That was unexpected

I’ve been dreading these 10 days for a year. I’ve been planning lots of distractions, lots of good things to keep my mind off of all that went on this time last August. I did what I’ve done all year when things were hard – I tried to make good healthy choices designed to generate feelings that would be the opposite of what I expected to feel. If I thought I would be especially lonely, I made plans to have company. If I expected to be sad, I deliberately set about doing things that make me happy. It was a real “fake it until you make it” approach to getting around the things I thought might swamp me with sadness. Distract, divert – deflect.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day that I took my Mum to the hospital and she never came home again. I got up that morning and feeling upset and out of sorts, I decided to go for a long bike ride to clear my mind. It turns out that I like riding my bike. I don’t just do it for the Rally, I do it to be fit, to feel strong, to feel fast. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but it’s hard to be sad on a bike, so I left the house and set a route that I really love – one that ends with a gorgeous stretch along a trail by a river. I was 25km in, it was a beautiful day, and I was heading for home and cruising along the bike path – not going too fast because it was downhill, and I’m still kind of cautious cyclist. (That’s a lie. I’m a really cautious cyclist.)

That’s when it happened. After 660 km on the Raleigh without so much as a glitch, I was heading downhill and starting a little turn when I hit a small patch of sand. (I even slowed down for it, which in retrospect probably kept things from being much worse.) Suddenly, my bike wouldn’t went sideways under me, and unable to unclip my left foot in time (I did unclip the right, for what seems now to have been no other reason than reflex.)  I let go of my bike  (big mistake) and stretched my hands out to break my fall. (Second mistake.) My hands hit the ground hard, absorbed most of the force,  and then my chin came down and smacked off the asphalt. My phone skittered out of my bra (yes, I keep it there sometimes) and into the bushes, and I lay there for a second, absolutely stunned. There hadn’t even been time to swear – which trust me, I don’t need a lot of time to pull off.

It’s clear to me now that I watched way too much of the Tour de France, because my first thought was getting my bike off the path before someone else came along and ran me or the bike over, and I scrambled up, hauling the bike off me, retrieving my phone (phone’s don’t heal, so I was worried about that before myself) and then I started to take stock. My hand was really banged up and it hurt, but it wasn’t bleeding too badly, so I got out my water bottle and started washing it off – I had time to curse now – and did.  In that moment, I thought I was okay.  It didn’t last. A lady who’d just come around the corner came rushing up to me, asking if I was okay and rubbing me on the back. I said I thought I was, and then she said “oh my God your face.”  I noticed then that some of the blood I was trying to wash off my hand and arm wasn’t coming from the bad scrape on my hand – I’d cut my chin when it banged off the pavement, and it was bleeding badly. “Do you have ice?” she asked me, and I remember thinking “Geez Lady, where would I be keeping that?”

I got my cycling gloves out of my jersey pocket (hadn’t been wearing them, mistake number 3) and used that to put pressure on my chin.  It didn’t really stop bleeding, and the lady was making me feel embarrassed and self-conscious, so I sent her away with assurances that I was just fine. Long story short, I tried to ride my bike home, and with every minute that passed I realized that I needed help. Even if i could make it back to the road, I wasn’t going to feel much like cycling back up the hill to my house. (This, by the way was the first sign that I wasn’t okay, that I thought I could get home by way of bike.) I texted Joe, no answer, then another person or two – also no answer, and then managed to walk my bike back to the road (about 30 minutes) bleeding and feeling more upset and hurt by the moment.

By the time I got to the road, I’d managed to reach Joe and he understood that he had to come get me – by the time he had, I’d realized that I needed the hospital. Joe dropped me off, I went inside and presented myself, still wearing cycling gear (“Cycling accident?” the nurse queried, receiving the stupid question of the day award.) I staggered away from the desk to sit down and wait my turn, and realized a second later, clutching gauze to my chin, with my non-smashed hand, that I was sitting in the exact same seat I had exactly a year before, at just about the same time of day.  The only difference was that my mother wasn’t with me. Distraught, divert, deflect …indeed.

Even longer story short – they glued my chin (it’s a tiny cut, it turns out, just bleeding for the drama of it) and x-rayed my hand, and it looks like a possible scaphoid fracture. Totally common for what they called a FOOSH.  (Fall On Out Stretched Hand.) I’ll be wearing it for at least a week, until a bone scan can reveal if there’s a fracture or not. (Oddly, they have to wait – they’re looking for signs of healing to see if the break is there.) In the meantime, I’m navigating one handed – knitting, but very slowly and awkwardly, with little satisfaction, and typing this pathetically slowly.  (I tried dictation, but it’s like my laptop doesn’t think I speak English.)

I’m okay, but can’t help but wonder what the lesson I’m supposed to be getting is.  Is this the universe’s way of saying you can’t run from your feelings? Am I supposed to be learning to deal with things, rather than trying to distract myself from them? Am I being told to settle down, to let the grief wash over me, to acknowledge that I’m supposed to feel bad, and just … live it? Is this just another phase of the year in which I’m doing a wicked imitation of being a cat toy for some divine joker?

Or maybe, maybe  I simply fell off my bike, and I should have been wearing my gloves.

Peace out. I’ll try and type more tomorrow.

PS. No pictures today. I’ve hit my limit for the number of things I can do with one  *&^%$ing hand.

PPS: I forgot to mention that I’ll be at The Stitchery in Rhode Island on the 14th and 15th of September. With two functioning hands. I’m sure of it.

147 thoughts on “That was unexpected

  1. Oh, sweetie, yeah…sometimes it’s just the pits, and we cry. Here’s my hope nothing else piles on for quite awhile. “Never again” is too much to hope for. I do hope you are treated to someone else providing some meals, if that would be a nice thing.
    Best – jdu

  2. Nuance, Dragon Professional dictation software will be just the thing him him if you have to wear that cast for very long. It’s amazing.

    I gave myself trigger finger, between heavy duty keyboarding with very repetitive strokes (spreadsheet massage) and knitting a baby blanket for my 1st grandchild (!! squee !!). So I’ve finally made the switch to dictating most everything at work, including mouse commands. Hopefully, I’ll get back to the blanket before he’s born next month.

    P.S. Don’t put your grief off forever. It’ll catch up with you. Better to get it done, maybe with professional or group help. Love you!

  3. From the way you sound, distraction might’ve been a good *first* approach, and entirely reasonable given the other things that were happening.

    Now it may be time to dig into the very hard work of grieving…straight on through it. Perhaps that’s what these next ten days are for.

    Or perhaps not. Everyone does it differently. Either way, you’re in our hearts.

    • I’m with Presbytera: taking this time to grieve may be a good thing for you.

      Or not.

      You’ll know what best to do– you always do.

      I will say that in the Jewish tradition we light a candle every year on the yahrzeit (anniversary) of a loved one’s death. It’s a reminder to remember and reflect and, you know, grieve. So your thoughtfulness right now isn’t unusual– use the time as you need.

      All that said, back to your bike accident and injury: oh my God, I am just so sorry. I really, really hope it’s as superficial as it can be and that it heals quickly and cleanly.

      Take it easy, Stephanie, and please be kind to yourself.

      • The wisdom of some Jewish customs – acknowledge what is happening, and make a tradition of it. The tradition is to light the candle before sundown on the day prior to the death, and let it burn until after sundown on the following day, which aligns with when prayers are to be said. For the near relatives for whom this tradition is observed, we continue to do this for all of our lives.

        Apart from that, I’m impressed you don’t seem to have damaged any teeth, and for goodness sake, wear the gloves. Don’t ask me how I know about the gloves.

      • I was going to mention yahrzeit, as well. As a non-Jew (my stepmother and stepsister are), the custom surrounding death is INCREDIBLY comforting to me, especially after one has spent a year distracting and diverting. To watch the candle in the evening, knitting (or not), reading (or not), with others (or not), fills me with peace. And grief, yes, but while that candle is lit I welcome the grief and allow it ONE night. After that, back into the ether it goes.

  4. Sending hugs. My takeaway from someone who skis and bikes a lot is that sometimes when you do those things you fall down and get hurt and no amount of precaution can really prevent that. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

    I hope the hand is fine (they were surprised mine wasn’t broken when I went over the handlebars of my bike a couple years ago), but be prepared for it to hurt way longer than you think it should even if it is. I hope the chin is fine. I hope they didn’t give you anything that prevents you from drinking, because some day that really just is the answer. (My personal answer is stockpiled girl scout cookies, but I realize that’s an odd fix.)

  5. Oh no. :(( I broke my upper arm 4 years ago, saw Dr. Veillette at TWH fracture clinic. Not being able to work was one thing, but not being able to knit was horrific. Make sure you keep moving your shoulder and upper arm, I kept it close to my body for weeks from fear, things “shortened”, and even now I can’t move my arm the way I’d like.

  6. There’s no manual for our brains and hearts; we have to try things out and see what works. My grieving for my mother was a completely alien concept to my friend’s situation, and yours is not going to be the same either. But maybe, possibly, with these coincidences, you are getting a not-so-subtle message that it’s time to face it, deal with it, let it hurt, then let it go.

    I wish you peace.

  7. When my Mom passed away, I was a wreck for about four years, if I am honest. The first year was easier than the second and third year because I was trying to pretend everything was OK. I felt like “a cat toy”, too. I am so sorry you had that horrible accident, but, maybe, God was telling you, “See, you can do this. You are healing, and it all will get better. Just let it all heal, just like your body.” It will be OK, as the physical pain gets better, so does the soul-pain of losing one of the most important people in our lives.

  8. I can’t pretend to know you, but I am friends with grief. And yes, sometimes you’re out for a “season” (length varies) while you’re body and mind deal with the grief. Maybe this is a moment to engage.

  9. I’m sorry to read you had a crumby day.

    In the interest of saving you from having something else crumby happen in the future please stop carrying your cell in your bra. Many young women are presenting with cancer because of a habit of carrying their cell phones in their bras!

    I don’t remember where I read this and don’t have a proper study to reference I would just hate to not mention it just in case. Fanny packs are coming back I suggest you get one for your cycling purposes for your phone and maybe some gauze.

    All the best and I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    • Respectfully, there is no signficant evidence supporting the claim that carrying cell phones in bras cause breast cancer. Especially not the occasional stash for a couple hours at a time! None of us–particularly Stephanie–is looking for more things to worry about right now.

      [Source: American Cancer Society summary of mulitple studies on this topic, updated Feb. 2018.
      (https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/cellular-phones.html)]

      More importantly, wonderful Steph: We love you and are always cheering you on, through hundreds of km of biking, thousands of rows of knitting, and every day of everyday life–good, bad, and ugly. <3

      • Emily, I’m so glad you mentioned that AND quoted the article. Last thing we need to do right now is preach at somebody.

  10. I’m so sorry. I recently smashed up my face too and while it’s nearly better now, it was embarrassing and not fun for a good while there. Sending healing thoughts.

    I am also starting the process of divorce from someone unkind, so that’s a rollercoaster of emotions. So when my office decided to celebrate my birthday with cake, on a day when they knew that I would be out at one of our satellite offices…well, it seemed and still seems really unfair and like piling on. I’m sorry your bike accident piled on. I don’t think either has deeper meaning, other than that sometimes, everything just sucks for a while, until it starts getting better.

  11. Steph, I think the universe decided to hand you some lemons to see if you would make lemonade!

    You’re coming up on the first anniversary of your mom’s death. It’s normal to feel melancholy, moody, a bit weepy. Go ahead and indulge. Put on some of your mom’s favorite music or that old movie that always brought a tear to her eye. Re-read a book she loved. Have lemon meringue pie. Let the sadness out.

    Once that’s done, ask Meg to bring Elliot over. Read him some silly stories, watch some goofy cartoons with him, or even help him make mud pies! Laugh.

    Finally, take care of yourself and be careful with the injured arm! (And try talking Wookiiee, Klingon, or Dalek to the computer — it might help.)

  12. Maybe the universe’s way of telling you that it’s okay to feel crappy? It took me over half-a-year after my dad’s death and all the mess that went with it to go from wishing I could just get over it already to actually going to a therapist to unpack at least some of the terribly painful emotions around it. I learned a lot about grief, and about how our society tells us all sorts of lies about grief, like how it has stages that end with acceptance, and how you’re supposed to eventually “get over it.” Losing someone you love fundamentally changes your life. You’ll never “get over” that. You just have to learn to live in the new life, and part of what you mourn isn’t just the loss of the person, but the loss of the old life that had that person in it, and the future of that life that you now won’t have. And it’s okay to be sad and miserable and out-of-sorts for however long you need and is healthy for you. (Just don’t get stuck there. That sucks.)

    /end pontification

    Side note: The whole stages thing actually was about how patients who are told they’re going to die deal with that knowledge. It has nothing to do with how we as human beings react to the loss of a family member or friend.

  13. First off, congratulations on saying, “I was 25km in…” without sweating. Remember when you first started riding? You just said 25km like it was a walk around the living room. Second, grief is hard. It takes a long time. We wear it like a belt under our clothes, sometimes noticing it, sometimes not. She was your mom. You loved her, she loved you, she’s gone and it’s different now. It sucks, and nobody can help you deal with it. We can be supportive, but you have to work through the feelings. Good luck, we love you.

  14. Yeah, I think it’s the latter. Try not to bike over sand, and don’t reach out with your hand if you’re falling. Sometimes the universe is just random. :-/

  15. I completely understand the dread. I lost my husband 7 years ago, and I still hate facing the day on the calendar each year that he entered the hospital. I can tell you that with time, it gets a bit easier, but it is never EASY. Those first couple years, I just wallowed in grief, then for a couple years I tried to distract myself (like being out of town or making sure I was at least in the company of others instead of alone that day). But now my approach is to spend that day remembering him and relishing in the good memories of our time together. We were high school sweethearts, so there are many memories. For a very long time after he passed, I had a very hard time driving parefused to drive past the hospital. It actually took me almost 5 years (he had spent 2 very agonizing months there) before I could do it; when I did, it was so healing. Just that one little thing-facing the painful trek past that hospital-did a great deal for my healing process.

    I think grief is different for every circumstance, for every individual. Don’t run from it; it will always catch up with you. Work through your feelings as best you can, be thankful for the time you had together, and for the family you have that obviously loves you (and your Mum) so very much. And be good to yourself. Here’s hoping too, that nothing is broken and you’re on the mend very soon.

  16. Ping has it bang on. There are no linear stages. There is no end to it or being over it. It just is. Grief is love without a place to go. You are doing great at dealing!

    I’m sorry you’ve had such a trying day. I hope it’s easier from now on.

  17. Your fall was horrible. I hope your wrist will not be broken and that you will be feeling better soon. I did a face plant on a moderately busy road and a man rushed over to help me and then the ambulance was passing by and she called out – so much for dignity! Ironically, I was on my way to my doctor’s office to get a tetanus shot. Call me Klutz! Sending the biggest healing hug I can. Take care. ❤️❤️

  18. I will send all the mojo I can for a non-broken wrist. While I’m sorry that you got hurt, isn’t it better that if it had to happen, it happened at home (or close to it) and not on the rally?

    Also, thank you for introducing me to the term FOOSH. It seems an appropriate onomatopoeia.

  19. Grief is indeed a mystery. I lost my husband in 2006 After I had a Significant stroke. I didn’t grieve at the time because I was healing a brain and I guess I didn’t know any better. I did my best grieving in 2015 enter our what would have been our first grand son. Since the birth of our grandson, Oliver, I have done my best grieving. So you just never know when the time is going to happen for grieving you just gotta roll with it. Peace to you .

  20. I’m reading this on the 31st anniversary of my moms death. Even after all this time, I still find myself dreading this day every year. It does get better but I find myself amazed that I have lived over half my life without the woman who helped make me into the person that I am today. I had the best mother and father I could ever ask for and I was an only child so it really hit me hard. It does get better but it is a new normal that takes quite some time to get used to. You will heal, just give yourself enough time.

  21. I am of the belief that your mom was watching out for you and that you are very lucky that the injuries were not worse. Like your heart, this will heal and you’ll knitting like a fiend on everything you dream about while you are waiting, impatiently!

  22. There are things in life we just have to go THROUGH, no way over, under or around. We do come out the other side but being in the thick of it sucks the big one. Distraction, diversion, drugs, alcohol, denial, whatever, does not get us through. Feelings are what they are.
    You are right to look for a message from the universe, but also wear your gloves. Like I heard once in a civil war movie, words of encouragement from the commander to the troops getting ready to go into battle: “Put your faith in God, but keep your powder dry.” God bless.

  23. I understand your pain and I’m sorry you knitting is not there to help, but have you tried crochet? Wool can still be there for you if you let it

  24. Oh Stephanie, I’m so sorry! I’m not sure what the lesson is, or if there is one. Maybe you did just fall off because of the sand. I’m betting on that. 🙂 Hugs for quick healing!

  25. If you are asking yourself those questions, it is time to address each one of them on their own merits. The best way for me is journaling. Another good way is talking to a grief counselor. Being quiet and weepy on the anniversary of your mom’s death or her birthday is one thing but totally another when you are so distracted you get hurt because you were not ‘in the moment’ of the task you were doing.

  26. It was an accident and these things just happen. I try not to take any larger message away than this simplest of reasons. Of course as I type this I am sitting with a big boot on my foot, having spent the entire summer (8 weeks) in a boot 24/7 and mobile only with a knee scooter. I tore the tibial tendon from my foot and had to have surgery to repair it. I share your sense of irony: I tore it getting up off the floor in weight training class!

  27. I, too, love to cycle, and I’m 71. Went to Namibia last year, fell off a safari van and broke two ribs. I was too tired from bike riding! I lived with the pain until I got home and had X-rays. Oh. That’s why I hurt! In a way, you are lucky. Fell off my bike this April and broke another rib, not my elbow.

    What was worse was when I had an immersion blender accident and could only do garter stitch. Yet I completed a laceweight sweater during the time it healed.

    You will get better. You will always remember this and smile, with wonderful memories. And you will get back on your horse and have a another incredible ride. Believe me.

  28. I think a fall is just a fall. A moment when bike physics failed. I sincerely hope your wrist will heal quickly, as there are just knitterly limits to putting up with using one hand.

    Hugs to you at this really hard time. It’s was bound to be shitty. Do what feels right for you with the grief. You seem like you have some pretty awesome people in your life too to help you too, for when it is too much just for you to bear.

  29. I agree, the bike fall was just faulty physics.
    A year is still a pretty darn fresh wound. Each year will get better but even years in the future you will be able to recall the loss as if it was yesterday. My mom, my best friend, has been gone for 32 years and talking about her and what a special person she was to my daughter last weekend, brought me to tears. She will always be there in your heart, treasure it.

  30. Brains can do many funny things as we process through grieving, and yes the fall, could have been just that, and then again, maybe not. In any case, you do as you can handle. Did they check you for a concussion? I do hope so as that fall is prime for that. Take care of yourself and let yourself heal – both inside and out.

  31. Ouch. Sometimes the universe/God whatever one believes in just has a sick sense of humor. I’m usually the brunt of it, though.

    I’m glad you’re all right, Steph. And hang in there. You’re still going through the 5 stages of grief about your mother.

    I suggest you have a nice glass or two of wine to sooth the pain of your bike accident.

  32. I’m so sorry about your accident! Just thinking about you, wishing you the best, speedy recovery (and hopefully no fracture)!

  33. You’ve had a TON of responses to this, which I’ve not read. But 12 years ago, on our 31st anniversary, my DH died of Type 1 Diabetes. That has nothing to do with you, I know — ***except*** to say that I KNOW. And sometimes (I’m almost-66 to your 50-something) you need to Pay Attention. Going forward, there may be other ways for you to contribute to this cause you love so well, without destroying your body in the process. Just think about it.

    Husg from the woman with the well-read book and the pink sock you knit on in Edmonton a few years back.

    We love you.

  34. 1. Sometimes ya just gotta suck it down.

    2. Never, never, never try to break a fall. Tuck and roll. (You can ask how I know.)

  35. If you think the universe is sending you a message, it’s because you know you have a message you need to hear.
    Otherwise, the universe never speaks to us about all the other things (big and little) that happen and don’t happen to us and in our lives.
    Hope your arm heals quickly!

  36. You were very lucky. I had a similar accident but my middle finger on my left hand turned sideways more than 90°. The other hand had a crushed bone on the outer base of my palm. Here’s the good news. I couldn’t work with clay any more, had done it for 28 years. The only thing I could do was knit. Apparently the range of motion needed for knitting was my comfort zone. Hoping it is for you too. Feel well soon.

  37. No hidden message — you fell off your bike. And it was always going to be a sucky week for you this year. Because your mum was wonderful, and you miss her.

  38. Sorry you have the pain of grief, sorry your hand is injured, sorry you have to deal with both at the same time.

  39. Oh YOU! Maybe you need a little bit of space to grief. Maybe sometimes you just get into stupid accidents for no good reason. And ALWAYS you need a little grace with yourself. I hope you get what you need and I hope you get to figure that out.

  40. Ah dear. I had a FOOSH to about a year ago. Although I was only trying to pull on a skirt, lost my balance, and fell back onto my hand. Embarrassing. I was in Cairo Egypt, and didn’t dare go to the hospital. I put ice on it. They casted it when I got home 10 days later.

    The thing is, you never realize how many things you do with both hands until only one of them works. I’m sorry this happened. You’ll learn to be really inventive though. And it’s hard to do, but you should let people help you now and then too. Best wishes to you as you recover!

  41. Damn Steph, honestly… some days you just gotta accept that the universe is giving you an awful thrashing. I am so sorry! I’ll be over here rooting for just a simple bruised bone and strained ligaments.

  42. Sorry to hear about your accident. When I lived on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, I was cycling down the side of the mesa. For the first part of the way down, I was on my bike, for the second half, my bike was on me. I was going fast as a coasted down and my front wheel began to wobble. I managed to stabilize it, but then it started again and before I knew it the bike had flipped and I was skidding down the hit, speedily, on my back. I burnt off the clothes and skin where my body had contact with the ground, mostly my back and both my arms in patches just below the elbow. A truck of Navajo men stopped but they weren’t sure what to do without hurting me. My husband finally caught up and got me up and to the hospital. It’s an experience you don’t forget. I was very grateful for the men who stopped, and for the kind treatment, I received at the hospital (yes, they asked if it was a bike accident), I had to return a couple of times to have the burns treated.

  43. oh, christ on a pogo stick. I am so sorry, Steph. also, you have the best followers here. they’ve said it all. only thing left is to add my voice to others that i’m holding love and light for you and giving small roars of encouragement from the sidelines. This may be time for healing in all its many forms.

  44. The day after my mom’s funeral was a gorgeous fall day. We were all at the home on the lake, the grandkids played in the leaves and chased bubbles, and it was just the kind of day she would have cherished. Years have passed, the grandkids are big, and my brother is no longer with us, but on the anniversary of her death each year, I sit outside with the leaves, and blow bubbles, while I remember her sense of joy in all things. You can’t run away from grief, but Learning to live with loss and go on with life is one of those developmental tasks that the college psych class didn’t address, but is oh so necessary.

  45. Thinking good thoughts for you Stephanie. I hope there is quick healing for you physically. I also hope that you can see forward to continuing to grieve and rebuild after the death of your wonderful mother.

  46. I don’t think it was a coincidence that it happened on the anniversary of your mum’s illness and death. I also was close to my mom. After her death I was usually sick late October. One year my husband mentioned that I always got sick the same time of the year that my mom died. I was totally clueless. I think we have body memories that we are usually unaware of. I don’t understand it at all.

  47. I pray you have a speedy recovery. I think I was in shock the first year after my mother died. It was the second year that was the worst for me.

  48. Oh, I am so sorry, and hope that you heal quickly. (Bad week story here: shipped two kids off to grandparents, stopped by police not more than ten minutes later, forgotten registration and insurance papers, impounded vehicle, visits to four different locations over three days to sort out paperwork and collect car, non-existent yarn budget for the foreseeable future…) Best wishes and hope that the time that you feel better comes quickly!!

  49. The universe absolutely put you back in that spot for a reason. No one here can tell you the reason.

    What I do know is that if you try to distract and deflect the grief forever, it will make you ill. After the last major period of grieving in my life, which I definitely had tried to deflect, my hair fell out in clumps like I was going through chemotherapy. The stress in my body was so great, it was produce some form of hormone / stress chemical that *made my hair fall out of my head in large clumps*. I went to the doctor because I was sure I was grievously ill – no, this was a direct response to the pain I was feeling.

    When the universe delivers you a message like that, don’t listen to us – listen to it. It is telling you something you need to hear.

  50. The same place in the same ER and the accident and oh Stephanie. I am so sorry.

    When I broke my hand in two places they said two but it took three months. Possibly because I was knitting again before the two were up because I couldn’t stand the wait, and a heavy afghan at that. Note, though, that mine happened the day after my doctor had told me that if I ever found myself falling, stretch out the hands (yeah like I’d have time to think) because hands heal far faster and easier than hips.

    Meantime, is there anything we can do to make the next little bit easier? And thank you to Joe for coming to the rescue. He’s a good one.

    Much love.

  51. I’m so sorry. I hope your hand will heal fast and you’ll be back to two-handed activity. As others have said, perhaps now is the time for you to dig into your feelings, and perhaps not. Do whatever feels best for you, and my thoughts are with you at this truly sucky time.

  52. Oh, love. What horrible timing – not that there’s a good time to have an accident. Just thankful it wasn’t worse. Take good care of yourself.

  53. When you first finished the bike rally I thought, okay, Stephanie, you now need to stop. Next year will happen without you at the helm of the rally. You need to give yourself time. Time to adjust to a new way of life. You need time to stand in the kitchen and cry. My mom always called me at the time I was born on my birthday. I needed to cry when the first call didn’t come. I needed time to figure things out and now you do also. I wish you peace. I am sorry you got hurt but thank goodness you can still knit!

  54. Oh no! I feel your pain! I did the same bike trick when I was five years old and still have the ugly scar on my chin to prove it some 63 years later. You might want to have your teeth and jaw checked too to make sure you don’t suffer long term effects from the trauma of falling hard, smack on your chin. Feel better and heal well, physically and emotionally.

  55. Poor Steph — I am so sorry, for both sets of pain!
    We found a way that works for us to mark the day my mother died — on it or as near as possible, my daughters and I go out and do something fun that she would have liked. The first year we went to an exhibition about Liberty fabrics and a gallery with handmade glass, plus had lunch out. We feel that she’s along for the ride and enjoying it with/through us. It doesn’t always stop the tears or the sadness, but I do feel that she would have approved enormously and that helps.

  56. I fractured my elbow about 7 years ago coming off my bike when the front tire got wedged in some streetcar tracks. My hands and my hip were torn open too, hoping you have a speedy recovery.

    The Moments are hard, and fast. The frequency drops over time, but sometimes it feels like they’ll never get easier. It won’t help in the moment, but a ton of people care for you and would be there to hold you up if they could.

  57. I am so sorry about all of it. I can’t do much except to offer love, which all of us here in the blog are doing.

  58. My mom passed away 15 years ago in November. She was 55, and I was 33. She had pancreatic cancer and my siblings I and I knew for about 6 weeks before she passed. We all tried to deal with our feelings in different ways, but what helped us most was time. I am sorry for your injuries, the timeliness of it, and what you are going through. There is no easy solution. Be gentle with yourself, let yourself cry especially when it comes at the most unexpected times, and be you. That is what most moms want for their kids.

  59. Oh, Steph. That’s just crappy. Really sorry to hear that it’s all landed on you at once. No big advice here, just lots of love and friendship from the other side of the world. xoxo

  60. Ouch. Falling off the bike stinks. The only thing worse is crashing into a tree if you happen to be riding off road – mountain biking. I hope there’s no fracture, or if there is, you get a nimble sort of brace that will still let you do wonderful things like hold a fork, stir your tea and fling some yarn!

  61. Wow! The universe brought out a 2×4 on you! No subtlety whatsoever. It doesn’t seem to me as though you’ve been avoiding grieving the loss of your mum. Apparently whom/whatever is in charge of these things was not going to allow distraction on this significant day. Glad you were not more badly injured.

  62. Oh, dear. Whoever said “falling off a bike is easy” was undoubtedly unduly optimistic. I bet today you are finding even more places that hurt … Sending healing vibes of all sorts for the chin, the hand, the heart … Sometimes a large roll of bubble wrap is the best answer.

  63. I fell off a bike and landed on left forearm and left knee. Minimal visible damage, and there was a convenient patch of freshly-watered lawn to clean off the blood from the scrapes. But my knee hurt for weeks…I still think it might have gotten a hairline fracture.

  64. I read in a book recently, “one minute you’re flying high, and the next it’s all gravity.” I think that applies to just about everything – we try to control what’s around us, but the inevitable happens. Heal well . . . and you type better with one hand than I do with 2!

  65. The whole first year and first anniversary just sucks, and perhaps now is the time to have a good wallow in the grief. The universe does seem to have effective ways of telling us when it’s time to slow down for a minute when we don’t do it ourselves. I hope the physical heals quickly, and the rest comes with time. (Which is such a stupid platitude, but true nonetheless. As most stupid platitudes are.) Thinking of you and sending love.

  66. I feel like there is an answer in your words somehow: “Oddly, they have to wait – they’re looking for signs of healing to see if the break is there”
    Signs of healing proves the fact of trauma- and in this case the signs of your healing from the loss of your mom shows just how much of a trauma that was. But it’s signs of healing- not signs that it’s healed. It all takes time and we wouldn’t get mad at your wrist for not healing fast enough (ok you might- or you might be frustrated that it didn’t heal fast enough) but we know that this does take time and it’s supposed to. Peace friend.

  67. Have you read Joan Didion’s The year of magical thinking? It might not be the best read for you at this time but I’m reading it currently and this brought it to mind- to borrow the terms she uses, you’ve been (successfully) avoiding the vortex but the vortex pulled you down anyway. May you heal well.

  68. I find that sobbing, deeply, in the shower, offers a measure of relief, at least temporarily. It may be a combination of dehydration and exhaustion that is mimicking relief. So, so sorry about your mom (mum), your wreck, the knitting.

  69. I am surprised no one else said this: my thought was: same ER, same seat? That’s mom saying “Hello”. But then again, I am used to “visits” on the one year anniversary, mostly in my dreams, but not always.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery for the hand, and for continuing your journey through your grief. It is a different path for everyone.

  70. What a bummer, but I think you were doing the right thing. Also, the ER nurse only had the second most stupid question of the day. Have you got any ice really takes the cake! Thank you for your blog and encouragement.

  71. Everything around your head is really vascular and you’ll bleed like crazy out of the smallest injury. Not much comfort.
    I often try to read the omens, too. My guess is that the message to you is that you can go to that hospital, to that same chair, even, and come out okay. Terrible and painful things happen, but not every time. I think it’s a reassurance from the Universe that you can go to that frightening place and be helped. There will probably be more times you’re helped there than that you’re heartbroken. At least I hope so.
    Take care of yourself.

  72. When my husband committed suicide in1989 my world was upended and my first encounter with endless grief began. What I sorted out fairly early on in the process (yes, it is a process and the time frame is different for everyone) was that I needed to give myself permission to wallow in my feelings. At first the amount of time was..a lot. Seriously. Grief is like a runaway train and the only way to gain control is to let it run as it will. For a while. The more you fight it the longer you will have to.
    I felt like grief was a team of horses dragging me and my life wagon completely out of control and if I didn’t hang on for dear life they would careen over a cliff and I would never get back to normal again. Well the truth was there was no more “normal” and if I was going to incorporate the loss of my love into my life I would have to trust myself. Trust that I could bear it. Trust that I could endure it. Trust that no matter how I feared that I would curl up into a grief ridden ball and spend the rest of life in the fetal position, that simply would not happen. Trust that eventually I would rise and carry on and make a new “normal”.
    Since the death of my husband I’ve lost my mom, my stepdad and my only and much loved aunt. The lessons I learned from the loss of my husband helped me to grieve for them as I needed to knowing all the while that it was a testament to my love for them that I grieved and a reminder of how fortunate I was to have been the recipient of such love that the loss of it absolutely gutted me.
    This will get easier. I promise.
    I hope your cycling wounds heal quickly.

  73. Sorry you took a tumble. Anything on your head bleeds like it is really serious. On the plus side, heavy bleeding usually shortens waiting room time!

    I at least had time to think “This is really going to hurt” before I hit when I tumbled off mine. Fortunately, I hit the grass on the side of the path…not the path. I wasn’t wearing clips, and I didn’t have time to stretch out my hands. So, I ended up with a cut where my eyeglasses cross my bridge, a concussion, and a badly bruised knee.

    Just grieve, Stephanie. Let the pain wash over you. Everyone goes through the first anniversary of the death. It is a rite of passage. It sucks.

    Next year, you will have 2 rites. This is the day I took my Mom to the hospital and the day that, a year later, I fell off my #@*% bicycle trying not to think about it.

    Don’t go bike riding on the day she died, please!

  74. And, since you hit your chin and not your helmeted head, you may not have to replace your helmet (check with your local bike shop).

    I keep forgetting to go to mine to replace the helmet when I have the cash to do. So, I have been bad and not ridden since my tumble.

  75. When I received the same injury from falling on ice and had the surgery plus cast, the doctor told me to keep knitting because it was good therapy. I am sorry you were hurt but I know you will be right back to knitting, with two hands. My best to you.

  76. Throughout this year, your posts resonated in me. And you have been in my thoughts. Two years to the day you lost your beloved mother, I lost my beloved mother.
    I can’t say it gets better. But I myself find that you get up each day, the loss is there, but a little less “stabbing” than days before. I am grateful I was her daughter and that I had her as long as I did. Grateful that my daughter had such a lovely relationship with her grandmother.
    I wish you peace
    And a quick recovery from your injury

  77. It doesn’t mean anything other than – Wear ALL the Gear, ALL the Time!! And of course, avoid sand.
    Get well soonest. You will be okay. No teeth were lost, no tongue was severed, no wrist broken & you had a great time until the sand . . . .

  78. Oh, Steph. I’m so sorry. I’m so very, very sorry. That’s just really hard and I’m so sorry.

    The only way out is through, for grief. I’m so sorry to have to say that, but I found out the hard way. I ran from my grief and avoided my grief and reached out to friends and stayed busy and I started cracking at the seams. Crying uncontrollably while at work, or while driving, or in the shower, or just…random times. I’d shoved it down and away and it was just growing and getting stronger from that. I was afraid to let myself feel it, I felt like it would wash me away, like I’d disappear, like I’d never be happy again. But it wouldn’t be denied, and I went to therapy and I found a way to give myself permission to feel it, to wail and sit with it and hurt and rage and feel all the dark, scary stuff I’d hidden. And when I let myself feel it, it had less strength. I could control when I cried. I still cried, I still raged, but I didn’t do it in the middle of meetings at work, which was a relief.

    It’s awful, it’s hard, it’s the hard work of grieving. It takes it out of you. But it lets you have room for remembering the good things, too, and it’s totally appropriate to be sad. Sad is okay. Sometimes sad is exactly right. I wish you well, and I hope you know we all love you and are sending your strength, hope, tears, and hugs.

  79. Last May I went to San Miguel de Allende, one of my favorite places in Mexico, with two other people. Things went so spectacularly wrong that we split up and each of us went in a different direction. I ended up in Queretaro and didn’t realize how traumatized I was by the big fight until, half a block from the hotel, I tripped, became entirely airborne and fell flat on my face on the stone sidewalk – glasses ruined, knee hurt and bleeding, face also bleeding and bruised and hand not broken but hurting badly. Instantly I was surrounded by lovely people, one of whom took me home and took care of me, but your story brought back the memories. Feel better soon!

  80. Ouch! I am so sorry to hear about your fall. I am trying to type and hold my chin because it hurts just to think about what happened to you. There is no answer to “why”, which sucks. I hope your hand and chin and heart heal soon.

  81. That having to get home from a ride while seriously injured and having it hurt worse and worse as time goes on? I know that all too well, but mine was off of my horse when he stumbled on a trail ride and I took an unscheduled dismount. Severely sprained back, 45 minutes back to the barn at the most excruciatingly painful slow walk with every jarring step sending pain shooting down my back, and it was on Mother’s Day, to boot. (I never heard the end of ruining Her Day because of That Horse, sigh.) So, I feel your pain.

    Now, as far as the grief goes… Hon, I think if you haven’t sat with the grief yet, and you’ve been on a Mission of Distraction, then yes. It’s time. The longer it sits undealt with, the more it grows into other emotions as it tries to escape: anger, apathy, depression, constant annoyance. Ask me how I know.

    No, I’ll just tell you. It’s because I, too, have yet to really fully deal with the grief, let alone the parental detritus, that was left behind 12 years ago in September, and that grief and all of the other feelings keep trying to reformat themselves in order to get seen. I keep trying to hide, but to no avail.

    Twelve years, living in this house with their stuff buried beneath my own, pretending like either it’s not there, or they’re still there.

    For both of our sakes, I think it’s time we stop distracting ourselves and just deal. Sink down deep into it and acknowledge it. Thank it for the lessons it’s taught us, thank it for its confirmation that we have deeply loved in this lifetime.

    I’ll do it, if you will…

    And, grieving sucks.

  82. I’m praying healing for your heart and body! I don’t think that the Universe or God sends events like this as message, and I don’t think there’s anything that you’re MEANT to learn; Still, I do think that there are lessons that you CAN learn. In your amazing sensitivity and wisdom, I’m confident that you will eventually find the positive pearl in this very difficult situation. Perhaps just take a moment to be amazed at your resilience and your ability to handle whatever comes your way. Your cadre of knitters is sending love, positive vibes, and virtual hugs. xoxo

  83. Funny thing, I took a skid on some black ice many years ago and knew enough to not put my hand out to break the fall. My knee was a little wonky for awhile but it all heals eventually and bike riding was one of the best exercises. Taking time out to bawl your eyes out can’t hurt.

  84. Dearest Stephanie, I am so sorry you got hurt. I have fallen off a horse (not true, I was thrown off a horse) but not a bike, and the reason for that is that where I live it is all gravel roads and I just value my own hide too much.
    As to the message, I wouldn’t presume to interpret on behalf of the Universe. However, from my own mouthy and opinionated self I would offer the solid fact that avoidance doesn’t work forever and sooner or later you have to do your grief work. I lost my mom, then my dad, and in the same year as dad, my only sister. Then my best friend was murdered. Then four years ago my brilliant, funny, indomitable and indestructible husband succumbed to cancer.
    You have no idea how strong you are until you have to be, but there is such a thing as too much. To everything there is a season, and maybe it’s your turn to be the child, to be weak, to be sad, to be hurt and lost, and to not be the person you think you are. Seek help – it’s often disguised as something entirely different. Seek professional help if you need it – I needed help with the rage, not the grief. If you postpone it and avoid it, it will come back as something else, likely even stronger for having been suppressed. I would strongly advise taking the downtime to wallow a little bit, and be totally unlike yourself for a while. Wearing black used to be de rigeur for a year for the bereaved – not out of morbidity but as an outward social sign that you are not yourself and that you should be expected to be a tad unstable and weepy. It’s not a bad concept, really. All my love, Cat Strong

    • It’s OK if I take your advice, too, yes? (Referring to my own post about four above yours.)

      It never occurred to me that it’s not the sad/loss part that I can’t deal with. My relationship with my own mother was… complicated. There is a lot of anger, rage, frustration, possibly even hatred interwoven among the sad.

      I suppose if we don’t deal with it outwardly, we turn it inward. Which, now that I ponder that, explains a lot about what’s happened to and with me in the past 12 years.

      • I would be honoured to have you take my advice. The only use I can see at all for suffering is that it helps you help others in like situations.

  85. I think we create our own meaning — but that this doesn’t preclude a meaning from elsewhere (fate, deity, whatever). As my brother would say, “Hard tellin’, not knowin’.”

    One of the many possible meanings might be that the world and the people in it are reaching out to you when you most need it.

    I hope all that hurts heals soon and well.

  86. Oh geez. So much I can relate to – I dread grief and the way it can smack me from behind and, likewise, that feeling of hitting the pavement when just a second before I was so content on my saddle. And the slow healing that comes with both. But, I have to remember both are parts of life. (And I do believe that every cyclist either has crashed or has one coming.)
    I’m just recovering from a surprise utility wire drooping chest high entirely across a road I had just turned onto – I had some of your same reactions laying there on the road & trying to get home. No blood, but cracked ribs. It has slowed me down and made me appreciate much, even the simple act of breathing!
    I wish you well and good healing, physically, mentally and emotionally.

  87. I am not sure what to say. I am in the same boat, my Mom passed away five months ago. She had been sick a long time. She held on through sheer willpower. She didn’t want to leave me alone. I made it clear I would respect her decision, that it was about her and not me. She decided to go into hospice and was gone in three days. My father died suddenly thirteen years ago. I learned that the white hot grief does cool down into a warm ache and that I needed to let go of the negative feelings and embrace all the happy feelings and good memories.
    Everyone grieves differently. Hopefully some of the comments people have left will help you. I’m still working at it.

  88. Bite your tongue. Bide your time. The second that damn thing is off your hand scream at the universe to back the f back. Message received and totally uncool, thank you very much. I can’t fathom what it is trying to say but I’m pretty sure it is out of line.

    And it really, really stinks your knitting is “restricted”.

  89. I hope your physical hurts heal fast. The emotional ones will take longer. My mom died four years ago this past August 4 just eight days shy of her 89th birthday. My mom had Alzheimer’s and I’ll be just fine and then the show I am watching will have a female character with Alzheimer’s and I lose it. I’m lucky that I too have a husband that understands my emotional pain and loved my mother as she too loved him so we can comfort each other and share memories of her. My love of fiber comes from her and I have resolved to break the code of learning to purl as a tribute to her this year. I can knit I just have never been able to purl,so I crochet which I taught myself at eight with my mom’s mending crochet hook that she kept in her knitting bag. 🙂

  90. It’s one hell of a distraction but if you don’t mind I’ll find something different for my anniversary later this year.

    It’s a time to plan knitting, match yarn to patterns and assess the deep stash.

  91. Wow. Yeah.
    If I may offer a proverb: “Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.” And, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
    So I’m in the camp that says that it can be a healthy choice for a person to spend time feeling what she feels, without distraction, without pressure to feel the opposite. Authenticity. Sincerity. Truth.
    Understandable that you don’t like the prospect of being swamped with sadness.

  92. Were you doing too much to avoid feeling the grief – maybe? Do you have to feel it at all – yep. Tomorrow will be the 4th anniversary of my brother’s passing and each year it’s just as crappy. Some years more than others. The first year – absolutely the worst. Sending you hugs and get well wishes. And yes – you will have two functioning hands by Sept 14th because I have been looking forward to seeing you at Stitchery for months!!!

  93. Oh, Stephanie, I am so sorry that this happened. I was so worried about you during that last ride for charity. I was afraid that you were going to fall. I always get a bad feeling before people have accidents. I have fallen off of my bike and landed on my face, too. Like you, I thought I was okay. I told people who asked if I was all right not to worry. They left, I staggered, and then fell asleep on the pavement. The glue works well. I would just take it easy and be kind to yourself. Grief from losing family is hellish. It takes time to heal. It will get easier. I hope you’re not in too much pain.

  94. I feel you! Two weeks ago I had a pretty stellar mountain bike crash onto a rock field, down hill, still clipped into pedals with bike above me on side of mountain. Left hand and hip took the brunt of it. They were sure my remarkably bruised and swollen hand would be broken, but x-rays showed my scaphoid had survived. Hoping your outcome is the same!

  95. This my friend is exactly why, when I was in my early 20’s and took a header over the handlebars and walked away from the bike with only bleeding and bruising, I’ve never been on one since. Hoping for quick healing for you. Oh and to do that you literally have to rest. Lots of it. Love from AK.

  96. When my mother died, it didn’t really hit me for six months, and then I had a total meltdown for no apparent reason. You can’t outrun (or outbike) grief, so you just need to give yourself the time it takes to start the healing process.

  97. You tried to run, but you could not hide. We ALL have moments in life when it is simply time to cry. So, cry my dear. It is best right now. Truth sucks. But, there it is. You are not a cosmic cat toy either by the way. You are a woman who misses her mother and that is okay. Be that for now.

  98. I broke that same bone a few years ago after I tripped over the dog. Mostly annoying, happily not too painful. Cast for a few weeks, and then life went on. Sorry you got hurt…

  99. Oh! My! Goodness! Ben away for a wedding and I come back and read you took a bad spill that actually did real damage. SO sorry this happened and hope healing happens soon for you.

    Aug. 22 is a tough day for me too. The tough days keep adding up with each year that passes. Loving thoughts help.

  100. Trading one pain for another. I’ve done that. I also continue to grieve for loved ones years after they’ve been gone. It doesn’t go away, but it does get easier. Thank you for your post.

  101. My daughter fell on her bike and broke her tibular spine. I’m sorry for the pain and recovery time you will have to go through. People offered to help her. She also told them she was fine.

    Then her manager called us (she was close to work, continued to walk there on her broken knee), took her to the ER and we met her there.

    Advice to all: when people offer to help you, consider letting them. I write this for myself as much as anyone. It will shorten the time before you get into the long triage line at the ER.

  102. Late but have to say I wish I could give you a hug. Beneath your ever-present humor this seems like such a hard story. At the time you need distraction most the universe has taken it away.

    As I am sure many others have said, I am glad that your injuries are not worse.

  103. When my husband died not long before a Christmas I was wondering how to get through it. I heard a story about a man who avoided the grief by going to Mexico for Christmas. Thought it would be good to forget about things. When he returned his friends asked how it was and he said “they have Christmas in Mexico”. Moral is, you can’t run ( or ride) away, but you deal with it and you cry and you hurt. And I hurt for you just thinking about it. And I’m so hoping you’re finding the strength just to be there and let the sorrow do it’s worst. And hugs help. ( well they did for me).
    Now here’s to healing, in more ways than one.

  104. I know that you like me, look for messages from the universe to explain the unexpected. Sometimes the explanation is Shit Happens.
    As we know now, you may not have the use of both hands by the 15th. Take time to heal. Feel mom wrap around you to say “hey, baby girl, slow down, you’re moving too fast”.

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