Well that’s just unfair

Yesterday I finally shook my head clear of the fog it’s been in, and decided that it was time to get myself in gear.  I went to the grocery store. I planned a good dinner. I cooked that dinner, and I fed it to people I love.  I managed to say something vaguely supportive to a friend, and when the lady in the queue ahead of me in the shop was annoyed about how many bruises were on the apples she’d chosen, I somehow magnificently managed not to say anything that even remotely suggested that her problems were totally ridiculous to me (and should be to her) unless they involved a dead mother.

I even sat down to work for a little bit – to start getting caught up on the chaos that is my work life.  That’s right, my mum’s been dead two weeks, almost to the hour, and I just yesterday managed to acknowledge that I have to earn a living, and contribute meaningfully to the charity I’ve promised my time to, and I did that.  I sat down, thought something like “C’mon Steph, get it together” and moments later, my laptop had a complete seizure and suffered a fatal stroke. I’ve had that beast since 2011, I planned the first Sock Summit on it, that’s how old it is, and now is when it leaves me.  It’s a joke, I tell you. I can only assume that it was depressed by the goings-on around here and decided there was nothing left to hang on for.  (It was wrong. I swear I was pulling my scene together.)  I took it as a sign, a sign that I was supposed to be knitting, and set about making our wee Elliot a hat. (This is Canada. Winter is coming. Winter is always coming.) I’d had my eye on this Garter Ear Flap hat from Purl Soho for ages, and I had some MadelineTosh DK (so aptly called “Happiness”, which is just what I’m looking for) and a little math and whammo – that pattern works just fine.

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It’s sweet as pie, actually, and Meg put it on him after dinner (that’s a lie. I rammed it on his wee head so fast it made his head spin around) and we both agreed it made him look properly like a gnome, and cackled about that for some time.  (There is a very, very great deal to be said about how much a tiny person can lift spirits.)

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Suits him, doesn’t it? He’s so happy and unaffected by all that’s going on around him, and making him little things is such a balm for my heart, and Meg’s too, I think. He’s been nothing but light and sunshine over the last little bit, and for a minute or two I didn’t even mind so much that my mother and my laptop were dead while he smiled at me.

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Today was all about starting him another sweater, because I see now that he’s the secret to sanity over the next bit – and somehow trying to whip my iPad into shape to do at least part of the job of my laptop for a few days before I can figure out how to replace it.  If this entry looks weird, it’s because I’ve worked out a really odd system for getting a post up. I suspect it will be the pictures that are really strange, but screw it. Look at me! I got something done two days in a row.

I honestly never thought I’d be proud of that. See you tomorrow, if nothing else dies.

219 thoughts on “Well that’s just unfair

  1. When under stress or pressure I blow up light bulbs, like three or four a week. When I’m really upset I blow up computers and this has happened more than once too. The brain is an electrical system and some peoples transmit better than others.

    I wish I didn’t. Over time it gets expensive.

    • I’ve never blown things up (that I know of at least), however – I cannot wear a watch. I burn out the batteries in days. I put batteries in, * wear the watch for 3 or 4 days, replace the batteries. Repeat from * until your money runs out or your patience wears out.

      Gave up wearing them 30 + years ago.

      I’ve gotten rather good at telling time without one, you learn to “feel” the passage of time.
      Chris S in Canada

      • Chris, I thought I was the only one who did this! I even killed a high-quality self-winding mechanical watch somehow – and I can’t count how many quartz watches have stopped after only a couple of days. Still can’t tell time, but I long ago got over my reluctance at approaching complete strangers to ask them.

    • Glass explodes at my house when I am wrapped too tight. My hubby is one of those people who cannot wear a watch without it dying. I stopped wearing one years ago because when I touch him it dies. My mother has a thing with electric kettles. All she has to do is touch them, and they never work again. I was skeptical on this one until I saw her simply move mine from one side of the counter to the other. It never worked again. Humans are odd electrical beings

    • This. I do it too. When I worked as a cashier the register would “mysteriously” stop working every time I got stressed. Fun times (not).

  2. Oh my goodness, he is absolutely ADORABLE!! Sending love, Stephanie, and hopes that things will continue to look up for you. You’re right: babies are the secret to sanity when you most need it.

  3. That is one beautiful baby. What a gift to all of your family. And especially now.
    Keep knitting for that little pumpkin and keep allowing your heart to heal.

  4. Baby steps and yes, pun intended. He is just so adorable I do not know how you do not spend all your time just gazing at that sweet face. I am convinced that babies have all the knowledge in the world, they just cannot express it and by the time they can express it they have forgotten it. 31 years next week my mom has been gone…I still want to pick up the phone and call her.

  5. Congrats, Stephanie. One day at a time. This is a hard time. Don’t overdo it, you have so many people out there rooting for you. Enjoy that baby, enjoy that wool, …you will start to enjoy life again soon, too!

    Hugs!

  6. I know from experience that there will be times when it feels like everything is getting better. And then times when it all feels awful again. Not even at the obvious times like birthdays and holidays. For me it was every night after work, when I used to call my mom when I commuted home. Now it’s every time I get a foster baby and I just needs some mom advice. It’s been over 5 years.

    But overall it does improve. Not back to normal. Just shy of that, I think. That’s the best I can ask for if I can’t have my mom back.

  7. That’s a brave post, Stephanie. Babies certainly do help lift our spirits, and give us a purpose for something, anything. Blessings to you all.

  8. Omigosh, look at him, that wee babe. He is the reason to carry on, that makes it possible to carry on. There he is, smiling up at you, knowing that you’ll be telling him stories about his great-grandmom. He knows that he can count on those stories. From you. Because you care so deeply for them both. Blessed be, Steph, blessed be.

  9. That sweet, sweet face! Look at that smile! I’m so glad you get to see him and hold him and be with him and that he’s nearby. And I know how I felt when my daughter sent me pictures a few days ago of her four-month-old in a Grammy hat. Which is why two more went into the mail yesterday.

    Much love to you as you plow through these early stages of new loss and new love.

  10. One breath at a time.
    One step at a time.
    That’s how we get through things.

    Blessings to you and yours Steph, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. That’s an adorable hat on an even cuter baby. I went on a spree of knitting that garter flap hat last fall, I think I ended up with 4. Everyone I knew was having a baby boy and I was happy to provide them with cute hats.

  12. If that is an example of a picture turning out strange, you need to keep using your iPad! I literally caught my breath at how adorable he looks in his gnome persona.

  13. ETA: And yes, it is true that our stress somehow gets communicated to our electronics! My daughter has destroyed computer systems by being stressed. No joke.

  14. Baby knitting! That’s the ticket. The best balm for an aching heart is the unbridled joy of new life. Plop that baby in a bath and blow raspberries on his belly. Knit him brightly colored sweaters and a goofy softy- a baby manatee perhaps? Nothing like deep baby chuckles to celebrate the wonder of now.

  15. That is the best wee bairn and the cutest smile ever! If you can get that reaction from him, you are definitely doing things right. Breathe and put one foot in front of the other. That’s what I did and soon you will forget to remind yourself to do either one. It’s a long hard road, but you have Elliot to help you along. What an absolute sweetie!!

    • Ditto re above, and well said!
      You WILL get through this…even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
      Thank you for sharing smooshy-faced baby – he is adorable!

  16. Oh Steph,
    Be kind to yourself; take your time; we’re all right here and we’ll keep being here. Loss is hard and it takes time to get used to it. We’re not going anywhere. Hugs.

  17. When my grandfather died, a total stranger told my grandmother (who was out with my 4 year old cousin, that it hurt terribly to lose a loved one, he knew, but “in this world a life has to end so a tiny one can begin.” She took huge comfort in that. I hope you do. After that grandmother died, I birthed my son. It was a full circle. I hope it helps some to see the circle and even though the days hugely suck it will be not as bad.

  18. That wee gnome is amazing! So cute.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my mom very quickly, as did you. For WEEKS after I didn’t even want to talk to anyone who didn’t know my mom — better yet if they were good friends with her. Others have said, but it bears repeating: two weeks is a blip. Take it easy on yourself.
    The nicest thing anyone said to me (and it was a stranger) was along the lines of “The depth of your sorrow is proof of the depth of your love.” I held fast to that in the worst moments.

  19. If it’s any consolation, under similar circumstances my brother in law ran over his laptop, and my sister drove into her house. ((Not hard, but still). At least your laptop died of its own free will. These are hard times. Hug that baby. We are all thinking of you.

  20. Please be kind to yourself. It’s really hard to lose a parent, and I think even harder to lose one the way you did, suddenly, with no warning and nothing to prepare you for this outcome.

    We knew my parents were dying…they had debilitating diseases, and it was a good thing they went when they did, but still…I always expected to see my Dad when I went to visit after that, and I still go to call my Mum once in a while, even though she’s been gone since 2009. You never get over it; you just get through it.
    Hugs to you and your family.

  21. That little boy could soothe anything, he is the most adorable little thing! Take it slow, as much as you can, and by God, ram more hats on that sweet little head!

  22. Aw, Steph, it’s just two weeks, be kind to yourself. The heart and soul need time to grieve. Thank heavens for that baby because he is beyond precious and he will definitely aid in the process that is grieving.

    Hugs from me!
    Michele

  23. Oh Stephanie! What a delight he is! I am so sorry for the loss of your dear sweet mum. I don’t often comment but read all. I’ve often felt our lives mimic each other in many ways. Same age, same number of children (all girls here too), Prince fan, knitting enthusiast – among other things. I haven’t been online much this past month because my mum fell and broke her hip (other health issues too – and I’m terrified) So, I logged on yesterday for the first time in over a month to see what you’ve been up to – and I cried when I read what you’ve been up to. I hope you know how much you’ve touched the lives of so many people who read your blog and books. We are all the better for it. I strive to be more like you – a better knitter for sure but also a better person, more charitable, and a better daughter. Thank you for setting a good example.

  24. Babies are the best balm for a broken heart, and that baby is the cutest. He looks excited to be modelling the hat!! Focus on that the rest will follow at its own pace.

  25. This is a very long and tedious process – this grieving thing we humans do. We think we are better, but then something sets us off. Even the normal, everyday, mundane tasks become overwhelming. I am a quilter, and it took me months to able to even think of piecing after my dad passed. Even today, I think of him when I sit at my machine. He loved me so, and I feel that love when I am surrounded by beautiful things. My fabric, quilts, even the many colored threads remind me of his bright blue eyes and the love that shone in those eyes for me, his only daughter. I miss him fiercely, as you will miss your mother all the days of your life. But she lives in you, your children and your grandchildren. She will always be with you, in you and surrounding you. Sp, prayers for your heart, dear one, and remember the love your mother had for you. Now, get back to the knitting to keep your sanity! Love you!

  26. Computers are like full-grown cats. They’ll be purring right along, and then they’ll suddenly get all ornery and bite you.

    But you’re right: babies (and toddlers, dogs, and kittens) help with grief. They’ll smile, or giggle, or do something silly, and you can’t help but grin. Elliot, his friend Penny, and your new nephew may be just what you need right now. Just remember to take things at your own pace. You’ll get there.

  27. Yup, babies and (dare I say it in the same sentence?) pets, will pull a person out of the deepest pits, if you let them.
    Maybe ask Meg if you can borrow Elliot for awhile?

  28. As a member of the club that neither you nor I wish to be a member of, I completely identify with everything you have said. It sucks. I remember wanting to say something in a grocery store line too. But, in my case, iit was a woman buying cigarettes and my Mom had just died of COPD. She had stopped smoking years before she died, but it was too late. Your grandson is precious and he is certainly handsome in his new hat. The circle of life is real. The Lion King was on to something! These little ones certainly do help us go on. I think about you a lot because I was very close to my Mom and 17 years later, I miss her every day. So I get it. I wish you peace. How lucky we are to have had such wonderful Moms and to have had them for as long as we did. Not long enough, but I’m grateful that I did not lose her as a child and that my children knew her. How I wish she was here to know my grandchildren. She would love them.

  29. He is adorable and how lovely that you can hug and knit for him and feel better for a bit.
    To me, the most baffling thing about grief is that somehow the rest of the world seems to be going on about its normal business. There is no recognition that your world has been shattered, that you are torn in pieces and that it seems that your life will never be okay again.
    And then, somehow, you start to have little bits of normality and moments when you are not consumed by the sadness, and eventually, after what seems like a pretty long time, you start to have more good moments than bad ones. And then more good days than bad days. And then you realize that the healing has begun, but no one can say how long it may take. Be gentle and good to yourself.

  30. Still sending love, Steph. Probably keeping you on that list for all the evers. As we do.
    p.s. your anti-spam thingy is asking me to “click or touch the Computer” Coincidence? I think not.

  31. Take a picture of you, your daughter and your grandson. Life continues and your mum will approve! But it is hard to think of yourself as the matriarch. I still wish my mother were here to help guide me.

  32. Dear Stephanie,
    I haven’t offered my condolences yet. Because I know there is nothing I can say to make it better. My Mom was my best friend and losing her was absolutely devastating to me. So I do understand your heart. I’ll be praying for you and that God will comfort your heart. And may your memories provide you much comfort and warmth. I’m so very sorry for your loss. That little hat and the wee person donning it are adorable 🙂 Much love.

  33. Dear Stephanie,
    It’s so hard to say goodbye, but that it’s so difficult means that you were blessed with a loving Mum who cherished you, something not all can say.
    Your Mum will live on in the stories about her that you tell the next generation, those here now and those yet to be born. She lives on in you, and in all whose lives she touched.

  34. Oh, I understand about the apples! Except instead of apples it was our neighbor who wanted to speak to our landlady about the fence. She was trying to tell us how dangerous it was, and we were on our way to dress my mom for her long sleep and I had no patience for her nonsense. My husband was there to check me, but not before I told her that what she MEANT was not that the fence was dangerous but really that it was old and looked sort of shabby and she really wanted us to replace it because she was trying to rent out the front part of her duplex and the fence was bringing down her curb appeal. She was shocked at my bluntness, but it’s hard to care about politeness at these moments. You know.

  35. I think your laptop just knew you didn’t really need to work quite yet. It sacrificed so you could keep knitting, healing, and holding that baby!

    I am sorry about your loss. (Your mum, not your laptop . . . but I suppose I am sorry for that too, just on a completely different level!)

  36. I could tell you a hundred thousand things about loss, but in truth, it is something we each have to learn in our own time. One step in front of the other, because that is what there is to do and in every case, little people help. They help immeasurably and yours is a particularly fine little person. He is so sweet in that little hat. But yes a sweater. He is growing like a weed.

    • Yep. This is so very true, it belongs on a T-shirt. Elliot is a wonderful distraction, and nothing but good will come from indulging in his awesomeness.

  37. He’s adorable in that hat (well, he’d be adorable without it too, but still). I’ve knit a baby sweater in Happiness before — it’s such a great color, and I’m not sure it’s made anymore. May happiness be like a crown on his sweet little head!

  38. Please be gentle with yourself. You will have moments that seem like your old normal then feel guilty about it. Hold onto whatever comforts you.

    • Yep, 2009. I remember I had just started at my current job and had to explain to everyone here what a Sock Summit was, but mostly WHY!

      • oh, good–that’s what I thought, it was 2009 and 2011–because my mother was still alive when I was lucky enough to go to both. And second everything everyone says about loss, and about the wonderfulness of your grandchild. Thinking of you and holding you in prayer.

  39. Good for you for getting all that done, but maybe go a bit easy on yourself? Just getting up and out is so hard when you’ve been through a big loss, so please be proud of that, let alone beautiful hats and photos and blog posts.

    I’m glad little Elliott is helping. He looks gorgeous in his gnome hat.

  40. Dear Stephanie,
    May I add my condolences to the many already posted here.
    My mother died last summer. Even though she was old, her last illness was sudden and unexpected.
    The acute pain I felt went away relatively soon, but I will always miss her. I see something beautiful or interesting and think, “Oh, I should tell Mama about that when I talk to her….” I expect I’ll do that for the rest of my life. It’s a bit sad, but proof that she is always with me. Your Mum will always be with you, too.
    And the darling baby….! Take a smidgen of comfort from the joy in the sweet new life.
    Bless you.

  41. It is perfectly normal to feel so lost when a loved one dies. Our brains have to reconfigure a world where someone very important is missing. The depth of our love both causes the pain and the lovely memories that sustain us. And your loving self and family is testament to your dear mom’s wonderful influence. We can all work toward also leaving such a legacy.

  42. Maybe your laptop decided that it isn’t yet time to get back to work. Think of this as parental leave, or whatever it is properly called when one gets time to transition to having a different life.

    Usually the different life is the addition of a babe, but it is equally valid to transition to a life without someone.

    Different changes that don’t have chubby cheeks, but…

  43. Are you sure it’s legal for that little boy to be so stinkin’cute? Those eyes and that toothless grin are just heart melting!

    Rest in the arms of the ones who love you…even if they drool a bit.

  44. I have so many things to say to you.
    1) ENORMOUS HUG
    2) Nothing is lost. Your mum is not lost, she just doesn’t have Wifi where she is.
    3) I l’ost’ my best friend from since I was 3 (I’m 51) a few months ago. And yes, I know that doesn’t equate to a mum, and I can’t, and don’t even want to imagine, that scenario.
    4) I knew well in advance that my friend was a limited-time-offer (many many outstanding health issues) and I conscientiously put myself to making as many beautiful memories with her as I could.
    5) When her time was come, there was a brief sense of loss, but then an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the HAVING of her, that I was not in any way really conscious of being deprived of her, and I was the only one that was able to hold it together enough to deliver the eulogy – an honour of which, months later, I am supremely conscious of and grateful for.
    6) I have this sense that you were always in that state of communion with your Mum. You are with all the rest of your family, such love, such giving, such communion.
    7) the Universe is one. Consciousness is one. Being is forever. You can never be deprived of your Mum. Just the wifi is crap where she is. They are rubbish at responding to texts. (though you might occasionally be surprised)
    8) Elliot is SUCH a joy. I’m so grateful thqt Bonnie and Elliot had the gift of good wifi to commune with each other.
    9) I’m so grateful that we had the gift of knowing Bonnie, through the posts she commented on, through the stories that you shared of her, with us. GRATITUDE. She was magnificent. (Is. Nothing is lost.)
    10) Your entire family has this ongoing ability to make beautiful memories. You are in each other’s lives so constantly. There can be no ‘I wish I had’ moments, I’m sure.
    there are probably more things I want to say to you. Mostly, I want to say LOVE.
    also, the last thig I want to click on is the Robot.

  45. Just know the blog is holding your hand through this difficult time. And Elliott’s face is precious, made only more so by the addition of a gnome hat! 😀

  46. I am glad to hear that some light is starting to break through the darkness, and I hope that trend continues. Absolutely focus on that sweet little boy — he is pure happiness. And he looks darling in his new hat.

  47. Babies do that! Love the hat! great smiles, there the best and then the belly laughs……….. mine is 10 months and starting to take over, steps are the interest these days!

  48. So much love Steph,
    We have our own sweet little 8 month ray of sunshine helping us through the loss of both our mums.
    Hugest hugs, Mel x x x
    P.S I read this aloud to hubster and we were both in tears as we so empathise with your pain

  49. Eliliot is truly adorable, and I think you should clad him head to foot in woolly warmth. It is clearly the key to serenity. Commiserations about your laptop. My car died the week I left my husband (I had one week to find a new place and move, keeping my seven year old and myself safe. Let’s just say he, and his buddy the bottle, did not take it well. It was a trying week, and I’m greateful for the help I had, and that in all my life I will never have to live that week again)

  50. I think your laptop sacrificed itself so that Elliott could have that hat before his darling little ears got frizzy.
    As others have said, take it slowly and snuggle that baby (and your babies) as much as you can.

  51. What an adorable baby (and an adorable hat, too)! I’m glad you’re getting to spend good baby snuggling time with him to recharge your batteries. Grief is HARD work, and it’s necessary work. The difficult thing is that our current culture expects us to bounce back immediately. It doesn’t work like that. There are times when I’ve thought longingly of Victorian mourning dress, where the world could see your loss in the color of your clothes and, accordingly, treat you gently.

    • An acquaintance who had lost a parent wore black for 3 months, according to the custom of her community, & “solicitous” coworkers questioned her mental stability. Too bad there can sometimes be so little understanding & flexibility of thought.

  52. What a precious child. All the love and devotion that he attends come pouring through those beautiful eyes and his adorable face. Soak it in my dear. He’s a gift and you all deserve it. Much love from The Blog.

  53. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my mom ten years ago last weekend and there are no words to express the depth of it. Much love and hugs to you and yours.

  54. So very thankful there’s a wee one in your life to distract you from your grief. Knowing you’ll get through makes the process suck no less, but perhaps a baby will.

  55. Dear Stephanie, So very sad to have just heard about your mother. I lost mine over ten years ago and I still miss her. What eventually helped in my acceptance was the realization and gratitude that I had my wonderful mother as long as I did — when so many people in this world never even got to know theirs. It will get better and obviously little Elliot really helps:-).

  56. When the ancient Egyptians had a death, they took 30 days to mourn the dead. No one really worked, no one really expected them to be on it, or ok. It’s a ritual, I think our world should practice.

    I loved how you juxapositioned getting back on your feet with appreciating loved ones more. The beauty of sadness is, it makes the happy moments deeper, and brings them into focus more.

  57. You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers. You’re going to feel pretty hollow for a while, I expect; sort of filleted. It’ll take time, more than two weeks. A poet friend told me on my Mom’s death that soon my memories would return to her as a younger person. That seemed odd for her to say, and whether she planted the seed or not it turned out to be true, then my memories of my Mom made me smile.

    Try to take care, sleep, be sure to eat, but it looks like your spirit is already reaching for lighter things.

    Gorgeous baby.

  58. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are handling things so well (you think you are not, but you are!); I have nothing but admiration for you. Just remember – one day at a time.

  59. Your mum would want you to be happy. She left you all with wonderful memories to make your hearts smile.
    Remember the past but live in the present (G-Gma said before she passed on yrs ago).
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  60. The kids really are the secret — they have been for me, at least. My grandson was only 4 months old the last time he & my mother cuddled. I’m so glad they met. I’m sad that she never met her great granddaughter, nor the one due in spring! Hugs to you.

  61. Hugs, a cuppa, and baby smiles…they all help soothe the spirit.

    You had a lifetime with your mother…why do you think two weeks is long enough to grieve? Even though everyone is different and it was ritualistic, I think the Victorians had a better concept for mourning. You wore black for a year while in heavy mourning and declined outside social events. After a year, you introduced gray, lavender and puce into the wardrobe and could do some outside activities.
    The colors helped key in those around you to where you were in your grieving process (and, as you know, Queen Victoria wore black the rest of her life.).
    And the bruises on my apples come from the cashier. I pick spend a lot of time picking out blemish free apples…and the cashier slams them down on the scale to weigh and I cringe. I think your Mom would find humor in the lady complaining about her bruised apples…

  62. That kid is the cutest. Seriously. And I love his little gnome hat.

    RIP computer. It’s lived long and served you well! I hope its replacement is worthy of the job.

    Also the post seems to have worked perfectly. All photos intact and the words seem to be in the right order 🙂

  63. Steph–yes, you will be happy again. You will not be the same, as you are not the same since you became a grandmother. I’ve been a calmer person since I lost my Mom 5 years ago. The little things just seem smaller and not worth fussing about, and even if something big goes wrong, it (consciously or subconsciously ) gets measured against “is this is bad as losing my mother?” With God’s grace the answer will be no. Will you ever stop missing her–oh hell no. But soon you’ll be telling your grandson stories about his wild and wonderful great-grandmother.

  64. We had a death in our family this summer and are all hurting. My daughter was in an auto accident last week. No injuries. The woman that ran into her was very upset. Daughter said “it is only an inconvience. I hope this is the worst thing that happens to you this year.” Then she was furious when my son-in-law complained that his French fries were getting cold.

  65. while your posts are always a treat, in the light of the recent losses I read this as a sacrificial gift. Many small pieces of the new normal when repeated will add up to something recognizable and bigger. That’s all I got. Virtual hugs and real prayers for your comfort.

  66. I don’t know that is it a long road for healing – it is an entirely new road. New spiritual and emotional muscles and landscapes. Adorable Beautiful grandson you have there. Many happy knits with that one. Prayers still for you and your family.

  67. It always seems that the fates pile it on. When I was trying to deal with Dad’s death and funeral last spring, the hot water heater died and puked all over the furnace room, the cat and dog both ended up at the vets and we couldn’t find the right fabric for the granddaughter’s prom dress. And of course because you are already stressed it all seems so much worse.
    Hang in there and knit. The family is being swamped with knit goods at the moment as I am coming down from the obsessive knitting I have been doing since dad first got really sick.
    Breathe, knit, and hug people.
    And pay someone else to do the paperwork.

  68. I learned staying busy helps, and when the empty comes I acknowledge and move one. You will find a new normal but there will always be a need for baby smiles and bike rides

  69. I agree so much that the little ones help make things better. My mom passed away two months ago today. And as my family was sitting in the hospital room the night she passed, I with my knitting, my niece who is 4 asked to sit on my lap and help me knit. She wanted to make the loops and hold the needles. She had her first knitting lesson that night. My mom taught me how to knit when I was close to the same age. I don’t know that she knows how much that knitting time meant to me, but she brightens my days.
    Drink in all the happiness and joy Elliot brings. Let it help ease the pain.
    Big hugs to you and all your family.

    • That is such a beautiful story. Knitting and loss and children and the circle of life. Thank you for sharing it. I am sorry for your loss.

  70. Enjoy your family. Let the moments lift your heart. Those of us who have been through what you are experiencing just say….Take care of yourself and family now…….The fog you mention begins to move a bit and go up and down for a while …before you learn to manipulate it a bit. We all push for normal, but normal kind of shifts….don’t worry about long blogs to us…….

  71. One breath, one step, one minute at a time; and regularly snuggling such an apparently happy little one doesn’t hurt.

    Sending prayers for all.
    Bonnie aka Knitsiam

  72. I have long loved that hat pattern. It’s perfect for Elliot! How he has changed! Bigger, and growing into those cheeks. 🙂 Glad you are starting to “surface”. And so glad you have that happy little gnome in your life. 🙂

  73. I lost my sweet dad to cancer in November 2016. I’ve only just come out of the fog…grief is the master of ambush, so while it was doing its best to derail me, I knit like a madwoman. 6 hats and two pairs of fingerless gloves in January alone, (and I work full time and am a mom to twin girls and had my mom to help and a husband to think about as well). And I gave myself a ganglion and a bit of tennis elbow, which my dad would have had several comments about…I may have been slightly crazy, but everyone was warm. Knitting will help heal your soul in ways I cannot write about. Hugs to you as you move with and through your grief. Your grandson is the sweetest wee babe – his face and that hat. it’s too much.

  74. I think you are so brave to write and receive comments from others during this time – for some reason, I found the well-intended comfort to be the most painful thing.

  75. I”m so sorry for your loss There isn’t an easy way to lose a loved one, but time does help ease the pain. Also friends & family (especially little ones) and the normal routine of life.

  76. Healing has no time table. Just take care of yourself. I know that I would probably still be a puddle on the floor if I were you. Hang in there, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t deny yourself each stage of healing. <3

  77. Babies are powerhouses of healing love. What a beautiful smile he has.

    Two weeks is a blink in time. No beating yourself uo. Let the days come as they will and be gentle on yourself. It”s all part of honoring the memory of the amazing human who will always be your mother.

  78. This is why babies and more of them, are needed in this world. We need them and can’t really be human without them. They should always be welcomed even when it is inconvenient or unexpected.
    We need babies more than we understand….

    bjr

  79. That hat is adorable and you are right – a little being just makes things better. Please be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much. My husband died unexpectedly last October and it took me months before I could concentrate on anything for any length of time. Reading, knitting, even watching TV were all beyond me. I just existed…

  80. It’s all relative isn’t it? I used to live in the country and be delighted to pick up the best apples that fell on the ground. Because a) I only had to cut a little bit off and b) I didn’t have to drudge out the orchard ladder and pick any. Now, I’m so thankful that I get to go to the grocery store and pick only the nicest ones!

    And even thought I’m not grieving right now, I feel constantly on edge like that too. Worrying about my aunt with aneurysm, my sister with breast cancer, friends affected by Irma… Oh and did I mention that British Columbia, Washington and Oregon are rife with wild fire? It’s very sad. I’m safe myself, but every couple of weeks we inhale a LOT of smoke depending on which way the wind blows…

    Hang in there!

  81. I am so very sorry for your loss and understand the disconnectedness completely. My mother has been gone for 16 years and occasionally, the grief still ambushes me – talking to my sons, describing my childhood. They say that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. Time allows the pain to recede to the point where you can live with it, and eventually it only attacks you occasionally. But by then, it’s become a friend, coexisting with memory, becoming a tribute to the person we lost. I can’t offer you anything but deepest sympathy and informed understanding, but you are on the road to a return to normalcy and in the end, living the life she gave you is the greatest tribute to your mother’s memory. Blessings.

  82. All I can say is that I am so very sorry about your mom. I had similar feelings when my mom died–I would go outside and my neighbors were have issues with the fact that they had to mow the lawn and I wanted to scream: “WTH is wrong with you?? My mom just died! How can you possibly be upset over your lawn??”

    That said, I am so glad you have a little one to dote on and to help comfort you–littles are magical beings, methinks.

    I am sending you love and good thoughts from Seattle.

  83. I just caught up on your blog. You have my most profound sympathy. We all grieve differently, as they say, and time doesn’t heal necessary but it softens and changes feelings, as we age, more perspective sets in. My mother died 40 years ago this Nov. and we didn’t really even get along well, they whole experience of her death is still a mystery to me, even though I was there in the hospital like you were. With both of my parents, I found myself after they were gone just doing a few things I didn’t ordinarily do that were characteristic of them. My daughter and I became baseball fans like my Dad, and I started baking some things my mother made, like her apple pie and orange chocolate chip cookies. These there were shared with my daughter who was old enough to know my mother a little and my Dad a lot. For a while I would wake up dreaming I was back in the hospital, but that went away. You will move through it all in your own way, differently as your own life changes and perhaps at times mirrors hers. You were so lucky to have a wonderful mother that you were close to, she made you the fabulous, wise person you are. If we live long enough, we just can’t keep them forever.

  84. Elliot’s hat is perfect-that’s enough for now! Surely everyone else expects you to be gentle with yourself right now, even if you don’t. Work can wait.

  85. Dear Stephanie, I am so sorry. This is a hard time for you (the hardest, really). I lost my mom when she was 50 and I was 22. We knew it was happening, but nothing prepares you for that immense loss. As others have said, the grief is not a straight line, and even today I talk to her and wish she were here to guide my decisions.
    I’m glad you have a wee one to take up some of the empty space in your heart.

  86. My Father died 10 months after my Mother died. In the interim, two friends died. Mid-1989 to mid-1990 was not my favorite year. Like so many other people who have commented, I still reach for the phone to call Mom or wish I would have asked them this or that question. I don’t think it ever goes away. (pause to weep a bit).

    Shortly after my Father died, I received a check for something like $12.00 made out to him. I went to the bank to cash it. They knew my parents had both died and I had PoA, etc. A new teller refused to cash it. I’d held it all in until that moment and then I lost it! Luckily, I’d banked there long enough that the other tellers knew me and the situation. I was so upset that I wasn’t even embarrassed.

    My cousin is a Psychic and Astrologer. She goes through electrical and communication devices like M&Ms.

    Eliot and the hat are a healing balm. So is knitting. So are the love of friends and family.

    Be well, Steph.

  87. My sinscere condolences. I lost my mom over five years ago and I always imagine her sitting at the bar, waiting…on that note, may your mum always be able to find some decent limes for her G&T’s. Take care and know so many of us feel for you

  88. I have been thinking all this time how lucky it is that you have Elliot (and the other extended-family littles) right now, because this is exactly what babies can do. I am so glad you have discovered this for yourself so quickly. Much love to you as you navigate these rough waters.

  89. Stephanie, my deep condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother. I know that over time the memories of her that bring you joy will be stronger than the pain and grief of losing her.
    Your grandson is adorable in the hat with his sweet smile.

  90. What are the odds? Let’s hope a third thing doesn’t die, since in Hollywood, that always happens. When you feel like it, it would be nice if you designed a shawl dedicated to your mom. Might be a bit of a balm to your heart too.

  91. Grief has its own timetable and pain, well pain lasts a long time. Be thankful for the moments of joy that shine through like Elliott – time. Pain and loss do lessen though, bit by bit. Believe me, I know.

  92. Babies are magic. Our 16-month-old grandson came to take care of Meemaw and Baba today, as he does every Friday. He awoke crying from his afternoon nap so I went in, picked him up, he snuggled onto my shoulder and fell right back to sleep. Did I lay him down in his crib again? I did not. I slowly lay down on our bed with him on my chest and I let that sweet, warm body transmit its magic into me for a good 20 minutes. By the time he awoke and asked to watch The Muppets sing “Mahna Mahna” (it’s his after-nap treat) I hardly remembered that I’ve got a rotten head cold.

    That is one adorable hat and your grandson’s adorableness is only exceeded by my own precious Oscar’s. Such a bright, happy boy.

  93. Do corrections in the comments bring amusement? I hope so, we are reliable like that 😉

    Grief is a strange thing, it covers the skin, a translucent, immovable layer. We go through the motions like everything is normal, but there it is, reminding us to be gentle with ourselves. Be comforted by the way you leave no love unexpressed.

  94. We don’t “get through” the death of a parent, only get used to it. Make sure YOU mourn just as strong and as long as you must. Let no one make you feel “you should be over it by now.” Feel all your feels. Earlier someone said we are all still here and we’re not going anywhere–very true. –Claudia

  95. I remember the fog that seemed to be omnipresent after my mother died, much too soon. The fog lasted quite a while. Not too much broken-down sobbing except once in front of the broccoli at the grocery store and once in front of my whole office.
    May that lovely baby boy and your dear people be your lighthouses. (And may you get all the info off your blasted bricked computer and on to a shiny powerful new one.)

  96. I feel your pain, it takes time. I lost my husband five years ago and I am just now starting to get back to life . Be kind to yourself, allow yourself to grieve the loss of your dear mother on YOUR timeline, not anyone else’s

  97. First one learns to breathe again, then to walk,
    One step after another. Then to run.
    Every once in a while a grin or a smile sneaks in.
    Then life happens, again.

    Peace and love.

  98. You are doing marvelously Steph! Really you are. Grace to yourself and when you think you’ve run out borrow some from someone else. I join you in solidarity as my laptop bricked this week too. Thankfully I found a new “used” one that my tech guy had laying around — he’s sold it to me for $200. (He’s an angel although he wouldn’t describe himself that way.) Help comes in the most unexpected forms, so reach out to the Universe and I’m sure help will show up your way.

  99. Hi
    I was so sad to hear that you are a member of the club that no one really ever wants to be a member of. I’ve been a member for 24 years, and have come to realize 3 things.
    1. It will take a long while to find your new normal. Just when you think you have your shit together something will set you back. Go with the flow do what you can.
    2. Be kind to yourself, go off and weep if you need, laugh like a fool, soak in a tub or knit if you can.
    3. Treasure the little things because it’s the little things you will remember most.
    Wishing you and yours comfort and love.

  100. Oh well done Steph!!!
    And that’s a beautiful hat on a beautiful baby.
    Hang on in there, and like everyone says, don’t be surprised when you have a bad day/hour/whatever. I fell apart once, a year after my mother died, when standing in a museum gift shop I unguardedly thought, ‘What postcard should I send to Mum?’ …. and then remembered. My cousin warned me that ‘you lose your sanity’ for a while, and not to make any important decisions in the middle of grieving. It was good advice. Thinking of you and sending you love and strength.

  101. OH Steph…so sorry about your Mom. That is a hard blow…I lost mine close to 30 years ago, and it still hurts sometimes. But it does get better, so hang in there and be gentle with yourself. And knit, a lot!
    I used to read your blog daily, and then life happened. It’s been a few years now, so I have some caching up to do. Congrats on the baby…cute little man! I’ll figure out where he fits into your family after a bit of reading, I’m sure

  102. First-time commenter, but long-time fan. My deepest condolences on your (including your family here) loss. It won’t help for a total stranger to tell you that is does get better, though it does. Just not straight way.
    I’ve long wanted to thank you for the humour and humanity and respect that shines through all your writing. I appreciate that you allow us into your life to that extent that you do. It makes my day to see a sweet little face, or even a sweet little sweater, and it has been a joy watching the Ladies become the women they are. Thanks for sharing.
    (I get to touch the umbrella. Hoping that the good memories you have, and the ones you continue to make, protect you during these stormy times. Blessings.)

  103. That little boy is so incredibly precious! That smile and the hat are perfect together. I am so glad you have that little bit of sunshine in your life right now. I have been away for a bit and haven’t been reading the blog, so I missed the things happening in your life, Steph. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your dear mother. May peace find you in the sunny smile of your sweet grandson.

  104. Oh Steph. …”if it doesn’t involve a dead mother”…how many times that thought rang through my head when I was faced with the same issue/cataclysmic event/catastrophe/personal Armageddon/tragedy/upheaval/there should be a WORD dammit that tells everyone your earth is off it’s axis and knocked out of orbit.

    So glad you all have wee cutie boy-just more of the Universe’s magic in action.

    If you need a blog vacation, take your time. When you get back, we will still be gathered here outside your blog front gate, knitting piles and piles of wool and whatnot, consuming tankers of coffee and tea, waiting for you to feel the sun again and all the love and concern that has been a giant umbrella over you and yours during this time.
    A knitting shivah of sorts.

    Because.
    We’re knitters. It’s what we do.

  105. Hi Steph, I just tuned in to the blog for the first time in a while and learned of your loss. I am so so sorry. I can’t imagine what it must feel like. I can only send you piles of sympathy.

  106. Sending you love and prayers with my deepest condolences. Last week was the anniversary of each of my parents deaths and I felt their loss all over again, but it’s lessened with time. You need time right now, and to treat yourself very, very gently. Know that you are loved. Your mother was wonderful. “May her memory be for a blessing.”

  107. Everything on the blog looks great. Hope replacing your laptop isn’t too challenging. Still so sorry for your loss! Give yourself a break and take the time you need. Everything else will be there!

  108. One Day At A Time. You’ve got this, Steph, with lots of love and guts and knitting. The most adorable gnome ever, with the widest grin.

  109. What a luminous smile hat Elliot has, and such beautiful eyes! He is Mister Magic. Be good to yourself and allow as much time as needed. The blog loves you.
    Julie

  110. So very sorry about your mom/mum. Start telling that adorable grandson of yours all the fun/funny/happy stories about his great-grandma(mum?) and repeat them often. It’ll make you feel her love when you share it with him (and it’ll eventually make you feel better). You don’t get over missing your mom/mum you just eventually get thru it (it starts hurting less if that makes any sense). But telling the happy stories about her will start to help.

  111. Dear Stephanie, I am so sorry for the passing of your Mother. Mine too, has died recently, actually just a few days before your Mother passed. The ladies of my knitting group sent me this poem by Henry Van Dyke. It is simply beautiful. Hope it gives you as much comfort as it did to me.
    In Memory
    I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
    Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!”
    “Gone where?”
    Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
    And that is dying.

  112. I totally understand your world right now. My dad passed on July 9th and I’m still not functioning at a normal pace. I hope your spirits continue on the rise, especially with that little guy around, and you can find a place of peace. I am still looking.

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  114. When my beloved grandmother was in hospice care (for 2 blasted years!) my aunt famously tried to end a phone call as her cordless phone battery was running down. Grandma replied “your phone is dying and so am I”. Your last line reminded me. (Love you, gramma!)

  115. Just let me gush on that baby. That is one beautiful schweetie. The hat is perfect on him, and he needs a matching sweater and booties and everything. All the Knitted Things for Elliott-pie.

  116. Stephanie,
    I am so sorry for your loss, and I know how large a hole a mother leaves. My mom passed away almost exactly a year ago and it has been a year filled with unexpected waves of raw sadness and realizations. However, your lovely essay reminded me of something my mom said in the days before she died. One afternoon, I looked at her and said, “I can’t imagine a world without you in it.” She looked right back at me and without missing a beat said, “Imagine a world with grandchildren.” My lovely children are grown but not yet ready to recreate, but I eagerly await those days, and your words and lovely photos remind me to keep waiting; it will be worth it!

  117. Oh, that smile! And that hat! Babies are definitely a reminder that we need to smile, even through the tears. A wise woman told me, after my father died (also quickly and unexpectedly), that the opposite of death is not life, it’s birth. Birth and death are both part of life, and your mother lives on in her children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! (Not that many people get to meet their great-grandchildren)

  118. I was not very close with my mom, but was with my dad, and he was killed by a drunk driver when I was 20, 43 years ago. Just put one foot in front of the other, keep knitting if you can. You will never get over it, but you will get through it, especially with such a great helper. What a wonderful smile!

  119. Allowing one’s sense of humor (even the very blackest of black humor) to surface is essential to survival.
    And babies…always babies. The best balm.

  120. The pictures are fine, Elliot is adorable, and that hat – so stinkin’ cute! I have a great-niece (my first) arriving in November and I immediately decided she needs one, even though she will live in San Antonio.

    I’ve been behind on my blog reading, and am just now catching up – I am so, so sorry about your mum. My dad died suddenly (in less than 3 days), and the shock really does feel like it has literally broken your heart. Grief is forever, but you learn to manage it and to remember there are still wonderful things (like babies) out there, and to realize that it’s okay to enjoy those wonderful things.

  121. Elliot’s smile is absolutely spectacular. The hat is perfect on him.

    I was told eight years ago when I lost both parents in a four-month period, “Don’t “should” on yourself.”

    As many others have said, grief is not linear. Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

  122. Stephanie, I am so sorry. The pictures posted just fine and Elliot is *adorable*. I agree with the poster above who said “don’t “should” on yourself”. This is a tremendous, sudden loss. Take care of yourself and the rest will follow. Love and Hugs.

  123. Yeah Steph ! You go and get angry about life and death and everything in between! Well done for wisely being open to some love at the same time. I think The Blog is very proud of you, it’s kind of like your re-plying the skein of you and we all think it’s turning out nice!

  124. With all due respect, I think you’re reading the laptop situation all wrong. Your laptop didn’t give up on you, it knew that you needed more comfort (not more work) and it sacrificed itself so that you would be forced to knit a baby hat for your grandson. Ah, noble laptop!

    I’m so sorry about the sudden loss of your mom. I lost my mom to a long battle with cancer 5 years ago, and I cried every day for 6 months. Then I managed to dial it back to a few days a week 🙂 I just don’t think there’s anything quite like losing your mom – it’s like a natural disaster. I hope you find the grace with yourself that you so naturally extend to those around you.

  125. The wee humans can help so much when feelings are fragile. When my paternal grandfather died, my father held his first grandson, age about 9 months, for hours. Somehow the wee one was perfectly happy with that, instead of squirming and wanting to be put down or go to his own parents. The wee ones intuitively know and help in their own wee way. It’s all a part of the circle of love.

  126. Steph, when ones Mom dies it is always heartbreaking. My heartfelt sympathy toy you. I did not have grand babies at the time. I am sure he will aid in your moving forward. How can you not smile looking at that cutie pie. Believe me, children are the best medicine in the world. I now have 3 that mean the world to me. And a recent study showed that grandparents who help care for their grandchildren live longer – just one of the many perks!! Hugs to ou!!

  127. Steph, when ones Mom dies it is always heartbreaking. My heartfelt sympathy toy you. I did not have grand babies at the time. I am sure he will aid in your moving forward. How can you not smile looking at that cutie pie. Believe me, children are the best medicine in the world. I now have 3 that mean the world to me. And a recent study showed that grandparents who help care for their grandchildren live longer – just one of the many perks!! Hugs to you!!

  128. So sorry, Steph, on the passing of your Mother. Even when expected, it’s a hard loss. I am glad she got to see her Great Grandson. Go hug that baby. That’s the best medicine. Hugs
    Yvonne

  129. Steph, so sorry for your loss, and pain… and things not going well. Knitting (or if that does not work, try spinning) and smiling babies can heal everything. Be strong. You will need it. I wish there would be anything we could say, but there is nothing. Just hang in there.

  130. We knew my Mom was dying when she and Dad moved from NJ to Wyoming to be closer to me and the care I could provide. She had cancer, he has short-term memory loss. They had a year together in the assisted living. After she died, it took him 9 months to consistently remember she was gone. Every day he would call me to ask when we were going to see Mom in the hospital. Every day I had to gently remind him she had died. Consequently, I never had the emotional space I needed to grieve my Mom’s death. I think I’m only finding that space now — more than two years since she died. I hope your beautiful writing is as much a salve for you as it is for me. My heart aches for you, as only one who has lost her mother can. Thank you for sharing your story. The common experience, however painful, helps all of us heal.

  131. 1. I’m so sorry to read about your mum. I saw the title of the blog entry and said to myself, oh no, something’s happened to her mum.
    2. That baby is so cute in the last picture! I’ve made this hat but never seen pics of the babies I made it for, so thanks!
    3. One year, I kept having things go wrong with laptops at work, our technology teacher told me I needed to start touching metal (to be grounded) while doing any computer work since I seemed t be putting out too much energy!

  132. Oh, Stephanie be kind and gentle with yourself. This is all too familiar to me – the suddenness of your mom’s passing ( my mom went from a virus to cancer to dead in about the same amount of time) , the feeling that things were falling apart all around me ( brand new car decided to seriously act up right when I needed it most to travel to be with her; computer virus that made me lose enormous amounts of files in the weeks after her death). It’s like the whole universe if falling apart around you. I understand the feeling of being so lost and in a fog. It’s been a year for me and I can say that it does get easier, much easier, but that not a single day goes by without missing her. Moms and daughters. Such a complicated, incredible bond. Sending you hugs, strength and a reminder that mourning takes its own path. It’s not a straight one, but you will get there eventually. Much love.

  133. That adorable little smile shold bring joy to anyone who sees it. It certainly helped me today. Hugs to you Steph! One stitch at a time. Just one stitch at a time.

  134. Some days all one can do is just hang on. Thank goodness for Eliot!!

    Take good care of yourself!

    (Off to buy a new computer so I don’t have catastrophic computer death.)

  135. Stephanie, I have just seen that you lost your mom. I am so very sorry and heartbroken for you. It’s obvious you were so close. How wonderful that you have so many beautiful memories and a grandson to latch onto for hope and happiness. Sending healing thoughts.

  136. Your re-entry process sounds pretty normal to me. I always feel like everyone should realize how much the world has changed, and yet they don’t seem to. I’m so glad your grandson is providing distraction. (In lieu of nearby grandchildren or great-grandchildren, my grandmother would rearrange furniture and clean closets to distract herself in hard times.)

  137. All of the above. The only thing I would add, is yarn color. After my mother passed I worked on a lace shawl for the next two years. It required focus and when I didn’t want to think, I would pull it out. It was a lovely shade of yellow. Jamieson’s wool, silk laceweight. The yellow made me feel better. The finished shawl is stored. After reading the above, I think I’ll donate it. It was a sanity saver but I still find it hard to look at and it has been over ten years. Take care and try to find moments of joy in the small things.

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