And lo, such a thing exists

As much as I thought it might not, time is starting to assume its normal course.  The days are starting to be the length that I expect them to be, not stretching out in front of me like a desert I didn’t bring enough water to get across.  For a while there I had to be so busy just to fill those days up. Walking, riding, swimming, cleaning, organizing… if I stopped too long and tried to do something like write or knit then I had too many of those pesky feelings all at once and had to clean out another damn closet. Now I’m mostly okay as long as I don’t think about how Thanksgiving is in two and a half weeks and I really don’t know how to manage that holiday if I can’t have it with my mother and where do we have dinner now for all the holidays and really I’m going to have to move because my dining room can’t hold everyone and… see. There it goes.  I’ll worry about that next week when it might not result in having to clean all the grout in the house with an old toothbrush after jogging 3km.

The point, before I started worrying again, was that things are okay enough now (oh man who is going to make the pies) that as long as I stay sorted, I can knit, and it feels like it helps a lot, and what’s really interesting is that this idea, that once the shock passes, that knitting is going to be a really useful way through grief… It’s not just me who thinks it. My inbox (thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful notes and letters and thoughts, I am reading them all, even if I can’t answer) is chock full (okay there are five) people who have written to me not just to suggest that knitting would be helpful (because there are a lot more than five of you who think that) but to call the kind of knitting they think would be helpful “Grief Knitting.”  These charming knitters have even gone so far as to cite the specific projects that they think would be the most helpful, and you know what’s interesting? They have a lot in common.

All the projects are challenging – challenging from the perspective of that particular knitter, for sure, but challenging none the less. They were kinda tricky for the knitter to complete, and they took up some of that scary mental energy that comes with grief. (Oh no mum always makes the turnips too.) All the projects are things that sparked a tremendous amount of joy and pride – the knitters think what they made was beautiful, and feel that they did a good job… and finally (here’s where it gets weird.) All of the projects but for one, were for babies.

Think about that. It’s a pretty compelling bit of information, and it makes me feel better that the two things I’ve knit since my mum died are both tiny things.  First the little hat, and now Elliot is bedecked in a matching sweater.

gussweater 2017-09-21

It’s beautiful to be sure – the yarn is Northampton, but with a bit of a twist. It was the natural colour, but I gave it to Judith to dye at the last Strung Along retreat, and it went for a swim in her indigo pot.  It’s a beautiful blue now, and reminds me of her when I look at it, which is really quite nice, and it suits Elliot pretty well.

wholegus 2017-09-21

The pattern is Gus, and here’s where it didn’t quite fit the bill to be Grief Knitting, it was pretty easy.  The pattern’s well written – so I didn’t struggle with anything at all.  I’ll have to try something from a less competent designer next.

gussweater2 2017-09-21

I tell you this, even unfinished (which it technically is, I’m waiting for the buttons) it does spark a tremendous amount of Joy.  Part of it is that little face, and the other part?  It is the pockets. I can’t tell you how much I love pockets on a baby sweater. It gives me an unreasonable amount of happiness to think of two perfect, tiny pockets, in a proper, handy spot… all for someone who has absolutely nothing to put in them.

pocketsgus 2017-09-21


198 thoughts on “And lo, such a thing exists

  1. Glad to hear you’re weathering your “grief storm.” Time….
    As for Elliott’s pockets, they could hold a toy (baby’s keys or other fun grabby thing), or a “binky” if he uses such a thing. He’s such a cutey! Babies are good medicine for us, especially us grandmas!

  2. Elliot sure is lucky to have you for his grandma.

    I’m sure he will have lots of things to put in his pockets, but in the mean time, you might try hiding his hands in there and see if he can find them!

  3. Well, watch out! He’s going to be driving your car and balancing your cheque books and maybe running the country soon. He’s growing so fast!!

  4. You need to make a wee teddy just to fit in that tiny empty pocket. Oh and put it on a string so it doesn’t go away on adventures by its self.

  5. Our dad passed away nine days ago. My sister has scrubbed her entire house with a toothbrush while I can not focus on anything. I take a piece of paper and move it from one place and then later move the same piece of paper back to the original place. Her brain is moving a mile a minute while my brain is not thinking at all. It is all so strange. But this too will pass.

    • So hard a time. My heart goes out to you as I lived that almost 30 years ago now when I was 17, and I remember that shell shocked state and thinking/wishing it was all a dream. I kept thinking he was going to walk in the door.

    • My dad passed away 5-1/2 years ago and my brother and I had to get the house ready to sell and move mom into assisted living (legally blind, she couldn’t live alone and neither of our homes were suitable–plus she didn’t want to move in with her children). We were busy. But after I returned to my home (600 miles away), I couldn’t do anything but lie on the sofa and read. And cry. Which lasted until I finally had enough and decided to get a new job (I had to leave my old one when dad was dying). I still cried easily for months. And I hadn’t been much of a crier in adulthood until then.

  6. So glad to hear that rays of sunshine are finding you again. Love, hope, and knitting are some powerful tools. I’ve been thinking of you often- you’re so able to put words to feelings and events that nearly everyone knows but cannot always voice. Thank you for sharing. E-hugs to you and that little charmer, Elliot.

  7. Oh what a cutie he is! Just keep knitting for him – doesn’t he need matching socks? IF you really need more time you could decide to celebrate with your fellow knitters to the south and that would give you until mid-late November. Just saying. Keep on knitting – whatever you want….

  8. Grief is a funny and sometimes exhausting thing.
    When my Nana died (she was like a mother to me, and for all of my 44 years at the time, she’d been there for everything), I couldn’t knit either. She was a lover of my hand knit socks, and she rests in a pair to be exact. Sometimes I miss her so much still that the tears still come, but gradually it gets a little better. And every time that I do something that she did, like make chocolate chip cookies for the family, host Christmas dinner, etc. I feel a little bit of her in me. Peace to you.

  9. I am glad things are getting easier. As for Thanksgiving, fake it. Do the bits you love doing, and buy the rest pre-prepped and ready to shove in ovens and microwaves. Its the time spent with family and friends that’s the important bit, not the slaving away over turnips, so spend your time on those elements you can fill with love, and don’t sweat the rest!

  10. Our first holidays without my aunt who hosted everything left us all a bit perplexed. Then we thought about how much love she put into everything and decided we had better get busy doing that and it happened, and it was OK. A little hard, but it was a gathering of everyone she loved and that made it OK. You’ll do your mum proud, and she’ll be looking to see how you begin to make hosting the holiday your own. Blessings on you all as you continue to navigate this new life. PS Sometimes, babies really point the way in these times.

    • So true. Potluck may be your friend this year. And if there isn’t room at the dining room table, bring in more tables or eat from your laps or TV tables. The only thing that truly matters is that you gather together and eat.

  11. I lost my father right before Thanksgiving. I recommend not trying to do “what we’ve always done.” Change things a bunch: eat different foods, eat differently (buffet instead of sit down), etc. Just change. That gets you past year 1. After that, its less painful to reimagine the holiday, less painful to go back to tradition just changing the players a little. My husband moved up to carving the turkey. You’ll figure your traditions out.

    • I agree. This year the holidays are neither what they were nor what they will become. Just celebrate as you can and don’t try to make them any certain way. Probably everyone who used to gather at your Mum’s is also considering how to reinvent the celebrations, so you can all help each other.

      • Wow, so beautifully, perfectly put. I will tuck this away – one of those ideas that I don’t want to have to know but will be glad for if and when I need it.

    • My husband died shortly before a Christmas, and so we just did if completely differently. My teenagers are now parents themselves and we still do things the “new” way, just because ….
      Point is, don’t try to replicate just do what you can.
      And snuggle with Elliot, because snuggling a baby is always good.

  12. Grief knitting by making baby things does make sense to me. Take that love that is hurting so much right now, and channel it forward, to a young life just getting started. It’s the circle of life.

  13. Love the sweater, pockets and all, and I’m glad you can knit again. When you first showed us this sweater, your hands were blue. How did you fix the running dye enough so that you dare sit the little darling wearing it on the almost white couch?

  14. My Daddy died at the end of March; it will never be easy, but I am getting to where I don’t want a vat of chocolate to soak in while using sheets to wipe my nose when I cry (it isn’t pretty)…. and I am knitting for my wee person. I want her to know how much I love her and, I hope, her parents are saving things as she outgrows them for HER wee people, just in case I’m not there to do the same for them. My go-to right now is an afghan — a huge, freaking afghan… and socks… and a wee sweater for Miss… and a sweater for me… all while I watch “Marple” and wonder who will make our traditional German Potato Salad at Christmas…. The love lasts…. I keep reminding myself…

  15. My Mom passed a few years back on our US Thanksgiving. It will always be a bittersweet holiday for me now, one to celebrate with the togetherness of family and a day to feel such a big loss. I know your Mom will be with all of you as you gather in a few weeks as my Mom is with us in spirit.

  16. Okay, so Elliot is truly the second most beautiful child in Canada…. the first being of course, my grandson! Knitting and other textile arts do keep us sane and it is a wondrous thing to be able to create such beauty out of such mundane objects. It helps to maybe, just maybe help us make some sense out of the madness that is life and death. My mother is dying, I am confused and scared…. but I keep making. An old friend of mine posted just yesterday on facebook and today I find out that he is suddenly gone….. but I will still keep making. Keep making dear Harlot, and hopefully the beauty of what comes from our hands will help keep our hearts warm….. that and those perfect little faces of our next generation…..

  17. How about Aran Sweater by Melissa Leapman? Small, yet complex and he’ll look like he’s been fishing in the North Sea. I’ve never knit it, but with any luck it might be poorly written ;).

  18. Your mom lives on through you and Elliot, she will always be a part of each generation whether they knew her or not, she’s looking down enjoying each and every one of you, she wants you all to smile and remember her well. Your beautiful Elliot(and he is!) has her in him! Have peace over her going to a better place, enjoy each moment for her. Love the sweater, what a beautiful boy!!

  19. My prayers are with you. Things will become even in your world soon. You are your Mum and her love is with you always. You have a wonderful family .

  20. That is a glorious sweater for an even more gloriously beautiful baby. Knit as much as you need and want, let others step up & help with Thanksgiving & know that the love you shared with your mother lives on in your heart, right along with all the memories.

  21. Perhaps you could try knitting a toy next? There’s plenty of interesting and challenging ones to choose from (I won’t link to my own designs, as I’m sure you’d rather have the fun of browsing through the cuteness on Ravelry). Then, if you enjoy the first one, you can knit more for the other wee ones in your life.

  22. You have three grown daughters – delegate – or in politer terms allow them to grow some traditions. Call them; ask them to help make this year’s Thanksgiving memories.

  23. Steph, you’re getting there, bit by bit. If you find the knitting helpful, keep knitting. The sweater is perfect for Elliot! Besides, doesn’t he need a Christmas stocking? And an Advent calendar? And … the possibilities are endless!

    Don’t stress about Thanksgiving. You know it will be a melancholy holiday this year, without your mom and Millie there, so why drive yourself crazy (or crazier)? Have it catered, even if you order pizzas. Serve it buffet-style, and people can sit wherever they find a place to park their butts. Use disposable dinnerware. Let others get all uptight if they want. The time spent with family and friends is more important.

  24. Oh that sweet sweet face:)! Cannot imagine your grief, though I know the pain of losing one’s mother. Mine died in a car accident when I was just a few months shy of 9. The pain was so intense and lasted for so long, that I never realized how I never really lost her. She’s been with me for decades. Only now, when I am closer to finally seeing her again, do I know this. Your mileage may vary as far as belief in an afterlife of course. But if your mind is open to the possibility, I hope you can grieve completely and fully, feeling the feels and dealing as you only can, because then you will be able to heal as far as you are meant to heal and then you will feel her with you. XXOO

  25. Knitting for a charity and Battlestar Galactica (inspired by your blog posts years ago) helped me survive a time of grief. I am hoping you find just the things you need to ease your way.

  26. It *is* beautiful, though I daresay anything on that child would be as he is as beautiful as my own babes were (I’d say moreso, but I’m unfairly biased). I write with a little tip I got from a Grandmother in my Knit Night group: pocket fiddlers. She makes sweaters for her grandbabies/children and inside the pockets sews things for little fingers to fiddle with. Lengths of yarn, yarn with a button attached to the end, or knots, or lengths twisted together and folded back on themselves. Secret little things that stay in the pocket and are never lost and can give little fingers something to fiddle even before they realize how relaxing that can be. A little secret between you and them.

    I feel like, with all the love in your life, this hole may quickly be dwarfed by how much your heart will grow from your family and friends and the people who care about you.

  27. Yes, I remember all the “firsts” and they suck. But look at that sweet little “bringer of joy” you have! They say if you’re said, try doing something for someone and it will help (it does, by the way) and I can find no better example that your beautiful sweater for Elliot…
    (oh, and about the holidays: delegate, delegate, and delegate some more!)

  28. Steph, I lost my mother in 2009; I cannot possibly believe that it has been this long. I will make one small thought to consider. I knit through the dark days of staying in my mother’s apartment, cleaning out all of her possessions, and sorting family memories. I kept my share of things that have no meaning to anyone but me- the old rolling pin with the red wooden handle that falls off when you make the mince pies that no one eats at Thanksgiving, and I knit through the months that followed when I could not remember phone conversations that I had 3 minutes ago (it took 6 months for my short term memory to back where it should be). All of that grief knitting, I suddenly could not be around. It brought everything back. So, I know that you probably do this, but wash your knitting, let the autumn wind blow through it to carry the sadness away, and wish the recipient well- and let it all go. Don’t knit anything that stays in the house for….a little while. After you get through the first (or second) holiday that breaks your heart, it gets better, and good memories become sweet again, rather than the ache that takes your breath away. Now some one (Sam?) gets to take the pie mantle on-and revel in it, creating the new normal. Holidays evolve-and that is the glory of them.

  29. When my mother died, Spring was just starting to think about considering a peek around the corner. (It was February and I live in Minnesota; our weather is fickle.) I came back to work after traveling for the funeral and spied a little flock of chirping birds in a leafless crabapple tree.
    When my father died, cardinals were everywhere. The birds helped me see where to go next.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. And I am happy to see that you are finding your way through. Be well.

  30. You’ve just reminded me – I learned to knit a few months after my Mom passed away in 2008. I couldn’t focus enough to read (which is my main pasttime), but I could knit. As a new knitter, I took on a huge (to me) baby blanket and cast on 303 stitches (SEVERAL TIMES) and had to work a complicated pattern that changed every few rows and had something like 12 different rows to knit in repeats to make a 36×36 blanket. I couldn’t knit more than three rows in an evening because of the concentration that it took. I ended up stopping at 32×32 because the baby was turning 1 and I wanted her to have it for her birthday. That blanket, and knitting a scarf in the round for the first time, took up most of the first year after losing my Mom. I found your writing in that year, too, and your humor helped too. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other – focus on the now – the future will work itself out.

  31. My dad has terminal cancer and I’m sort of in a pre-grief stage, which feels an awful lot like grief except for the knowledge it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Having never felt the need to knit dishcloths before, I’ve suddenly discovered dishcloths as therapy. I dredged up a lot of old cotton and bamboo leftovers from the deep stash and in the rare moments when I have time to knit I’m just churning out the dishcloths. In a time of abject helplessness it feels like I’m achieving something, even if it is just a growing pile of garter stitch squares.

    Much love to you as you keep moving through your grief. That darling little boy will be a great comfort to your family in the coming holidays, and in a Canadian winter, your grief knitting will be well appreciated.

    • I am sorry to read about your journey, but you have helped me just now. I call them spa cloths, but maybe I am up for knitting some dish(spa)cloths. Thank you!

    • A friend’s husband is terminal. She wanted to learn to knit socks, but can’t see well enough for sock yarn. If worsted ankle socks prove too hard, I will suggest dishcloths/spa cloths, and find her some pretty red cotton to make them. Thanks for a good idea.

  32. Little by little, step by step, one foot after the other. Be kind to yourself. And remember, grief isn’t a straight line, but more like a zig zag. Know that you have a wide world of people thinking of you and your family.

  33. Writing everything down helps keep the flow moving forward. Charts, graphs, whatever works best for you will be indispensable to keep track when the flurry runs smack dab into the heart storms. You and yours are all held in warm healing, regards.

  34. Goodness, yes, those pockets and sweater are marvelously charming, though the baby inside takes the cake.

    As I read your words I remembered swimming in grief, thinking that my strong self had been turned to eggshells or chalk or a pillar of salt, and feeling that if I moved too fast or too slow (never was quite sure which was the problem) I would inevitably shatter, and the gasping tears would start again. I stumbled through each day thinking but not entirely believing what I was told — the only way out is through. I began to knit those simple roll-brim baby hats over and over again, though there were no babies to wear them at that moment. And then one day I was done with them, and gave them away, and things turned a corner.

    So I wholeheartedly agree, knitting for babies is just the thing. Hope you’ll share the 5 suggestions you received for healing knitting projects, if you feel you can.

  35. I am older…but I have some answers…I too have lived through those horrendous losses…and had to endure them at long distance…grieving from another country is the pits…it is deep, it is piercing, it is hard…. But time..oh, that beautiful time, has a way to come in between breaths and remind us, that in the midst of all this unknown pain, life has a way to continue, we still love, we are still loved and we must take that breath that makes us feel guilty….because if we breathe, it means we are moving on….I feel like I held my breath for months….
    Living in another country means that the pies, and the turnips, (in my case Chilean empanadas and pastries) just take a twist. I now make my own….and the baked chicken and jello salad that mom used to make so well, I made those too…And my children have their own version of family traditions, and reminded me that I did not have to do it all…. Unlike you, my children eventually moved to other states and another country… took me by surprise to realize that my Christmasses and New Years and Thanksgivings, would be taking a different shape…. And lo and behold…. Husband and I woke up one Christmas without a child, without a sound, without grandchild….and realized that it was not bad after all…and took ourselves to the only open restaurant (nobody is out on that morning) and understood that life is full of twists and turns….. We did celebrate Christmas and New Year a week late…with the same love and joy…just on our own time..
    I wish you peace, I wish you love, I wish you new memories to adapt to…..

  36. I’m not surprised the “grief knitting” projects are for little people. But of course. And little Mr. Hashtag is so oblivious of your loss, he can’t help but draw you in and away from sad feelings. That smile! As my dad used to say about my son, he’s a perfect Gerber baby.
    And yes, pockets. For his wallet and reading glasses and tickets to the show.

  37. Yes, baby clothes knitting is the perfect antidote to grief, no question about it. I am so sorry you’re going through all this – the shock, first of all, and of course the loss. It takes a long time to adjust to a world that doesn’t have a parent in it. It’s like the roof’s been blown off your house or something. Thank God you have that beautiful little baby to focus on!

  38. I have no words of advice. Just thoughts wishing that I could bring comfort. Both you and Elliott will be having lots of firsts. Hopefully his firsts will take some of the sting out of yours. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that life goes on. Thankfully, you have your loving family to work and walk through this with.

  39. You’ll get through this time the same way you knit one of your beautiful shawls: one stitch at a time, one day at a time. That’s all you need to do. And little Elliott’s sweater is gorgeous! That baby is pure magic 🙂

  40. The sweater is beautiful and the baby infinitely more so.

    When I lost my father (quickly and unexpectedly and in an ICU), mindless knitting with beautiful yarn turned out to be what I needed. But you are a much better knitter than I. Whatever pattern and yarn speak to you right now-please know that I am holding you in my heart.

  41. A few suggestions to consider
    a. your sister owns a restaurant that probably has more than enough tables. It comes with a kitchen containing a big oven for the turkey and joy of joys, a big shiny dishwasher.
    b. rutabaga boiled up with an apple, drained, add butter, a splash of maple syrup and a pinch of nutmeg. Can be made 2 days ahead.
    c. pumpkin cheesecake with caramel sauce if pie making is not your thing.

  42. What a beautiful boy! Lucky you to have him in your world. My thoughts are with you. May you be comforted by sweet memories of your Mom and by the presence of your family and friends.

  43. My father-in-law died a few weeks before (US) Thanksgiving. And because we had flown cross-country on short notice to be there for his last few days, we weren’t going to be able to make the whole trip again a few weeks later for the holiday. I don’t remember that Thanksgivng at all — I’m honestly not sure what my husband and I did. But what I do remember is knitting a little toy dog, a gift for my niece’s first birthday. It had much in common with the Grief Knitting projects you describe (I upped the challenge quotient by teaching myself double knitting so I could make the ears a different color on the inside). I remember thinking when I finished it that it was one of the nicest things I had knit, and had come out exactly how I’d envisioned it, and how therapeutic it was to put my heart into a gift for the bright little spark of a child who was (at that time) the newest member of the family. Our family was remaking itself, as all families constantly do, and it felt good and hopeful to focus on the young and the new.

    It’s coming up on the time of year that is the anniversary of my father-in-law’s death, and this year my first child is the youngest member of our ever-renewing family. My niece is about to turn seven. She doesn’t remember her grandfather, of course, but she’s seen the photos of him holding her, love and delight radiating from his face.

    I expect this fall will bring some sadness, as the anniversary of that death nears, because it hurts to know that I’ll never get to introduce my baby to his wonderful grandfather. So I appear to be pre-emptively grief knitting a small stuffed toy for my little one. It’s adorable and fiddly and I can only work on it in the few minutes a night between when he goes to bed and when I zonk out (he’s about Elliot’s age), but I don’t think it’s an accident that I started this rather impractical-for-a-new-mom project just now.

    Hugs to you, and squees for your adorable little guy (second only in my eyes to MY adorable little guy 😉 ), and hold him tight and hang in there.

  44. If you’re anything like me, your ideas about the right way to deal with your mothers’ death will change as the weeks and months go by. The process is part of the natural order of things I guess, and you are obviously smart enough and kind enough to let it evolve for yourself. Sending you so much Stephanie, and hope for better days ahead.

  45. I think I remember years ago you blogged about someone you knew who was in a bad place and you gave him a set of DPNs, some fine yarn, and the pattern for Scottish stockings. And he was a novice knitter. So you already knew, somewhere inside, that complicated knitting is a great remedy. Why not knit a beautiful fine shawl and design it with all your mother’s favourite things? Then when it’s done, you can wrap yourself in it and remember how much she loved you and all the times she held you and kept you safe.

  46. My father died three days before Thanksgiving and the day before his birthday. I returned all the gifts to the stores (anything to keep busy), but we went to a restaurant for the meal. By Christmas, though, I thought we’d better pull up our socks so I learned to carve the bird, made all the usual dishes and we did it in his memory. Hang in there – it does get better.

  47. Elliot is adorable and his little sweater is really sweet on him.
    One day at a time Stephanie, memories will soon bring you smiles instead of tears. xo

  48. In time you develop a new ‘norm’ as far as schedules and holidays. You will always miss the old normal. However, it will get easier. The sadness won’t take up all the space in your head and heart. For now, just be. Just be the person that you are and we all love. Embrace that wee little baby. He is a new generation of love for you that his great grandma is watching over.

  49. Your grandson continues to be one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. He’s a good reminder that life goes on. As to those pockets, clearly he is in need of a fiddly-to-knit wee toy or two, don’t you think?

  50. Thanksgiving is going to be wrong and weird and it is not surprising. The world that was is broken.

    But we can create from broken things (eventually) and new bits will patch together the old pieces into something wholly unique.

    We love you and pictures of that wee man sending out healing joy into the world. Thank you!

  51. THAT FACE! What joy you must feel when you see him! I know how hard the upcoming holidays will be. I lost my husband early last year so I know that normal things just aren’t normal anymore. We chose to do the holidays differently. Since the holidays will never be the same for us, instead of steak and lobster on Christmas Eve, we have spaghetti and meatballs. I couldn’t pretend things were “normal” so we chose to make a new normal. The benefit is, I spend more time actually being with children and grandchildren and not in the kitchen!! After all, our family is what the holidays mean to us, right? Don’t worry about the food. Really.

  52. Busy is good, that’s where I went.
    Baby knitting? Well, I would try explain death to my daughter when she was young and adored the Lion King that it was that circle of life thing, someone leaves someone arrives, that and everyone’s a snack for somebody else. (I found bad humour worked for me too).
    We used to shove a table diagonally into our 8’x12′ sunroom (that would seat 8) and if there were more there’d be a second table going in the adjoining living room. Ended up building a 16′ x 20′ room on the back of the house and have done 16 or more for dinner.
    You my dear are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Enjoy that clean house 😀

    • I experienced the circle of life in a very real way this past week. One the same day a cousin on my husband’s side of the family passed away, my hsuband’s niece gave birth to a baby one month early (she’s in NICU, but doing well) and I started a new job after many months of unemployment. It’s been a crazy, stessful week of both grief and joy. Sometimes life seems too full, but today I see that everything is balancing out.

  53. I am glad you are beginning to feel a little better, and if cleaning things helps you slow down the rate of processing feelings, clean away – it’s ok to reduce the feelings to bitesized increments! My mom is almost 92 and puttering along but I know I won’t have her forever and I am just not sure how that will feel when it happens… if it makes me clean things, my daughter will thank me…

  54. I’ve always felt the same way about pockets on baby things. I love them!
    I imagine they are filled with very important things , like love and hope and dreams, things babies do have, and they don’t need to struggle with fingers to grasp them.

  55. (OK< sorry if this is a repeat thought, but the first 30+ comments didn't go here, so maybe it will be an addition to the discussion…)

    Not challenging = intense frustration, which is certainly the case when a pattern is, shall we say, not written as our own brain would prefer to have it presented(!), but really, technically challenging, so that it fully absorbs your focus into a clear, intent point for a period of time….for you, Missy, I'm not at all sure what the heck that might involve–serious and ridiculous Shetland wedding ring shawl production?!?–but something that's hard enough that it take-up all the space in your brain…THAT is surprisingly calming, and refreshing, when the inside of a head's been a turbulent mess for all sorts of reasons. It's very much like meditation in an active and focussed form. It's neurologically soothing, like combing all of the jumbled fibres into one unified roving…and being able to repeat that focussed state several times through the day (by picking up your project) starts to add up to calmer, clearer thinking.

    (I used this not for grief, but while partnering my husband through a long intense illness, the last weeks of which resulted in organ transplant surgery and recovery…I could set up my pattern and little crochet hook and bead container in the waiting room and be totally absorbed by the beaded lace project (Swallowtail Shawl, thank you Evelyn A. Clark!) that was a huge stretch for me at that point…)

  56. I’m sure you’ve likely read it, but our pal Rachel Herron’s book, A Life in Stitches, and the chapters on knitting through the grief of losing her mom, were an enormous comfort to me after my dad died 6 years ago. Worth pulling out to give you a literary hug. Thinking of you often these days, my friend, and sending you all the love and strength. One stitch at a time.

  57. The new normal is a strange thing to get used to. When my dad died, I remember being angry at the world for going on with life when mine had been so jarred. That has faded & I realize that life does go on.

    I love grown up sweaters on little ones – they’re absolutely adorable & the pockets make them even more so. I second the idea to knit a little thing to keep in a pocket. That would be too cute.

    Be well. We’re still here for you & sending good thoughts.

  58. I knitted a bunch of tiny, tiny Mochimochi things–I still have a little chicken I keep in my office–after my mom died (has it really been 6 years ago???) I also did a LOT of retail therapy, which kind of took me over. Fortunately the big ticket items were things we really did need, and we had the money to afford them.

  59. I’m a novelist, and I once went through a storm of grief so intense that I couldn’t write for 10 months. I couldn’t be that still or alone with my thoughts. What helped me a lot was weaving–something about stomping on the pedals, throwing the shuttle, smacking the beater–it was very visceral, it involved my whole body, and it involved just enough mental energy. So maybe that’s something to try, too.

  60. I’m telling you one cure for grief: Looking at your grandson. Doing this just now raised my oxytocin and seratonin levels by 90%, I swear.
    I’ve had a hard month of terrible loss myself, and besides biking up a mountain pass once a week and working my bootie off online, I haven’t really picked up my knitting.
    Maybe I should.
    But before I do, let me sneak one more look at that precious baby.

  61. The pockets–yes, it’s the pockets that make that wee cardigan complete. And lord that baby is getting cuter (and bigger) by the day. He came just at the right time. Maybe it was all supposed to happen that way so you would be carried through by that little one while saying good bye to your mum. He looks like he can shoulder the weight of it, especially in his new sweater.

  62. i’m just astounded at the outpouring of love and support here. Everyone is so kind. The business of Grieving is so difficult. And they now know that the heart actually does break with the aching of it. I hope your mom got to hold and adore Elliot, and I swear that baby is so distinctive looking, so handsome. Best wishes to you, and I like so many here would take some of that grief off of you and wear it for ourselves to help you through this.

  63. What beautiful yarn and such a cute sweater – Elliot looks very healthy and happy. As for the holidays in the first and worst year of grieving, just remember that everyone in your family is grieving – so get them all involved. Where you hold the get together isn’t so important, but it might help everyone’s grief to bring a few dishes to the event right down to flowers for the table. Share lots of memories, cry and hug it out.

  64. Three things: 1. He’s growing so fast! and because I saw the pic on Instagram: 2. did that onesie he’s wearing use to be white? Will his mom be washing a blue, blue baby? and 3. sometimes, it’s OK not to have turnips.

  65. In my family, both my husband and I have lost our moms. His sister’s mother-in-law has reached an age where we no longer request pies from her unless she feels able. My beautiful SIL and I have slowly come to realization that we are now in charge of big family dinners and so we have meted out the responsibilities: My husband now makes my family’s infamous carrot casserole, freeing me to make dressing and other dishes (sometimes pie). Between his sister, his brother-in-law (he carves and cleans the turkey; he’s a surgeon – it made sense), my niece, and various other family members in roles of dish washers and table setters, we have come together in a new way. Mind, the pies have had a few tears baked into them over the intervening years.

    The startling realization that family holidays are inevitable and someone will need make the pie comes with the horrible realization that you are now, possibly, maybe, the matriarch in the family. I would think your sister and your daughters would share the title with you… as you adjust, as we all must, to this new world, this new role… over a great deal of time. xo

  66. It’s so good to read that you’re starting to feel like getting on with things now. I’m not surprised that the suggested grief knitting was mostly for babies. When I was grieving after a miscarriage, one of the ways I managed was knitting baby hats–to donate for preemies. It seemed counter-intuitive even at the time, and yet somehow, it helped.

  67. I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief strikes everyone differently and there are many different layers to it. My fiance of 14 years passed away at 44 and my world turned upside down. All things I knew as normal ceased. I had days, weeks, months of quiet time and I couldn’t bring myself to knit a single stitch. Not one. I’m not sure if it was because I couldn’t focus long enough on it, or if the simple act of doing something I loved made me feel guilty that he couldn’t do the same. Two years later and I’ve slowly started knitting again, first with super easy projects like dish cloths and now I’m about to embark on something a little more challenging.
    Each first you encounter without your mother will be hard (first holiday, first birthday, etc.) Some of the seconds are equally difficult but as you said you are coming to find a new normal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. People will say horrible, insensitive things to you and all you can do is have compassion for them, they have NO idea what they’re talking about. All the cliche sayings are not comforting in the least but yet they still get repeated.
    Hugs to you, thank you for sharing your life with me, I look forward to each day, allowing me a few moments to escape my own grief.

  68. I had a miscarriage last week, five months into my pregnancy, so I’ve put aside all the baby knitting for a little while. Instead my grief knitting is taking the form of the Flight Path shawl, in shades of purple. Highly recommend it – just a little challenging, but still wonderfully repetitive. Thanks for writing so openly about grief and the weird path it takes. We’ll keep moving forward.

  69. That smile that Eliot gives you when he sees you taking his picture is priceless. You are a lucky grandmother.

    Grief knitting is real. I didn’t do anything intricate after my mom died but I threw myself into charity knitting and produced a bunch of hats. I knew my mom would be proud of my using my talents to help those less fortunate–just as she did in her life. Take care Steph. So many of us understand your pain.

  70. “The pattern’s well written – so I didn’t struggle with anything at all. I’ll have to try something from a less competent designer next.”

    The humor is peeking through. Good for you.

  71. Beautiful! (The sweater too lol.) In the photo with the sweater laid flat, the blue looks rather tropical and makes me think of that first trip you took with your mum after her retirement. Such great memories you will be able to enjoy when you get there.

  72. Grief Knitting – yes that totally makes sense. I have always done what I call OCD/anxiety knitting – I firmly believe that having my knitting with me at pretty much all times keeps me calm “just in case”. I also am always knitting some form of rainbow dishcloth because rainbows give me such joy. every.time. 🙂
    I am so sorry for your loss, your words of grief speak so beautifully to the human process of loss. Thank you for keeping on, and for coming to us to share your process, I feel honored. I have followed you for many many years. I am sending you so much love and light (cause while we have never met – this whole internet thing is crazy and I believe in the power of group consciousness – even if my rational virgo self does not want me too!)
    Keep on keeping on rockstar you will make it, one day sometimes one hour or one stitch at a time, you will make it.
    Love and light and many many blessings of grace and strength, Ashley

  73. My Grampa passed away last June at the age of 93, and after my husband he was the most important man in my life. I still miss him something awful. This sweater that you made for Elliiot.. is the exact same kind of sweater he always wore. I have two now, both long, one with pockets. I just bought the second a few weeks ago and my oldest son said, “Don’t you already have a sweater like that?” and without even thinking I said, “Yes. It reminds me of my Grampa.” When I wear them it is like a hug from the great beyond. I have a little nephew now (the only one in a gaggle of girls on all sides). I’m thinking I need to make him this sweater. He’s 2 now. I hope it comes in larger sizes.

  74. My parents died within six months of each other and the first holidays were very hard for all of us. Mom had always insisted on doing most of the cooking for the holidays. My sister, brother, and I took over cooking duties that first year. There were a lot of tears, but we wanted to celebrate the holidays as we always had. It gets easier.

    And having a distraction like the charming Elliott helps. That is a great sweater and he looks very pleased to be wearing it. Does he need a matching set of booties?

    My thoughts are with you at this time and I wish you all the best.

  75. Baby Elliot is just so stinkin’ CUTE!!! How wonderful it is that we have these little people in our lives to remind us of what joy there still is. I’ll be thinking of you as you weather these coming difficult holidays. Hugs.

  76. what a wonderful thing you have pointed out with those wee empty pockets — we start out life without the urge to accumulate! there’s hope for our world yet.

  77. Losing a parent sucks. Please be gentle with yourself, especially with holidays. Grief will catch you at the strangest times. I hope you memories of your mom are a comfort to you. Peace
    The following is something I posted on Rav after I read the description you had written about her. I hope you like it.
    “Mum had 4 kids in 5 years, then raised us first while being hampered by a spouse with divergent goals, then on her own when he…er….”moved on”. While she did this, she also got a degree from University and worked full-time to pay for the costs of the aforementioned 4 kids. Plus she did laundry. (If you are a mother of little ones, please know that the sharp intake of breath and then the low whistle that escaped you is normal and a healthy sign of respect for how totally tough that must have been).”
    In my family the highest praise we have for someone like this would be, “What a dame.”
    A dame (also known as “one tough broad” is a woman who has a spine of steel and survives whatever life throws at her. Not without scars but with a biting humor that takes no prisoners and suffers no fools. And in the midst of all that, is able to protect her kids from the worst of life’s storms.

  78. Lucky Elliott to have pockets! He seems to be an absolute natural at knitwear model. Must be genetic.

    Ah, the turnips ( or all those other things). My mom did them too and always hosted the meals. The first Christmas without her my sister and I shared the cooking. The turnips were a tad ‘overdone’ or as my foodie sister commented “rustic”. So think of our rustic turnips as you or someone in the family makes them. And it’s okay if you add a little salt with a tear or two. Memories taste that way.

  79. Now we know why the elders were pensive at the holidays when we were children without a cloud in our sky. Our old normal was a day they built for us with love in the midst of their own memories of loss and change.

    My mom died 3 years ago very suddenly. My grief knitting was finishing her WIPs. She was a prolific knitter and always had things in “travel” and “finally finish it-tricky bits” stages. I finished 8 pairs of socks, 2 shawls, at least 4 sweaters, some slippers, and a crapload of dishcloths. I didn’t finish anything older than five years, I figured that was on her, not me. I knew they’d need to be done sooner or later and decided I’d do them while i couldn’t possibly feel any worse. I gave many of them to family members, the ones that appreciated it, I didn’t squander them on the oblivious.

    Dishcloths became a panacea. They are completely fungible, when you finish a set you cannot point to the one that was during the ride to the funeral home, you can’t know which was which at all and they are made to be used up like a candle is. I gave sets to the three weddings that came in the summer that followed my mom’s death, I felt like they were exactly what all of us needed. The complicated stitch patterns of some of the short row doily style were as meditative as I have ever found anything to be on this earth.

    The love shared in all these posts and comments is amazing. Our world cannot be all bad with all of this love in it. Our mothers are gone but we are still here making love our work.

  80. It’s good that you have family who are grieving as much as you are so you can grieve together.
    The year my mother died my friend gave me an excellent piece of advice, which she had found valuable. When Christmas came around she advised me to go away somewhere difference. Christmas would inevitably be different and staying home in the familiar space would just white that difference. So that first Christmas my two children and I went somewhere warm and interesting and different and had a much better time than I would have thought possible. When we came back, the same point had passed. After that first one, the holiday changes and transitions seemed to be a little easier.

  81. My dad died very suddenly (head trauma) a few years back, and I remember my aunt telling me that one day, I’d wake up and no longer have an actual physical ache in my heart. And she was right, but it took a while. A friend of my sister described the loss of a parent as being part of a club you never wanted to belong to, and she’s right too. It becomes a new normal. I still check in on things with my dad– he was opinionated enough that I have a pretty good idea of what he’d think about most things. 🙂 I wish I could hear what he thinks about our train-wreck of a President, and every time Obamacare survives yet another challenge, I always “let him know,” so to speak– he came from a very blue-collar background and became a doctor, and healthcare for all was his passion. And I wish he could have met my youngest child, and vice versa. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s just hard.

  82. You never quite get over loosing “momma”. I was fortunate to have mine with me until my mid 70’s. Not a day goes by that some little thing reminds me of her. I can promise it will get easier with time. Meantime, you have such a delightful new model for your beautiful knitted pieces. You are truly Blessed.

  83. When my husband died five years ago, I knit like crazy. I was working on a sweater that he had bought me the yarn for, even though he didn’t think I would finish it. Well I did, and I love it, and I’ve knit a bunch more, and I knit without patterns. And I also painted the kitchen, the hallway and the living room and got a new bed (he died in the other one, that didn’t creep me out but I wanted a smaller size). Grief takes a lot of energy. You’ll get through it , but it will take time.

  84. When my grandmother died, I sewed. She taught me to sew, and it seemed like a good way to remember her. I made a dress for my daughter to wear to the memorial service, and just kept on sewing. I was probably knitting, too, but I don’t remember now.

  85. Oh! Lord! Sam move over! There is a new model in town!

    Yes “Grief Knitting” is a way through the tunnel. As far as Thanksgiving, do what feels right. This year maybe all will not be done just the way it “was” but the way it “is”. Keep doing what you can, buy what you wish and let others take on some other bits. Spreadsheet it all with input from other family members. Most of all hug and kiss each other, remember with love and happiness.
    Peace, Love and Hugs

  86. What I know for sure about grief: it takes as long as it takes and everyone is different. Don’t hold yourself to anyone elses’s timetable.

  87. Pockets! And the wee cables! And the shawl collar – with Elliott inside. A cure for melancholy.
    You have been much in my thoughts, no words. Lot of love.

  88. I also agree with the idea of grief knitting.I am not the most accomplished knitter,so after my older sister and best fried died just 7 days before Christmas last year, I cast on a Audrey Shoulder Shawlette. I couldn’t t knit as the author intended,so I added addtional spines to make the shawl more like a hug, and knitted,it in stockinette. I kept,knitting and knitting during those first awful weeks and then made a large knitted-on border. The yarn is a bright beautiful skein of many colors (Fling by YarnLove) and the very brightness helped. I wear the shawl constantly, even as I type this. The color helps, the softness helps, the memories,of my sister I poured into the stitches helps. What still hurts,is all the plans we had: she was a spinner, and has just taken up weavig. I was due to retire in a few years and she was going to teach me to spin and knit now I started to accumulate all those tools. Now I have a large floor loom and three spinning wheels, including a walking wheel, not to mention a carder. I never really wanted to spin or weave, but doing it with her would,have been such fun and was the plan for,my retirement. I will spend,this,Christmas with,my,husband and my girls. It will be good. But I will always miss her. It does get easier, even when someone has been there for you your whole life.

  89. Felt I had to write this when I saw your latest post. Even though you’re pulling yourself in the direction you won’t want to go, it will even out though it’ll never be the same and you’ll miss her every day and though that will feel less with time, it won’t be, because mothers and daughters have such a special bond like no other. But you will cope and the Thanksgiving pies will get done and the turnips too and your mum will be with you when you’re sorting them (unless you can manage to get out of doing them) and she’ll be proud of you. Elliott will occupy some of that void in a way others in the family can’t but you’ll still miss her forever. It’s two, nearly three years since my mum died and though I’d thought I’d done most of my grieving before then, as she was in residential then nursing care for eight years before, I miss her every day (dad too, but in a different way). Like hell. But at times I’m helpless with laughter at her sayings and doings. Hang in there YH – if ever I get to Canada, I’m coming to see you – I love your blog and your sayings and doings too!

  90. When my maternal grandmother passed it felt like I was lost and I don’t think I could pick up my knitting for a while either. When I did again, I did it while ignoring a particular skein of yarn that had already been wound into a ball. So the ball sat in the bottom of this project bag or that, unused. It was supposed to be a pair of socks for feet that now had no more use for them. So it sat and sat, until finally I decided that letting it sit was something I couldn’t deal with anymore. It felt a lot like unfinished business. So I found solace in making this sock yarn into a beautifully intricate lace shawl. And in doing so, I found myself meditating on the previously intended recipient of this yarn. And it felt….good. It felt like closure. It felt like now I had fulfilled the destiny of this yarn and with each stitch it felt like I was not just working up the yards of this yarn but also closing up the wounds that still felt raw. It felt like a salve on the open and inflamed parts of my soul. And when I wrap myself up in this shawl, it feels like I’m wrapping myself in her arms. As you work through the many emotions that make up what we call grief, I hope that you too can find that solace and healing in your work.

  91. Keep knitting tiny things, Steph – it will help you more than you know. Knitting has helped me through every major life trauma I’ve survived thus far, so it has a 100% success rate for me. And yes, knitting for babies kind of projects hope in to the future – hope that things will get better, hope that the grief will mellow out of the crazy, raw, soul-rending thing is it, and hope that out of all of this there will be something good……… the warmth of love made manifest in woolly stitches for a tiny person who brightens your day xxx

  92. Thank you for your perfect words describing the emotions and fears after losing a dear Mother. I too was bereft with impending holidays and a good friend wrote to me advising “We will celebrate the holidays the way our Mothers and Grandmothers taught us” These words continue to give me strength each occasion. May they help you a bit too!

  93. That sweater makes his eyes shine out just so beautifully! Hugs and happy thoughts to push away the worries. And lots of love from blogland.

  94. Add me to the list of pocket-lovers. We ALL need pockets, but pockets for babies??? I put them in all my daughter’s little tiny dresses. *Sigh of contentment*

    I’m so glad you’re finding joy in them!

  95. My grandmother lost her firstborn to what we now know as crib death.
    When the Dr told her he couldn’t revive her baby, she just turned and started walking the hallways of the hospital.
    She came upon a woman that she described as “having the most peaceful look on her face doing something with her hands and yarn”
    Grandma asked what she was doing and the woman smiled and said, “Sit here by me and I’ll show you”. She wound the yarn through Grandma’s fingers and taught her to crochet then and there. She told her to “every little hole is to hold a prayer or happy thoughts.”
    Grandma frequently said “That woman saved my life”.
    Grandma continued to crochet nothing but baby booties-hats-blankets for the next 60+ Years. She gifted them all and they were sent all over the world and some have become treasured heirlooms.
    The focus to put happy thoughts in every stitch to wrap around something so precious helped her move beyond her grief and ‘gave her a place to put all that love for her baby’ .
    Elliott looks so happy! The sweater is so perfect. Especially the pockets.
    My mom used to cut out pictures of bunnies, kitties and puppies for my niece to put in the wee pockets of her overalls.
    My niece insisted on pockets on everything “cause people gib me tings to put in ’em…mosly money..I yike money”
    Kids can always make you smile without trying.

  96. The other advantage of baby knitting as grief knitting (and alas I speak from experience too) is that quite often you give it away, so you don’t have that constant reminder of “that’s what I made while Mum was in hospital” because you see it in your house every day. I made baby hats for friends – fair isle of my own design, so nice and complicated, because I couldn’t bear the idea of knitting something that was for my then 28 week bump and having it with me all the time. In the end, I deviated for the sake of something homemade for my eldest’s second birthday and so when the call came I was sewing up bean bags. But for a woman who had been crafty and creative her whole life and taught me so many skills, that seemed an oddly appropriate moment. Knit on, and know that each stitch will help you breathe more easily x

  97. Picking up the pieces and doing the things our loved ones did in the past is so hard. My mom and her sister, my Aunt Doris, were the pie bakers for all the holidays. Mom did the fruit pies and Doris did the pumpkin pies. They both passed and we, the family, floundered. They were our rocks. Then I realized that I had learned a lot by just watching Mom make pies. Now that is my role and I am honored. I even use the same bowls…. the green one for the fruit and the yellow one for the dough..just like Mom did. And…I use her rolling pin for the pie crusts. I always feel her near me at pie baking time and it has been years since she passed. (However, I have never been able to make her awesome potato salad.)
    My dad was the story teller in the family. After a gathering the family would slowly find their way to where Dad was sitting and the stories just naturally flowed. Then came the year when my Uncle Harry and Dad died within months of each other. What a hole that left. Several months after their deaths we had a family reunion. After the meal was done the family, as a unit, started to just wander about. Our story teller was gone and we felt like we were adrift at sea. However, there are those of us cousins that have become story tellers in our own right. So, it does move on but not without heartache and longing for the past.
    That Sweet Elliot, though……he will be your solace. What a cute, cute, cute guy.

  98. My first time to comment but wanted to share. In 2007 my husband and twin sons died in a plane crash. I had to keep my brain busy so I took up knitting. I had to concentrate on even the simplest patterns just to understand them. That is when I found your blog and have been reading ever since. Now I knit for the enjoyment but back then it was for my sanity. Loss hurts, knitting helps and this will ease after a while. All those first holidays will be hard but you can choose to celebrate Elliott’s firsts instead. Hang in there…life is good.

  99. Hugs… Yeah. Hugs… Your mom is alive in you and in your heart. I remember years ago we would visit my sister in laws camp in the Adirondacks. It is a beautiful and serene place on a hill overlooking the beach and mountains. In the corner of the beautiful wrap around porch sat the elders. We youngers jumped and fetched drinks and snacks . The elders pointed and we jumped. Last summer we were sitting in the corner of the wrap around porch and the subject came up of who are the elders now. We discovered that it was us. The youngers were refilling our drinks and bringing out the snack trays.

    With the wisdom that comes with age your mom gave you the tools and wisdom to be and elder. It is the natural progression of life. I fought becoming an elder tooth and nail. It means I now dye my hair. Take vitamins. Keep regular Dr. appointments. I take exercise seriously. I bought a bike. I strive to active and young. But mother nature is the ruler of our kingdom and she has the final say. So in the matriarchal order in my family I am the eldest. As a younger it never bothered me. It was a proud badge. Now I’m not so quick to claim that title. I prefer to co share it with my siblings. They are quick to identify me as “my older” sister. lol I guess I deserve it as children I always was quick to remind them that I was the “oldest” and that infered that I was the smartest and wisest. AKA the boss. lol

    You are gradually enter the elders. Your wisdom and skills given to you by your mom. I feel that the best way to honor my mom is to share the talents and gifts the elders taught me. Remember your mom is never more than a fond memory away and she always lives in your heart. Hugs

  100. Am I the only one who thinks sweater pockets are a perfect place to put his little tiny hands if they get cold?

    If you want fussy/complicated, here are some sweater/jumper ideas:
    1) Fair Isle – design it yourself
    2) 3-color double knitting
    3) Entrelac

  101. I am so sorry to hear that you no longer have your mum with you (“lost your mother” sounds like you somehow misplaced her at the post office!). In one of life’s coincidences, she passed away on what would have been my mom’s 88th birthday. Mom passed away in 2005 and I still miss her, especially when knitting because that was one of the major things we had in common – and she taught me as soon as I was old enough to hold the needles and resist the temptation to poke my siblings’ eyes out. My granddaughter, now nearing 3, brought the light back in but I’m still sad that my mom never got to meet her. The stabbing grief does diminish with time, but it grief itself lingers in the background as if to remind us that life is precious and bittersweet, not to be taken for granted. You have my deepest sympathy, Stephanie.

  102. I’ve been off the blogosphere lately and am just now catching up.
    I am deeply sorry for the unexpected departure of your dear mother, mine passed away it will be 4 years in late November. It was not unexpected, but that really doesn’t make it less painful, in my opinion.
    It’s good and important that you are resuming your “normal” life, but things have changed forever. She will always be with you.
    Lots of love

  103. Honestly Stephanie,
    I know how hard losing your mum has been for you, but if that adorable babe doesn’t ease your heart and make you feel that the world is an ok place, I don’t know what will. He’s beautiful. That sweater is pretty great too.

  104. Elliot is absolutely precious, and the sweater matches his eyes. Remember, babies heal the soul, and he will help bring you through this time.

  105. Elliot looks so happy and cheerful in the beautiful blue sweater. I love the pockets, too. By the way – you have found another knitwear model.

  106. The most difficult part of this which internally you probably get but haven’t quite allowed yourself to realize is that you are now the Matriarch of the family. You are the one who is going to have to keep in touch with everyone and take on those tasks that you always had your mom for, the kin keeper. You are the one who has to point out who everyone is in old pictures, pass down family stories and traditions, and be the gran that your girls had for Elliot and all the siblings and cousins waiting in the wings. The best part is that you had the best role model ever(and you know how to do spreadsheets.) Accept the torch and remember you have already been doing a great job of training your replacements .

  107. I cannot believe he is sitting up! So beautiful & happy.

    You have a close family, intertwined with strength and love. You will all get each other through this difficult time. Continuing to send virtual hugs your way.

  108. I suppose that what I want you to knit may be more for me than for you. I am eager to see what the Advent calendar will hold this year. If there is one. It may be early for Elliott to have one, and early to start those projects but there is no time like the present to start Christmas presents. Projects that are small and easy may not be what you are looking for, but I love the feeling of accomplishment.

  109. My heart is broken to hear about the passing of your mum. Also Grief knitting is real! It saved me when my first daughter was born still, and when my second daughter was in the NICU. For the later I knit a lace blanket at her bedside, I finished it just before she came home. Pick some tricky lace, with lace on both sides- no rest rows!

  110. Stephanie,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. I lost my dad suddenly in 91 and my mom in 2000. It does get easier over time. When her birthday comes around , my sister and I go out to lunch and talk about the happy times. I keep their memories alive by telling our children and grandchildren stories. Your mother is always with you, remember how much she loved you.

  111. I’m so glad you are having days that don’t feel totally overwhelming and knitting is once again part of your days. Being able to knit for that adorable little man must be a balm for your aching heart. He is so precious and I love his new blue sweater with the sweet little pockets! (It reminds me that I really must pull out my skein of indigo-dyed yarn from Strung Along and get it prepped to make something). Wishing you more days filled with whatever makes you feel better and with the knowledge that your mother lives on in your heart and spirit.

  112. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart absolutely aches for you.
    I am another knitter who can attest to the power of Grief Knitting, although what was helpful for me is a little strange. I lost my daughter to a Group B strep infection 40 minutes after she was born. A week or two after her funeral, I was seized with the urge to knit scarves for every single nurse who cared for me during the three nightmarish days I was in the hospital after my c-section. I called the hospital and asked for the first names of the nurses. There were nine of them. I knit nine scarves. I used the same pattern for all of them, but I used different yarns. I delivered them in person to the L and D ward right before Christmas. I don’t know if the nurses liked them or if they ever wore them. I don’t care. I needed them to know how much their care meant to me and this was the way that I could show it best.

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