now know it. There really are no words, just so much empathy and love and grief,
    Hugest of ((((HUGS)))), Mel

  78. You described it perfectly, a train of grief flying down the tracks. My mom died suddenly, at my home, 32 years ago and she was my best friend. Let the grief flow, that train will visit less and less over the years. She will always live in your heart and you will see her in your daughters, as long as you remember and speak her name, she lives on.

  79. That’s exactly it. Out of nowhere, left field, reaching for the phone and BOOM. Grief is grief is grief and it doesn’t care about our schedule and bills and timeline. Years later you will still cry, but it won’t be the wild, heart tearing pain that you feel now. It will be a simple sadness that you still miss someone and wish things were different. I try to be kind to people for this reason…we all carry around this gulf of pain in us and those of us who don’t, yet, will someday, and they will remember to be kind in turn when it’s needed.

    At least that’s my theory.

    Hang in there Stephanie. One day at a time.

  80. Isn’t it funny and wonderful how we each have a little routine that we did with our moms. For us, it was a cup of tea. Whenever we sat an talked something over or took a break from our day, Mom made tea. Mom has been gone since 1976 (she died very young, only 47) and every time I have a cup of tea, I feel her with me. Steph, your grief will ebb and flow, but will always be a part of you now. Your mum will stay in your heart forever.

  81. i used to call my parent’s voicemail just to listen to my mom’s voice after she died. When my dad changed the message, I was so overwhelmed by grief that this little bit of her was gone. 10 years later, it still hurts that I can’t hear her voice any longer. I am not sure that the grief train ever ends, but it starts to make fewer stops on the line. Be kind to yourself and don’t feel that there is a timetable for normal.

  82. I wish I had a magic wand that would conjure up solace for you. Lacking that, I hope it helps some that you are loved far and wide and we are all pulling for you.

  83. Oh my goodness, please, please, remember that the grief train is totally normal! Huge fits of sobbing are normal and allowed!

    And if you can’t knit that heel today, that’s fine too. It’s not going anywhere, it will be there when you’re ready to work on it.

    My mother passed over 20 years ago this October. And while the grief train visits less (it still sometimes does), the loss never completely goes away. But the good memories and times will begin to peer through, when you are ready for them.

    Take the time you need. Grief has no schedule and no real set process — and that’s perfectly fine. The blogsphere is here, to be a virtual shoulder to cry on, if nothing else. 🙂

  84. Dear, dear Stephanie, it takes more time to get straight than you’re giving it. You had the great fortune of a wonderful relationship with a wonderful mother, and no real warning that she was going to die. A huge loss, a huge blow. You reel from those for a long time.
    I’d been doing my mom’s grocery shopping for a while before she got very ill. About a month after her death I had a meltdown in the soda aisle because I didn’t need to buy ginger ale any more. Strange things remind us of our loss.
    Give yourself a bit more mercy, you’re still suffering your loss.

  85. It took a long time for me to move from, “hey, I need to call Dad about this” to “I wish Dad was here so I could call him about this”. There’s no timeline, for grief & I still struggle with him not being here 4 years later. Just know that it takes time & that you’re in my/our thoughts.

  86. I hear you. My mum died 8 years ago. She was a terrific sewer and I regret so much not keeping any of her sewing. To be fair the clothes she made wouldn’t fit me anymore and when she died there was such a deluge of “stuff” I had to deal with in a frantic hurry because my step-dad just wanted it gone. I tried to keep things but I lived in a condo-sized house at the time with my own family. So be careful about things she made or cookbooks she used, but you do have to clear house at some point.
    I think someone else nailed it that you’re having a tough go because she died quite suddenly.
    I still get waves of grief that I keep private and it’s 8 years later. My husband is still grief-stricken over his mum and that was 20 years ago.

  87. It gets better. That sounds trite and shallow, but it does. In the meantime, in these days, it’s going to hurt like hell and it’s going to blindside you from time to time. Even when you start getting back on some sort of even keel, there will still be moments that train is going to hit you because you start to call her without thinking or find something that prompts “Mom’s going to love this.”

    Gradually, we speak of them in past tense, but fourteen years after my dad’s gone, I still find myself thinking of him in the present. Every time I get a cool new piece of tech I’ve been looking forward to, I get a little weepy because I can’t share it with him and there are still moments when the grief can slam down like a body blow.

    But it gets better. Not today, not tomorrow, or even any point in the near future, but it will. In the meantime, know it’s not wrong to hurt and not wrong to have the world feel off. Get what you absolutely must to keep roofs over head, but there’s a hell of a lot else that can slide. And know that you’re not alone, that there are folk who know what you’re going through and you’re in our thoughts.

  88. You’re bringing it all back for me–the loss of my own mother, and it’s been 8 years now! I was shocked to find myself coping on the outside and “gutted” (perfect description!) on the inside. One day, weeks after she passed, I was not consciously thinking about her, just doing something on my computer, and this huge (again, your description–love your way of putting words to this!) rogue grief train cam surging up out of nowhere and I ran crying from the room. That was the worst I had ever cried. But I don’t think I’ve done it since! Took it right out of me. Perhaps, with time, you might consider another book about Grief, using your gift for words and descriptions that fit, and including your subtle humor. It might help others as well as being a catharsis for you.

  89. It will be the weirdest things that set you off. Just know that it is OK to mourn as often and as long as you need. Gradually the events will be fewer and farther between, and the pain becomes misty rather than stormy, but your Mum will always be your Mum, and she will be missed and still loved. Also, it is not a thing that changes with maturity … the loss is just as difficult at nearly 70 as at nearly 50, so don’t beat yourself up for not managing better. The time will come.

  90. I’m so sorry. That absolutely sucks.
    I’m fairly certain most of us (especially those of us raised by great people) will always feel lost without them, even when life gets back to running smoothly. And that’s ok, because there’s nothing else to be done about it.
    And we may not be what you’re really looking for, but the Blog is always here for you. <3

  91. I am overwhelmed with the love and caring pouring out of all these comments. So supportive and wonderful to read in the climate of our world today. I feel so sad for you, Stephanie, and at the same time so joyful that you had such a wonderful relationship with your Mum. Thank you for sharing such a personal trainer xperience with your readers far and near. Hugs.

  92. Oh Stephanie, it is hard and will be for a long time. My mom has been gone 42 years and my father just 18 months. I have reached for the phone more times than I can say. We did so much for my dad at the end the hole he left was huge, but just as I thought I was getting past all of this I cried this morning. Really give yourself lots of time and go easy on yourself for the grief. It will come and go and at some point it will be a bit better. Peace to you and family.

  93. Hugs. It doesn’t matter how old you are, losing a parent is devastating. Most of us in the blog can’t be with you physically, but we’re here for you anyway.

  94. Steph, don’t beat yourself up. As others have said, this is to be expected. That train will come ’round again. It is a sign that you’re getting through this. Each time it does, you’ll learn a bit more about what helps you get past the pain. It could be music, a book, “comfort food,” a meditation technique, a soak in the bath, or something else. But probably not an afterthought heel.

  95. The first time I picked up the phone to call my mom after she was gone was Thanksgiving morning, because we always talked and watched the Macy’s Parade “together” even in different cities. It gets easier to cope.

  96. Forget the heel, go start something else that speaks to you. The heel will be there when you’re ready for it. This type of loss creates a wound, an invisible one that you feel but nobody can see. Healing of anything takes time and so does this. Maybe cast on something in her favorite color as a comfort knit, when you’re missing her you can have something she’d have loved close. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

  97. The amount and kind of “hard” that you are dealing with right now is intense. Please, please give yourself a break. You are allowed to feel at a complete loss, because that’s pretty much where you are. Eventually, with the continued love and support of those you have named, you will find a new normal. Until then, please be kind to yourself and just breathe. You will regain your adulting soon enough. Until then, just lean into those who want to help. <3

  98. My thoughts are with you so much at the moment. And you didn’t achieve nothing – aside from doing a bunch of admin like finding out about the bill, and reaching out to and seeing friends, which are pretty impressive things right now, you also just kept going. Like some have said, it’s good that you can feel your grief now, and aren’t trying to lock it away, as then it’ll just hit you all the harder.. Keep trying to do stuff, like work and bills etc.. but don’t be at all hard on yourself when it isn’t possible to do stuff. Please be nice to yourself, and keep letting your wonderful family take care of you, and little Elliot lift your spirits. Lots of love from the other side of the ocean

  99. And the internet told me your blog wasn’t there, and repeated it when I tried again and the universe did a wee stutter-step. And you’re there and are grieving and I’m relieved and nod and feel bad. I know you know it’s a year minimum to get past all the “first”s. Like labor — no way out but through. And people want to help, which manifests as advice, which doesn’t help. Still. So mine is “Cast something on.” And eat protein. And set the receiver to “receive” and let the virtual hugs wash in.

  100. I was 58 when my mom died last year and it hit me hard. There is no age-limit on needing your mom. No time limit on grief. Be kind to yourself, ask for help, take help. It does get better but never the same. Time. It takes time. And there will be shit days.

  101. I second what has been said above in so many amazing ways. Thank you for being willing to put it out there and to the blog for writing amazing thoughts about grief and mourning. Regarding “the kids,” in our family we call them ‘the youngers.” Implying where they stand generationally, and not having to type/say all of their names and their partner’s names all of the time. As a group, they are the youngers.

  102. It’s OK to feel this way. My mom died 20 years ago and I still miss her like crazy. Not in the intense day to day of the first few years, but in a softer yet no less painful way – when my sibs had their kids, when my stepdaughter had our grandson – all those milestones she’s not here to share. Grief is intensely personal and individual. Just as there are no knitting police, there are no grief police. Mourn her in your own way and don’t ever apologize. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your blog, and I hope the support and prayers of your Internet and real life friends helps you.

  103. I want to say so much, but all I can get out is: I love you. I care.
    I thank you for expressing your feelings so well, while also feeling strange that in the midst of your grief you’re helping us.
    We’re OK. Take the time you need. Hug your family.

  104. It is time to ne nice to yourself.

    You cannot put grief into a box and hope it stays there. There is no timeline for grief. Each person grieves in their own way and on their own timeline.

    Many {{{{{{Hugs}}}}}

  105. You have faced an emotional trauma. While I hated when people told me “healing takes time”, dammit if that isn’t true. In the meantime, be kind to yourself and leave that darned closet be. Walking helped me – got me out of the house but kept me feeling safe. Any one thing you accomplish is a win. Take one at a time. Peace and strength to you.

  106. I’m so sorry for this rough patch. My philosophy is that when someone we dearly love dies, we lose half our mind. Since we know that in advance, it is best to give 1/2 your brain to someone you trust and when it is the appropriate time (at least a year… 6 months is too soon and you will just lose it again) they give it back to you. You may have giving your 1/2 brain to Joe without even knowing it. And now with Joe on a trip and you getting ready for a trip, it is hard to keep all the ducks in a row. It gets easier. It never gets back to normal, there is an adjustment and a new normal.
    When my friends hit a tough spot in their knitting, I tell them: Just keep going, it will be fine. I’m finding that works well for life in general.
    Stephanie, just keep going, you’ll be fine.
    Hugs … -s

  107. Oh Steph, much like everyone else, I send the biggest hugs I can. I’m glad you put it out there so we could support you in whatever small way we may from all over the world.

  108. Steph, I lost my dad when I was little and here is the thing that gets me through it on bad days. The bad days, where you miss your mum wildly and overwhelmingly are all really close together now. But someday (I promise) there will be good days in between the bad ones every once in a while, and then they’ll start happening two at a time, and some day it will tip where you’re having more good days than bad. It takes time but I promise it will happen. The bad days will never completely go away – mine pop up unexpectedly every once in a while still – but they start happening less and less often. Someday soon, you’ll have many more good days than bad. My thoughts are with you, I know from my own experience that this loss is hard. But your family, friends and The Blog will help lift you through this. ♥♥♥

  109. It is part of the grieving process and, unfortunately, you will have a lot of “firsts” that are going to re-start the grief all over again for you. Eventually, the hurt will be bearable and you will be able to function in spite of it.

    If you still feel like this in a year, you should see a counselor.

  110. In 2011, my aunt died unexpectedly of ovarian cancer, just 5 weeks after being diagnosed. We were very close, it had been only the two of us in Chicago for over 10 years. I was just stunned when events quickly unfolded and suddenly she was gone. A few days after her death, my co-workers sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. After admiring them for a minute, I grabbed the phone to call my aunt and tell her about how gorgeous the flowers were. It hit me like a ton of bricks at that moment- no more phone calls to my aunt Karen.
    Hang in there Stephanie, and take your time grieving for your mom. I didn’t believe it myself, but eventually it will get better.

  111. When grief hits me full on in the face, I find it is easier to control. It’s the blind-siding that dissolves me into heart-wrenching sobs. Case in point – yesterday I found out that the wife of the local church pastor has been diagnosed with throat cancer. My first thought was that I have to tell my mom, only to realize with sudden finality that she has been gone a year already. I wish she was still here. I will always wish she was still here. I feel your pain….Please feel the arms of those who care about you, both physically and virtually. Hugs to you…

  112. There is no right, or should; it just is. Thinking of you and yours in these times and sending prayers as you each find your way to your own peace – moment by moment.

  113. It’s like that, though. No reason to be embarrassed. I came home from my mother’s viewing and caught myself on my way to her room (she lived with us for 9 of the 12 years of my marriage) so I could tell her what a wonderful event it was and how many people she liked were there and she should have come because they all wanted to see her.

    And then I just sat down in the hallway and cried because how could I have forgotten in the time it took to drive from the viewing to my house that it was HER viewing?

    It’s not a straight line to okay. But it’s not always going to be like this either.

  114. It’s a sock, just a sock. You have lost the anchor of your life. The sock will wait. Grief is a bastard like that. Just as soon as you fell like you are standing up and moving forward, you run across a jacket or a sweatshirt or movie or book or something that reminds you of the person. And it all slams you back into the ground again. You will be ok. Nearly everything will wait. Your girls are wonderful.

    PS But I would get the tax bill paid.

  115. My mom passed away 23 years ago when I was 29, and to this day, I would give almost ANYTHING to have her back. It does hit you like a freight train, with the least warning. Sob away, my friend. You sharing your experience is helping us and hopefully helping you.

  116. I lost my ‘little brother’ a year ago. He died of a heart attack. He was 35. I still have times where I just simply stop. I have to lean in to the grief a bit. Let it wash over me. I give myself to the grief for a while. And sometimes I really wallow in it. But I put a timer on it. ‘Ok, you have 1 hour to really be sad and messy and lie in bed.’ And then I pull myself out and bring in sunshine somehow.

    Reading your words over the last few weeks have been so moving and beautiful. The Blog is here for you. We feel your grief through your words. Know that we are here and we love you.

  117. I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. I facilitate a suicide grief support group (lost my husband to suicide 3 years ago) and have talked with many people experiencing grief. Please know that all you are feeling and going through is normal and although the grief will never be gone, it will change. You will find joy and love and laughter. I also know that when you write blog posts about your mum it helps heals your broken heart. So keep writing and sharing your grief and stories about your mum, I strongly believe that this will give you a sense of peace. And sometimes that’s all we can hope for after loving someone we loved deeply.

  118. Oh, my darling. I am so sorry. I wish the Blog could sit with you, could keep you company. I wish we could all take a shift and fly out and sit in your kitchen and make you coffee and just be there. Give you a safe space to cry to be sad to just be.

    Please know we are holding your hand, virtually. But we are. We are here and we love you.

    And, there’s a concept that really helped me, both when my husband passed and when other people I love have lost people. There’s this concept of circles, like in the middle is the person who died. And the next circle out is the people closest to that person, her kids, her spouse, her best friends, her grandkids, etc. The next circle out is like, more distant relatives, her friends, etc. Basically, the closer to the middle, the closer to her. And in times of grief, the people can comfort the people in circles inside of them, and can ask people for comfort in circles outside of them. It’s a good way to triage the situation, like, you are in the innermost circle. So you can ask anyone, anytime, for support, and you can maybe give support to people in your circle, but that’s it. You don’t have to give support to people outside your circle, they’re there to help *you*. You’ve got to take care of yourself, right now, and it’s appropriate and right and just that people help take care of you.

    The other thing I would say is, let people know if you need help. People *really* want to help you right now. They do. They don’t know how, but they do. If you ask someone to do something, they will be thrilled, because they are sitting there wanting to help but don’t know how. Will what they do help, or make it worse? They don’t know, they don’t know, they don’t *know*. If you ask for help, it’s a huge relief because then, they can help! And they know! They know it’s wanted. So in a weird way asking for help is a way of helping people, too.

    I wish I could help you more. It comes in waves and it comes unexpectedly and recovery is not a nice steady uphill slope and you never really get over it and I wish so much I could do something to help you. I can tell you so many people that helped me, when my husband passed away, and so many people that are still helping me, and you know what? You are one of those people. Your blog and your classes have helped me so much, Stephanie, so thank you, and oh, God, if there’s anything I can do to return the favor, please please let me know.

    Because I love you. And because grief is really fucking hard.

  119. Please give yourself as much grace as you possibly can. You are where you are, and there’s a damn good reason why that place feels so horrible. That sock heel will get done when it’s time for it to get done, and, in the meantime, do whatever you can to be kind to yourself and others. You’re all worth so much kindness and grace.

  120. Yep. This hurts like hell. Don’t judge your pain so harshly – just let it flow. The first year is the worst but it will get better. There will come a time when a thought of mom will bring a smile to your face – but that is a way down the road. Love to you and family during this rough and tender time.

  121. I talked to my parents every day. And as an adult on my own, it was usually on the ride home from work- a quick 1/2 hour chat with mom and dad. Then just dad. i’d dial (via siri) as i turned onto the on-ramp and use my bluetooth… and when i came back to work after my father passed (2 years after mom, almost to the day), i hit the siri button. and pulled off into the breakdown lane. I stayed there for 45 minutes and cried. I mourned the loss of that connectivity of the every day. When my mom passed, I had a day off, about a month later, and thought “girls day! manicures and deli sandwiches.” and I called her. And Dad answered. And i made an excuse and hung up. and i cried. I remember coming home one day after my grandmother died and my mom was sobbing in the kitchen. I asked her what was wrong- she said “the guy came to clean the carpets, and they look so good and I went to call my mom to tell her. And i can’t.” I never ‘got it’ then. I get it now. We’re adopting and have hit 5 milestones since mom passed. I got married 14 weeks after she died. My dad wrote our recommendation for our adoption and mailed it 5 days before he died. Mourn the everyday. I believe it’s people like us, the ones who truly loved and engaged with them in the minutia of the everyday… we feel it hardest. Its not just that they are gone. its all that was them in your life is gone too. It passes. it eases. it goes from “she would have loved/laughed/disagreed with X…” and you grieving to “she would have loved/laughed/disagreed with X…” and your heart breaking less. Remember, there is a whole little person who needs to hear the Nana stories… as only her daughter can tell. 🙂

  122. Stephanie,
    When you loose your mother (or anyone you love completely) unexpectedly, it is a terrible shock to your system. I am not telling you this for sympathy, it is a way to show you that there is hope. In January of 2004 I was on my lunch break from work. I thought about calling my mom to talk awhile but decided to stop in and see her instead. When I knocked and went in her apartment, I knew immediately that something was wrong. I found that my mother had died during the night. It was a total shock to all of us. It has been nearly 14 years and I still want to reach for the phone to talk to her or tell her something that has happened during the day. The devastation we felt took a long time to ease up. You will always want to talk to you mum. That will never stop. Go ahead and talk to her as if she were with you if you need. She is listening. Talk to her while you finish the sock. Talk to her about the sweater, hat, mittens, advent calendar… you are knitting for Elliot. Talk to her about Elliot. Your mother is still there in your heart even though you would rather have her with you.
    God bless you Stephanie and your family. May he help ease your grief.

  123. Thank you for sharing your grief so openly and freely … although it brings up my own sadness and how I felt almost 8 years ago when my own (albeit very old and ready to leave this world ) mother passed away, I feel your words unite us motherless knitters out here … I hope those socks are for someone special , someone who can appreciate the pain and grief you went through knitting them or any other stitches that have thoughts of your mother woven into them.
    Best wishes

  124. You don’t know me — you signed my book and held my sock and write a blog that I read every time you post. But if I lived even remotely close to you, I’d show up on your doorstep and hand you yarn and make you coffee and let you howl at the universe because you need to. Here’s a(nother) hug from The Blog.

  125. Stephanie, I am so sorry for your great loss. Losing your mother is so very hard. Grieve as you need to and when you need to and for as long as you need to. I cried every day on my drive to work after my mom died, for who knows how many days, weeks….
    Knitting will become a comfort again at some point. It will feel good and right.
    Peace to you and your family.

  126. “Rogue grief train” is the perfect description. I used to reach for the phone to call my dad after a power outage. He always kept his watch correctly set right down to the second. I wanted to phone him to ask what time it was so I could reset my clocks. How such a big train can ride on such tiny rails I never could figure out.

  127. Hugs, Stephanie. I found that when my Mom died that she left a huge hole in my life and it would hit me at inopportune but understandable times. I cried at the coffee shop because of the many times we’d shared coffee and had a laugh there. In the end I couldn’t fight the grief because it was evidence of the love I have for her. It was just something I had to feel. All my best to you, Stephanie. This is a hard one.

  128. I still miss my Mom’s cooking, and her laughter and her smile. I don’t think Moms are ever easy. Just allow yourself to feel the feelings. They will be harder some days than others. Mom has been gone since 2008 and there are days when all my siblings will do a round robin of emails and all the thing we miss about her. So just be you. Here is a virtual hug. Talk to her when you miss her. She is still listening.

  129. Adding in hugs over the miles. I know it’s not easy to sometimes accept help – especially when you’re independent and strong – but you can always ask for it from your family, your friends, the Blog, all of us who have had the true treasure of receiving your views and giving. Steph, now is a time for receiving. I wish I could come to your place and give you a hug and make you a cup of your favorite coffee or tea, then just sit and listen or be silent with you. Just know that we’re here, and yes your mom will be there when you least expect it – in something you see, something you feel, in a flower or in the rays of the sun, you’ll hear her laugh, see her smile, and it will bring more joy than sorrow.

    Peace and comfort.

  130. Those grief trains come at the most obvious of times and sometimes when you never quite know why. Nothing can really stop them, nothing really saves you from them, but I hope that someday you will have gained the strength and practice to hop on and ride the train instead of getting run over by it.

  131. Louise Penny in The Cruelest Month(Chapter 26) has a vivid description the power of being over come by grief. She describes it as “trying to stop the enemy at the gate….The Visigoths were on the hill and about to sweep down, burning and destroying everything. ..She might delay, grief but she wouldn’t stop it.”

    It is a powerful emotion that one has to work through.

  132. Yes. It is just stinking hole-y hell hard when your mother dies. I still want to call mine to tell her stuff — how beautiful her granddaughters looked on their wedding days, How one tenderly sewed the bits of her 66-year-old wedding lace to her own dress, to have a piece of her grandmother wrapped around her, even as it wanted to shred to bits. And my mother has been dead for 10 and a half years and there are days when it seems she died yesterday. I still miss her and the hole never fills. But I keep plodding along, and I go to work, and feed the cats, and all the same as you have been doing, and I absolutely reserve for myself the privilege of remembering her and crying uncontrollably that she is gone. Far less now than in the early days, but when it comes, it comes, and I just let the tide flow.

  133. I was over 50, and we had 5 months notice before it happened, and it still hit us all like a freight train. And that was 20 years ago this year. It doesn’t get better, it just gets less frequent.

  134. Dearest YarnHarlot, give yourself room to grieve. There is no shame in feeling pain about your loss. The amount of pain may be related to the amount of love you have for your mother, therefore expecting it to pass in a few mere days is not reasonable. I know I don’t really know you, but I would hug you if I could and not for one second judge your sadness.

  135. It took me a year. My mom and I were close, fellow caregivers for my dad. When he died, I felt relief but was bereft when she passed less than 6 days later (cancer). I was in the middle of moving into a new place.

    I don’t remember much of the year that followed. I pruned an overgrown holly tree one day and the neighbors thought I was nuts. I bought a puppy that I had no idea how to train. I read a lot of spiritual books looking for comfort and all I wanted was my mom to talk to. I dreamed of her one night where we were walking together and enjoying our time together, then she told me she was dead and I woke up in a cold sweat and sobbed for I don’t know how long.

    So I understand your grief and feeling all disconnected and lost. At Thanksgiving you will have family all around you to take comfort in. Share funny stories. Give and receive lots of hugs (I know you don’t like to hug, but let it happen). The love of your mom won’t diminish, but the feeling of loss will over time.

    Much love, Steph.

  136. Three weeks after my dad died, my sister and I attended your Strung Along Retreat. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to go, because I was grief stricken and I thought I might not be able to cope. But my sister and I decided that after such a terrible time we needed a break. We actually managed to have a lovely time with you, Clara, and Kate. I was so grateful! It made me realize I could get through. I came home to more heartache, but I was so glad I went. I couldn’t say anything about it at the time because I was afraid I’d be reduced to a puddle, so I’m saying thanks now. And recommending a short getaway when you are up to it!

  137. I can see that there are lots of long comments. I just scrolled through quickly and will go back and read them later. I assume they are all, or mostly, much wiser that I can be. There are lots of downs and almost-ups when losing a parent. Losing a parent is a HUGE deal. My dad passed almost nine years ago and I still expect him to walk into the room when I visit my mom. Friends said to me when he passed that the passing a parent is a tremendous change – one is never the same. They didn’t say what the change was, but to me, I feel unmoored…. I am transitioning into a stage of elder care for my mother, from a 3 hour distance, and it’s ok so far. But its hard. Expect it to be hard for a while. Unspecified amount of time. It is whatever it takes and it differs from person to person. Rogue upsets will happen. Take a deep breath and remember that it will, eventually become manageable. I don’t want to say better. It becomes manageable. And makes you kinder to your youngsters of all generations when they slip into being slightly annoying. Love your grandson… Enjoy him…

  138. Be easy on yourself, dear Harlot. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be unable to knit that sock heel. The Blog is here, sending many many good supportive thoughts your way. Sending caring a hugs for you.

  139. Ditto everything that has already been said. There’s no timeline for grief and it’s messy and confusing. Big hugs for you from PEI.

  140. The mere fact that you are this far along is good.

    It is 11 years ago today that my beautiful, lovely, funny, talented and loving mother died. Yes, she was in a coma for almost 3 months and fought her way back to talking, and then to eating, but not yet back to walking much more than a few steps but she knew me. She knew that I loved her and … I still do.

    Love and hugs,

  141. You’ve lost someone you enjoyed sharing your life with. And that’s a confounding loss. Grief rarely stays where you last put it. I will keep you in my thoughts and hope for comfort.

  142. love love love love love. that train does come screaming around the corner at times and then sometimes it doesn’t. after a while it wouldn’t rip my throat out, but for a long time it did. i so glad you had an extraordinary relationship with a wonderful woman.

  143. There is a certain kind of alone that doesn’t feel like alone because you know your people are there, even if they aren’t actually there right now. You’ve lost a very, very important part of that group. Feel what you need to feel. Let it come. Let it go. Better than fighting it because that, my dearest, is a fight you cannot win.

    Make a note for Joe about the tax bill. He can help you with it or deal with it himself when he gets back. Leave it somewhere he cannot miss.

    Grief comes on its own time and has its own agenda. There is no shame in feeling. I am convinced that we cannot hurt any deeper than we have loved, and that means that you are in for quite a lot. But know that when you are feeling completely devastated, every bit of pain you feel, that is how deeply you loved, and continue to love, your mother. I bet she both knew that and returned it. She was a lucky woman to be loved so deeply by so many. I’m sorry that you, and the rest of her loved ones, have to live with this pain.

  144. So many hugs, Steph.

    I once read something about losing a parent as an adult that made a lot of sense to me. The original question that an evolutionary psychologist had was how have humans adapted to losing their parents – what mechanisms do we have that allow us to weather that disruption and carry on to pass on our genes. And the insight that has stuck with me was that we never did evolve to weather that loss – that we humans evolved in an environment in which our parents are present and helping us when we pass on our genes (or at least that was the standard/usual/best option for the survival of the next generation). Our mothers and fathers help us raise our children, therefore adapting to survive their loss is not really something that’s been given evolutionary priority in the same way as making good milk or wanting to cuddle has. And the scientist’s conclusion then was that losing a parent at any age can be devastating, largely regardless of how old and capable we are – that we really do always need our parents. The nature of time being what it is, this sets us up inevitably to be faced with a gaping hole of loss. The scientist wasn’t making the point that people can’t recover and go on to be their usual happy, functional, loving, wonderful selves, but that very intense grief after the loss of a parent just makes sense, and that even adults require care and gentleness and patience and a lot of time to weather the storm. And that it feels like intense trauma because it often is.

    It was a long time ago that I came across this idea, and there’s a good chance I’ve horribly garbled some eloquent scientist’s treatise. However, I was young when my mother died, and over the years many people who are grieving their parents have said things like “Oh, but I shouldn’t complain, it must have been so much worse for you and your siblings.” But I just don’t think that’s how it works, as others have said you never outgrow the need for your parents.

  145. One would think that when we become the matriarchs, we would shoulder it gracefully and well. One would think that when we are all grown up, we wouldn’t still need our moms for a chat, for a random question, for a little pat on the back. One would most definitely be wrong. I lost my mom several months ago, and sometimes all I want to do is put my head in her lap and have a good cry. I’m 60, for goodness’ sake.
    But the consolation is, the more it hurts, the more you know that you loved her truly and well. And how fortunate you are for that.

  146. I just caught up on your blog, and I’m so sorry.

    My husband died August 26, after 2 months in the hospital, and I couldn’t knit, either. About the same time I got pain in my thumb, which just adds insult to injury. I also had to wear a gown and gloves in his room, so that made it more difficult, but it was mostly just emotional. I’ve just picked up my needles the other day, and am currently planning a teddy bear sweater for my 1 yr. old granddaughter. I’m hoping that it will be healing.

    Thinking of you…

  147. So sorry you are going through this – but there is no other way. Time is the only thing that heels. Cry whenever you feel like it and then one day, you will start to smile and really feel a memory. You’ll realize you can think of her without crying so often. The thing I miss about my mom is the sound of her voice. I would suggest that for your children and grandchildren you may want to start an audio log of family memories. Just a simple recorder will work. Hope this helps.

  148. My dad is gone and my mother is a shell of her former self. Her Alzheimer’s brain hates me even though we used to talk for hours and hours. Losing both of them inside a year is horrible but Mom is harder. We used to talk a lot and I was the one who made her the candies her mother made. Now she doesn’t remember them.

    The only thing I know to do is just keep going. It’s. of easy and somehow I always pay her cable bill late. My knitting is often at the level of not being able to complete a heel. I’ve made a lot of hats. Dozens and dozens of hats. And socks, but I don’t do afterthought heels so maybe that works in my favor. Socks are hard because you. Red two that come out mostly the same.

    Nutrition is important. During my fathers extended illness and after his death I gained 30 pounds. Try not to do that but if it happens you can lose it again.

    Most importantly no one can tell you how to feel. The way you feel is exactly right. Exactly right. Live in it, find help to pay the bills and wrap yourself in something comforting and know that so many people around the world love you and understand a little bit of your hurt. If we could crowdsource it out we totally would.

  149. Give yourself time, Steph. The housework will still be there. The hose doesn’t matter (soon there will be snow on the ground), and neither do the dust bunnies, nor the fact the tax bill is late. It’s hard, and I still wish I could call my mom, after 8 years. Finish the sock, or start something else on the needles. You need to be kind to yourself. You are strong, but you can’t bottle the grief when it hits you. It will happen again, but it does get easier. Sending you virtual hugs.

  150. I am so sorry about your mother’s death. It is awful, it is painful, and eventually it will get better. But it takes time and grieving, and things will never be exactly the same. I don’t know if it helps to hear this, but when my mother died 42 years ago(young, too young, she was only 53), and my father died three years ago at 94, it helped to be reminded by others that i woukd come out the other side of this.
    The pain is so real. Knit when you can, make lists when you can’t.

  151. Hugs, hugs, all the hugs in the world.

    I felt something similar when I lost my maternal grandmother (who I was extremely close to, despite our nearly 60-year age difference) to cancer 13 years ago. I was putting away a lot of my sadness for the first month or two after her death, and then one morning, while I was hanging out with my friends waiting for the morning bell to ring at school, the grief train hit me like a ton of bricks and I started sobbing. Her daughter (my mother) still cries for her occasionally all these years later. You’re not alone. We all experience grief in our own ways. The fact that you’re writing about it is powerful in and of itself.

    My condolences to you and your family.

  152. Hugs and more hugs. I’m dealing with grief of my own and I go along ok for a while and then it overwhelms me.

    There’s a stupid song from a Christmas cartoon that used to come on every year. I don’t remember the name of it, but in it a young Santa sings “Put one foot in front of the other. And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor.”
    Hang in there. Trust it will get less bad. Hang on to those who love you, and let them hang on to you. “Shared happiness is doubled, shared grief– halved.” — Spider Robinson.

  153. Oh Steph, I hadn’t reached out at this point, knowing you’re swamped with life, and grief and everything in between. I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you- my mom has been gone over 20 years, and to this day, an innocent song on the radio can send me into an unexpected crying jag. Holding you in love and light, please be gentle on yourself. -Pia

  154. My mom died in 1999. In 2007, my husband and I went to China to adopt a baby girl-it did not work out. I was 41, and all I could do was sit on the floor of the civil office in Fuzhou crying and asking for my mom. You never stop needing your mom, no matter your age. I am sending you love and gentle hugs-I know this sucks.

  155. I agree with everyone else here saying, “Take it easy,” and “Go easy on yourself.” I know it’s hard, but, really, grief takes time! And this is such a very big grief…

    Sending you so much love!

  156. Deep and hard grief pops up without warning. The first year is like having manic depression – one moment a person is accepting of the new reality and moving forward and the next moment awash is a colossal and uncontrollable sadness. Let the love that is around you hold you close as you live through the year.

  157. Steph,
    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, you are in your 40s and you miss you mom. That is not strange. Why should it be? The parent/child relationship never ends. NEVER! You will always want and need your parents. It has always been that way and always will be. That is why God says, in his 10 Commandments to honor they father and mother. Your children must honor you as you did your parents. Grief honors the fact that you loved them. Grief is what a toddler feels when that person they know as their mommy is not in the room and they cry. You are doing the same thing. You feel the loss, as you should. Don’t shut that down. Feelings are real and they need expression.
    When my mother died, I was 3,000 miles away from her. I live in Connecticut USA and she was in Anchorage Alaska. My stepdad told me she had died and I was not there to say goodbye. You were there for the goodbye and that is TRULY a blessing! I had to grieve alone. No sisters, brother,…no one from the family at all. Totally alone. Be patient with the child within. Let her cry. She misses her mommy….

  158. It’s okay, Stephanie. My mom has been gone for 9 years, 4 months and 26 days…I still wake and think, I need to call mom, then I remember. The grief train misses me most days, but I know it’s there.

  159. My mother is still living, but I lost a child 6 years ago. I will say that it does not get better–how could it, why should it?–but it does get easier: one toughens up, gets stronger, like climbing mountains or riding your bicycle for miles and miles. It’s not that the freight train turns into a tractor-trailer, and then a delivery van, then a pickup, then a sedan, then a motorcycle, but that you turn from a mouse to a cat to a coyote to a tiger to an elephant. The grief gets no smaller, but your ability to withstand gets larger until it can no longer knock you screaming to the ground but only rattle your bones a bit or fray your temper.

    Persevere. Give yourself permission to be irrational. Let people take care of you. Remember her. Love her. Mourn her. And when you are an elephant you will stare the freight train in the eye and it will back down.

  160. I just checked back in with the blog today and learned of your loss for the first time. I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. HUGS HUGS HUGS. I don’t know that I have any wisdom to share regarding grief, only that it’s complicated, and that every person experiences it differently. Please know I am sending you love from my own corner of the internet.

  161. Things are going to happen like that for a while. That train that hit you? It’s not on a linear track. It will loop back and get you when you least expect it. The only good thing about it is the loops get bigger so more time passes between stops, and the train smaller and smaller, until eventually it will be like a Tonka toy ran over your big toe.

    Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up for feeling something completely normal. It is okay to miss your mom, no matter what age you are.

  162. I’m sending strong hugs right now. Your post really hit me! My heart aches for you and your loss. Just know you are loved and prayed for!

  163. When my dad died (about 18 months now) we called it the waves of grief. Sometimes they just rock you, but you’re grounded. Sometimes they swell higher lifting you off your feet, and you stumble a bit until you’re steady again. And then sometimes… it’s that big roller that catches you hard, rolls you under, and holds you down until you just don’t know if you’ll ever come up again. But you do. Catch your breath, find a state of coping… and wait until the next wave.
    I’m so sorry… it just is that hard.
    You can be angry that you feel this way, angry that this stupid, inconvenient, out of your control, grief exists, but please… don’t be mad at yourself. Don’t be embarrassed. It’s okay to fall apart. Really, really, really. And everyone will understand.

  164. Hang in there! If the heel needs to happen, needs to be that bastion of normalcy, make it happen! If crying, or taking a nap, or anything else takes on greater importance, that’s ok too!

  165. Condolences to you and your family, Stephanie.

    You are bang on in describing it: “and then some rogue grief train came out of the darkness with its goddamn lights blazing and I couldn’t get off the tracks fast enough and it hit me”. Well done you, for being able to put words to it.

    Our little nuclear family lived with my mother-in-law for the last 3 years of her life, and I was her primary caregiver. She passed, like your mother, within a short period of a bad diagnosis, almost 23 years ago now. I still think of her almost every day, usually when watching the news – she was an intelligent woman of strong opinions – and miss her. I grieve that she didn’t see the adults my children turned out to be, and the grandkids my step-children would have loved to share with her.

  166. I hate to say this – but it will take time. It took me almost a year not think I had to go to the nursing home; before that, when she got sick, I too picked up the phone for my morning call to see how things were. It’s almost 4 years later, and at times I still catch myself.

    and a friendly loving warning — holidays are hard. My mother used to say that was when she missed people – and now I do as well.

    Life. But there are loving memories and recipes … I find myself becoming my mother. I make all her recipes at the holidays.

  167. when i lost my dad it was always the unexpected that got to me. You will always miss her but you get eventually get used to your parent not being there. I just try to remember how lucky i was to have him. Your mum sounds wonderful and you will always have the great memories she has left you and your family. Sending you a big hug x

  168. ugh, grief, you sneaky, palpable, life of your own bastard.

    i’d like to think that when we share our grief, all those who care for the grief stricken (and it does feel like being struck), take a piece of the pain with them, to lessen the burden of those who have the loss.

    great in theory….. i wish i could know if it works.

    i do know this, even though you know us collectively as “the blog” we all *know* you individually, because of all you’ve shared with us, and i know that we are all hoping we can take some of this pain from you, even if it’s just a sliver.

    i’m sure i’m not alone in giving you mental hugs, and i hope, that through all the pain, you can also feel the love from all of us out in cyber space. thank you for sharing such awesome stories about your Mum. she must have been one hellofa woman.

  169. Oh my darling Stephanie, grief is a bastard who rears his ugly head when least expected and not wanted. They told me when that happens there is no way around, under, or over. Rage or do what fells right. Scream, cry wail, mutter aloud while walking like a crazy person. To get to the other side, one sometimes must go through. I have hated that, but it seems true.

    I am so sorry. I remember picking up the phone to call my father. My heart hurt so.

    Peace to you.

  170. The worst thing about that grief train,sweetie, is that it shows up out of the blue even years later, although it won’t knock you to the ground as it does now. What I find alarming is the forgetting that my mom isn’t there to corroborate a story or fill in a hazy memory. Just last week something made me question something so I thought to run it by my dad ( passed away) then my mom(also gone) then their neighbors, except their house was razed and neighbors moved away. It is both unsettling and freeing to have nothing but memories left.
    Be gentle with yourself. Bear in mind you also lost your cat recently; it is difficult to cope with two deaths in one year.

  171. There is no time limit on grief, though it would be nice to know we’d get over it in ‘x’ amount of time. I still close my eyes and remember the sound of my grandmother’s voice on the phone (she passed in 98), my father’s laugh, and I look at photographs and think it’s ok to talk to them even though they’re not here. (Damn, I’m crying again). Mom’s 84 and slipping away. I cannot tell you which is worse fast and unexpected or slow and lonely….I don’t think we get over our mom’s passing…ever.

  172. Grief is so personal and each one of us goes through stages at different times. Sometimes a heel is just too damn hard. Know that us Knitters of the blog are here, with hugs, shoulders to lean on and prayers that tomorrow will be a better day.

  173. You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. This is not you not being able to cope without your mother, but you accommodating loss and dealing with losing someone you love. You will have good days, and ok days, and some bad days too. They will sneak up on you. But as time goes on they will be fewer and further in between, and you’ll be able to recognize when it’s coming and what it feels like so that you can prepare and take care of yourself through the pain differently.

    You are a strong, loving, courageous mother, wife, daughter, and inspiration to many.

    Be kind to yourself.

  174. I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t often comment because it just doesn’t feel like I have anything unique to say, and I don’t have anything unique to say now, but I feel like a critical mass of people explicitly caring would be a good thing right now.

    I recently reached the age my mom was when her mom died, and since then, I have had periodic bouts of absolute crippling terror at the thought of losing my mom. I know this is a very likely thing to happen at some point, but moms loom so large in life that it’s hard to fit all that personhood in our minds. I am so sorry you’re needing to wrap your head around this. It’s not fair and there are no right ways to go about it all, but that also means you need what makes sense to you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Holding you and your family in the light!

  175. Being blindsided by the grief is so, so hard.
    My Dad has been gone for 5 years and I still occasionally find myself reaching for the phone to tell him something.
    I’m so sorry. And so sorry that there is nothing else I can do. Hang in there–one step and one moment at a time.

  176. No sage advice, just my deepest sympathies for you, the loss of your mother, and the trampling grief you are experiencing. I am so sorry. Lastly, thank you for sharing just a bit of your life so we can all know that we are not alone. Hugs and blessings from Texas.

  177. I wish I had good words of comfort, but nothing will come close to comfort in this time of immense sadness and loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. May your memories of your mom be a light that shines in your darkest moments of grief.

  178. You got a lot done today! You grieved, you felt emotions, you survived that speeding train of grief. There will be hundreds of little things that will remind you of your mum, and each one will be that train hurtling towards you, and you will survive each one just like this one. Some other stuff may fall by the wayside, but learning how to survive a giant speeding train of emotion is kind of more important than bills, bedroom closets, and hoses.

  179. I’m glad The Blog is a place you feel you can purge some of the ugly stuff, when you just need to type it and push it out into the world and hope that maybe it goes away a bit. We are always here to help push it away.

  180. This is typical.
    Let me repeat that so that you hear it properly.
    You truly loved her. Just imagine how awful it would be if you were indifferent.
    Pretend you are treating yourself as you would a friend. Be kind & gentle to yourself as you forge this new path.

  181. I don’t comment often but I can sure identify with where you are. It’s been 5 years since I lost my Mom and I still reach for the phone to call her. And it used to do to me just what is happening to you. It’s OK, you are allowed. Now when I reach to call her or open her cookbook to a favorite recipe I work hard at remembering a happy memory, or thinking about how she loved life and me and I feel better. I honestly don’t think we are meant to EVER get over it, we simply learn to live with it and the ache does turn into simple love again and again.

  182. I said before my dad died, he was super sick with cancer that I can’t imagine a world without him. I am 11 months into this world. It’s not as great a place without him, but eventually these trains hit less frequently but they still hit as hard each time. I wanted to talk to him the other day about the 1986 snowblower he gave me. I still want to talk to him about that snowblower today.

  183. I’m so very sorry that you were completely run over by the grief train. It happens. It will happen for a long time to come, unfortunately. I guess the only thing to do is to let grief do its work even though it’s not fun.
    If I were anywhere near Canada, I would have showed up at your house to distract you for a few hours so you could catch your breath. I realize how silly that would be, an internet stranger showing up. But you have to admit, you would be distracted at the least. I hope you have caught your breath a bit by the time this message reaches you.

  184. Haven’t read others’ responses, so maybe I’m repeating. Grief is totally not linear. If you could graph it, it would be a nasty zig-zaggy line. Be kind to yourself and put one foot in front of the other. You can do it, and we’re all sending love from a million directions.

  185. Steph, you describe grief so beautifully. It will help others, and that’s got to help you a little bit, though probably not for awhile. This is a hard road, and even though the first part probably felt the hardest, this part can be worse, because it’s weirder and longer.
    The Jewish timetable for mourning helped me get ahold of this a little bit (I may have posted this before, but I looked for it and I couldn’t find it, so I can’t resist trying again.) For the first seven days after you lose a parent, you “sit shiva”–you just sit in your house and people bring you food and talk to you about the deceased–you aren’t even supposed to get up to greet them. Then, at the end of seven days, you “get up.” You uncover the mirrors and get on with life. But for the next eleven months you are supposed to get yourself to a daily prayer service and say a prayer remembering the person and naming them out loud to the group. This is a hard routine, but it’s incredibly helpful–like making a schedule for the “grief train.” When you know you’ll be able to mourn and weep and remember with others (many of whom are doing the same) at least once every day, it somehow eases the rest of the 24 hours. Then after 11 months, you have to stop doing that, too. (It can be quite difficult.) After that you only say the special prayer once a year, on the anniversary of the death, and on certain holidays. I’ll be in synagogue tomorrow (Yom Kippur) and I’ll get a chance to mourn my parents.
    Obviously I’m not suggesting you take up the rituals of another religion, but I think there is a certain folk wisdom in setting aside time every day to grieve, and knowing that you should, and must. It won’t pass, but it will change. Lots of hugs coming your way!

    • “This is a hard routine, but it’s incredibly helpful–like making a schedule for the grief train.”

      This is really interesting. Thanks for mentioning it.

  186. I know it sounds like a cliche but do remember all those wonderful years you had with her, keep that in your heart. My mom passed away when I just 23 years old, I wish I had had more time with her, to hear her story. We don’t really get to know our mothers until we are adults ourselves.

  187. I wouldn’t say that you accomplished nothing. You bought toilet paper. I’m serious. The knitting and all of the stuff on the list will get done eventually.

  188. So many have already said it so well, but I’ll just add that you need to let yourself feel all of it and grieve in whatever way you need. My older brother passed away very suddenly when I was 16 and he was two weeks shy of his 21st birthday. Because I was so young and my parents were so utterly devastated with their own grief, I tried to force the grief away and “got on with it.” That took its toll on me years later and I had to work through some ugly stuff. So, don’t talk yourself into just moving on because you somehow feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. You had a wonderful mother and you were very close, so it is going to be hard for a long time. Yes, it gets easier, but even now —39 years later – I occasionally have a mini-wave of grief and a burst of tears, especially when things come along such as a few weeks ago when it would’ve been his 60 birthday!
    My only other words of advice are these: spend time talking about your mom and all the memories, her hopes, dreams, joys, whatever with your family. Too often people don’t talk about the one they are missing because it’s painful, but in the long run it is better to talk and cry together because it keeps that person’s memory present for everyone.
    Give yourself time and be gentle with yourself. Don’t worry about the darn heel; you’ll finish it when you’re ready. Until then, knit something else lovely for your precious grandson. Love and hugs to you, Steph!

    • Dear Kay, me too. Duncan died in 1977, age 19, in a motorcycle crash. He was 1.5 years older than me. Our love-hate relationship might have become a good one in a few years, but I was left with bitterness, and anger at the universe. Many years later, I learned a little sympathy and understanding for him. The grief is always.

  189. I was so amazed to find that I could both grieve-wail-sream-cry and pound the steering wheel AND drive safely at the same time. Maybe because no-one else was on the road. The night my Mom died.

  190. Oh Steph. I wish I could be there at Knit City to give you a hug… I did so enjoy taking a class with you last year and having breakfast one of our mornings at the hotel.
    However, my grandmother passed away 2 weeks ago and this weekend is her funeral. So I am going north…to hug my beautiful momma, who is feeling all of that bewildered heartbreak you are feeling, and to hope that I can help her though this time as we say goodbye to my incredible grandmother.
    I am sending you love and hugs…and thinking about how wonderful our families are ❤

  191. Three months yesterday since my husband died unexpectedly (do we really ever expect death?) My heart goes out to you. The scalding hot tears flow when they chose, the blinding pain hits whenever, not just when it’s convenient. I’m told that grief is a process, but I’m not sure I believe that. I find myself staring off in to the woods where he died, cutting down a tree. I scream & cry, pound walls with clenched fists. The knitting helps, the rhythm, the click of the needles, the soft pull of the yarn. Never again will I save the good yarn/dishes/clothes for later. We aren’t promised later & later may never come. I apologize for having no words of wisdom, just know that you are loved & there are people who care.

  192. I don’t comment very often, but I read your every post and have been thinking about you and sending you love and warm thoughts. As always I appreciate your openness and honesty in sharing your life with us through your wonderful words….

  193. There’s nothing I can say that will make it better. Go and find a baby to hold, take some joy in the new life and get through today as best as you can. Tomorrow is a whole new challenge. Thanksgiving will roll around in another year, have a pizza evening and skip the pies and turnips.

    My recovery knitting has always been garter stitch on big needles, I need the mindless familiar activity but can’t cope with the challenge of counting.

  194. Oh Steph. I can only say to you that we are with you. I have heard it said that grief is the price of love, and I do think tnis is true. My thoughts are with you. And you will get that heel done

  195. Just adding my message of love and support to all the others. Thankfully I have had not had to deal with this yet. And I cannot imagine it. So all I can say is that there are many people out here caring for you from a distance.

  196. All I can offer is a hug. A huge enveloping hug from all of us (your Harlotonians) to you. You’re never too old to need your mom. Thank you for being brave enough to share your despair so that we can at least offer the comfort of unconditional listening and support.

  197. This blog is remarkable.
    Your posts, every comment.
    Open, honest, heartfelt, compassionate, comforting.
    A balm.

  198. I’ve read your blog for years and so enjoyed the knitting and family time you have shared. Losing you mom is amazingly tough. I lost mine when she was 83 but for a long, long time I picked up the phone to call her – or thought “Mother would like to know about that”. It’s a natural thing and the only way through it is to walk the journey and acknowledge the challenges and hurts – and not try to ignore them. You are strong and will get through it – but especially this first year there will be lots of “firsts” that have to be faced. Lean on your family and friends and your knitting. Your mom gifted you with much warmth and strength – I’m sure that lots of who you are is because of who she was – so she will always live in you and the traditions and stories you have!

  199. Oh, Stephanie. This is the first time I’ve ever gone to your blog, and…this. I am sobbing for you and wailing for the loss of my own mother, which I totally thought I had made my peace with.

    I started a list after my mother passed titled “look out the window at the rain” because that was the first thing written. It was all the things I wanted to tell my mom and I would get upset that I couldn’t. I found writing it down to be strangely comforting. The need slowly tapered off over time. (My mother was quite deaf at the end and would not have realized how hard it was pouring if I hadn’t called and told her to look out the window ….) Much love. It gets better.

  200. This is normal. It happens. Cut yourself some slack. Grief takes a very long time. You’ll find all sorts of ways to miss your mum. It stinks and it’s not fun, but that’s grief. Roll with it as best you can. It will get better slowly.

  201. I am suffering grief at the moment because my elderly Mum has dementia and i am loosing her slowly. Sharing your stories has been a comfort to me. Sending you all (Stephanie and the blogosphere) lots and lots of hugs back. Peace to all of us.

  202. As Queen Elizabeth said on the death of Princess Diana, Grief is the price we pay for love. No getting around or over it; just have to trudge through. Thinking about you as you trudge along.

  203. Stephanie, your mother’s death has revived memories of my mothers’ (adopted and birth) deaths. My adoptive mom died 29 years ago, and I was so busy being supportive of my dad and brother and all the other people around her, I never properly grieved myself. Twenty-nine years later, that hurts as much or more as her death did. I have trouble remembering what she was like as a living person. I hate that. She was so wonderful and loving.

    I know you kind of need to focus on you right now, but if it is any comfort – I am taking a knitting class. I’ve crocheted for years, but now I am learning to knit, at least in part because of how interesting you make it sound. It’s just much harder to learn at 59 than it would have been at 12!

  204. This month will mark 20 years since my mom passed. As others have written, that feeling of grief lessens but never quite goes completely away. I went through everything you have written about and remember those feelings as though it were yesterday. It does get better and it will heal, but it needs time. Do what you would tell others to do: be gentle with yourself. Sending hugs.

  205. Yeah, grief is an ambush mugger — after a while it starts sneaking up on you, knocks you over and steals your sanity, then just takes off unpredictably. It arrives less and less frequently over time, but never stops pouncing on you without warning entirely. 🙁

    Just please never lose sight of the fact that you are about the ten billionth person to have to live a life while being stalked by this and randomly pounced on, and thus it can be managed. It’s what I think of when I need to. Grief and loss are a few of the things that we all have in common as a species. Oddly, they are very unifying.

  206. When someone you love deeply dies, they leave a hole in your heart that I don’t think ever heals. You do eventually learn how to walk around the hole, and build bridges over it. When grief is raw, you’re still learning where the edges are, and you’re much more liable to fall in. My deepest sympathy for your loss.

  207. It takes the time it takes.

    When you think you might be ready, I recommend the movie Collateral Beauty with Will Smith, Ed Norton, Cate Winslet, Helen Mirren, etc. Death, Time and Love have some interesting things to say.

    One of which is, don’t forget to see the collateral beauty.

    Many blessings on your healing.

  208. Yea..the waves…I remember them very well. I know it does not help now, but those waves do get further apart and feeling of being hit by a train of emotions will lighten. Just allow yourself to go though it…don’t try to fight it.

  209. yeah. The hardest thing ever is to lose your mother. You didn’t get your Mom long enough, and it sucks. The thing that got me the most after my Mom died was that I could never seem to predict when some seemingly innocuous scene would make me just fall apart with grief. Somehow it seemed that if I could just see it coming I could handle it better. Anyway, what everyone says is true – time is the great healer. Not sure that helps you right now; you just have to live through it. I wish I’d known your Mom, I bet I would have liked her.

  210. Wow. Just wow. I want to say I am sorry for your loss, and I am, genuinely, because you have so powerfully made me feel sorry for your loss. It probably isn’t much comfort, but I just want you to know you are a stupendous writer (and I am a writer too, so this is a rare compliment because we’re generally a parsimonious bunch when it comes to handing out compliments for other people’s writing). But, fuck me, you write so beautifully. This post is so raw, and amazing. I don’t know anything about you, but if you’re not published already and want to be, do it now. You have incredible talent.

  211. I have never even seen a blog before yesterday, but my daughter-in-law sent me your link and I simply could not stay out of this conversation. My precious Mom passed away on August 8, 2017. As with you, everyone has been so kind and loving, but I want my Mom. Your “one heel” (heal?) story touched me at a yet un-plumbed level. When my Mom’s health became so precarious and I knew her time was short, I started a knitting project that I called my “worry bag.” I was spending a great deal of time at her bedside, running back and forth to the hospital and spending the nights there. This simple project helped soothe me. I used scrap yarn of every color in the rainbow. Sometimes there would be up to three different colors on my needles at a time. This bag is now almost as large as a sleeping bag, and yet, I can’t stop knitting. If I do, then she’s really gone.

    We do what we must to survive the loss of our precious people. Your freight train metaphor is so insightful. When the grief hits you, it does not pull punches or slow down. You get the full force, whether you can deal with it or not. You are doing what I am doing – taking small steps and trying to function, simply. I cannot take Mom’s phone number off my speed dial or erase voice mail messages – yet. Mom’s are special beings. Mine kept me grounded and now I feel as though my tether has been cut and I am lost in space.

    I am so sorry for your loss, as I know you are for mine. I appreciated the act of sharing your pain with the universe of the internet and I believe we’ll both get through this, but it won’t be tomorrow. This is hard.

    Grief is a sneaky thing, no matter your age. I am in my 60’s and one would think that at my age I could cope with this better, faster, more gracefully. But it doesn’t work that way. Mom has always been there for me and now she’s not and it’s a difficult concept to wrap my head around. I don’t know when I’ll stop working on my “worry bag.” I do know this, it will never be large enough to hold all the grief and memories and love. KEEP KNITTING. Turn that heel. It will help you heal.

  212. My mom has been gone for 24 years, and I am crying with you. I miss her like it was yesterday. It doesn’t get easier but it does get better. Bless you, Stephanie.

  213. In reality you did a lot! You felt your grief — it can be a full time job especially at first. But it will always be at least a part time job coming up when you least expect it.
    Many hugs to you — be kind to yourself.

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