Long Haul

The top ten reasons I have deleted blog posts to you in the last 2 weeks – along with random photos of where I have been and things I have been doing.

  1. I have been travelling and working a lot, and by the time I find an internet connection to hit “post” what I wrote seems out date and stupid.

rainbowportludlow 2017-11-23

(The Resort at Port Ludlow on the last day of our retreat, when a rainbow broke out of the (unrelenting) rain.)

2. After my last post, someone wrote me an email saying that I should be nicer to autistic people. My response wasn’t generous, and I deleted it. (Everyone should be nice to everyone – which I was, even though the guy was a jerk. I answered all his questions and gave him my hotspot. I am super nice.)

3. One of the posts was about weaving in ends and I almost bored myself to death writing it, never mind posting it.

mittensontheplane 2017-11-23

(mitten knitting on the plane.)

4. At least three of them just said YES YOU CAN KNIT ON A PLANE.

finishedmittens 2017-11-23

(Finished Cloisonee mittens. That I knit on a plane.)

5. I deleted one by accident and in a fit of rage couldn’t write another.

nowhite 2017-11-23

(Trying to knit a second pair of Cloisonee mittens on the plane when I realized I’d forgotten the white yarn. I had backup yarn for another project but was mightily annoyed.)

6. A few of them were too vulnerable, sad and grief struck. I am generally all of those things right now, but I am trying hard to let those feelings come and go – and writing them down and committing them to the archive felt too much like committing to the dark side. There are times of happiness along with the grief, and because I’ve always believed that you get more of what you pay attention to, I didn’t want to write about grief.

balloffun 2017-11-23

(The backup yarn. Despondent Dyes : Party like you plan to be home at 9:00)

7. Then I decided that it was wrong not to write about grief, because it’s a human thing and it’s what’s happening and it happens to everyone and shouldn’t we talk about it?

snowyretreat 2017-11-23

(The scene just outside Whistler BC, at the Sea to Sky Retreat by Knit Social.)

8. See #6.

9. Thrown off by #’s 6, 7 and 8, I wrote a really happy one, and then decided (because grief makes you a crazy person) that it was disrespectful to my mother’s memory to be too happy and felt guilty that I wasn’t grieving and deleted it.

claraandi 2017-11-23

(The inestimable Clara Parkes and me. In the snow.)

10. I was knitting.

fingerlessmittens 2017-11-23

(Sorta mittens.)

PS I almost deleted this because I remembered it was American Thanksgiving and wondered if my post should be about that (even though it is not Thanksgiving here.) I decided not to. Happy Thanksgiving, American friends.  Happy Thursday to everyone else.


201 thoughts on “Long Haul

      • Very true – and it will continue to hit you at crazy, unexpected times. Here’s my crazy example: My mom died in 1962. She was 27, I was 8 and the oldest of five very young kids. When Austin Powers (the movie) came out, I was so sad, because I thought it would be amazing if my mom could come back from 1962. But of course, she couldn’t. I couldn’t stop crying. For three hours. I was almost 50 years old. Go figure. But there are funny times, happy times and better times, too. It. DOES. Get. Better. XXOO

        • I actually figured he was on the spectrum, too. Doesn’t make his behavior any easier to deal with – and just because one THINKS and FEELs something, doesn’t mean they express it outwardly. Good Lord, especially not the wonderful Canadians, God bless them (and sorry on behalf of your neighbors to the south!).

    • I was thinking the same thing. Not to mention the guy kept touching her. I really don’t know how Stephanie could have been nicer about the whole thing. I would have asked to have my seat moved.

    • Yes, I had to go back and re-read the post, and I saw no autism there. I’m sure Steph would have recognized that situation and acted accordingly.

      • Ditto here. My son is autistic and those were not his traits. Granted, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” but he’s as likely to clam up and keep to himself as, well, I am. 🙂 I don’t know anyone on the spectrum who might’ve acted like this guy. (Except the wifi part. It’s my son’s other life force, after pepperoni pizza.)

        • Agreed! My son would definitely want to be touched (or touch) a stranger, but lack of wifi would have pushed him to ask for a hotspot! He might fidget, but that’s all. (He lives for pizza, too!)

    • My autistic daughter would NEVER have done what that dude did, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me that he was autistic. I just interpreted the post to be about a pushy, rude dude.

    • Yep, I’ve been teaching kids on the spectrum for years, and the not-so-gentleman on the airplane didn’t read as ASD to me either. Very, very few ASD members of our community like physical touch or close quarters, especially with those they don’t know well (or at all). Steph, I reckon that’s one criticism that you can just straight walk away from – if he was Autistic, my experience says he’s VERY atypical.

      And, Steph, about the up-and-down-and-roundabout emotions: thank you so much for normalising that. Sometimes it seems that people in the process of grieving are gliding along pretty well, but letting us into the see-saw is so generous. It makes us feel more normal and less nuts. We love you, and care that you’ve got all of that going on, and will accept both the Pollyanna and the Grinch posts. Whatever you need, whatever is true at that time. It’s a privilege to share that journey with you.

      • Yes! This, and me too, and I cry about missing my best grandpa every December, and feel overwhelming grief other times after 20 years. And sometimes the memories are more joyful & less grief filled. But the first year… all over the place, all the time. Sending love!

  1. I am a Big Believer in instant communication when an idiot expresses themselves in spoken or written word. I believe I can sear the nose hair right off their face if they deserve it. I would happily volunteer to sear those people for you.

    Grief is its own burden and is usually lifted slowly, very slowly. You are doing all the right things – believe in yourself and how you feel. You have an army out here who is supporting you, believes in you, and just plain loves you. And, even though you already know all those things, you need to hear them over and over.

    • I totally agree about the army out here that is supporting you. I’ve recently had a similar experience, though it was cancer (mine) rather than a death in the family. So much love and support coming at me from people i might not have been in touch with in ages. It’s the same for you Steph, except that you don’t know all of us personally. But we are out here loving and supporting you in any way we can.

  2. Grief is one of those things that just IS. It takes up a place in your life and it is just THERE. Sometimes it’s big and sometimes it’s small and sometimes it takes over a room and makes you the crazy one. Words and knitting are your gifts. Write the grief down in words. You don’t have to tell us what the words are. Keep them, share them with your daughters so the next time grief smacks them around they know they are not alone. Hugs

    • Sue, I agree with all you wrote. Those are very wise words and sound like you have experienced this also. I’d like to add this. Some may want to write a letter telling the person who is gone, just how much it hurts at times and how much that dear one is missed. Tuck it away and look at it later, 6 months, a year, 5 years whenever you feel like it. It can tell us that the pain is getting less, but the empty space remains.

  3. I need that boring post about weaving in ends! I’m a pretty competent, intrepid knitter in most regards and somehow I’m still complete crap with ends. I blame the fact I’m mostly self-taught that nobody ever talks about it in books, etc.

    • Yup, me too, I would read about weaving in end. Least favourite part of knitting, so any help would be read with enthusiasm.

      Hugs to you, for writing so many posts, whether you share them or not. Keep writing, we will eat up every word you post.

      (PS. I was on a flight this week, and one of the flight attendants and I had a nice conversation about what I was knitting. She was a knitter, too. )

      • Idea from a friend of mine – weave in the ends but cut them a bit long. Then wash and block the item. Do not trim the ends of the woven ends until completely dry. They are sort of melded in that way.

        • Yes but what if the thing you are weaving has acrylic in it? Then the “don’t cut the woven ends” trick wouldn’t work, right? I am garbage at weaving ends too. I’d totally read a post about it.

          Also Steph, grief is a bear, and you are doing just fine. Post or not, just know we are hear supporting you XOXO

  4. I’m glad you wrote about the man on the plan – and I’m not sure how someone could have deduced that he was Autistic based on just your description (several members in my family are on the spectrum) but even if he was that is no excuse for doing what he did. Yes, earphones are the international symbol for ‘do not disturb.’ (Then I proceeded to offer advice for what to do if this ever happened again- by ‘channeling’ your inner ‘American’ and then realized how very ‘American’ it was to assume you wanted advice…. oh well. Hope it never happens again.)

  5. Of course you can knit on the plane, Stephanie — it gives the flight attendants and other passengers a chance to Kinnear you!

    As for the grief: Yes, it comes and goes, like waves crashing on the beach. When it gets too much for you, go play with your grandson and his canine guardian, or make cookies with Luis, or throw snowballs at Sam. You’re getting there. It just takes time.

  6. The first year after my Mom died (last year) was brutal. Sadness would strike or be triggered when i wasn’t expecting it. I found the time leading up to Christmas (more than Christmas Day itself) to be especially bad. Even though this is heading into the 2nd Christmas without my Mom, I’ve been missing her like crazy. I could never have anticipated how much and deeply I’d feel her loss. I guess to feel a loss this deeply means that we both had exceptional relationships with our moms and that’s something to be thankful for.

    • Thank you. I am experiencing just that (I really thought I was better already. Dad died in April), but this week had me crying at my desk three times already. It cannot be the New Year soon enough for me.

    • It still hits, Wham, out of the blue, when ever. I remember my Mom talking about how, even though it was a decade later, she still missed her mom at the strangest times. Grief happens and you, mostly, muddle on. Always hugs available on the blog.{{{Hugs}}}

  7. My darling Stephanie,
    I feel really sad to tell you this: yeah, baby, you’ll miss your mum a LOT. It will never go away, this feeling of something big missing in your chest.
    My mum died when I was 23 (now I’m 49 yo), and I still miss her every single day. She was my bestie, the landmark of my life, the one I knew I could always count on.
    But one thing I know for absolutely sure: your mother, as mine, will never be upset to know that you find joy and happiness. Never, ever.
    Au contraire: she would like to know that your life is going on and strong, and you have reasons to live and laugh and be happy.
    Think about your daughters: when you go, would you want them to be always sad?
    That’s it, sweet friend.
    A kiss on the cheek and a big hug.

  8. Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, something that should be practiced every day. I am thankful to be a knitter in a very generous knitting community, to get to read your thoughtful, funny, sad blogs about your life, to work so I can afford yarns and patterns, and to my family and friends who love that I knit for them.

    Have to start cooking dinner soon.

  9. Have I ever mentioned that I love your lists? I love your lists.

    (I want to also say something wise and comforting about grief but I imagine you’ve heard and read most everything by now. Thank you for writing, you are loved and wished well.)

  10. Glad to see a post from you. And lovely that you are spending time with Clara. Sending many virtual hugs your way. Beautiful knitting!

  11. When teaching kids about grief, many will define it as “big thoughts and feelings, including sad, angry, and happy”. It’s ok to be happy even when you miss someone special to you.

  12. I get it. I’ve missed you! Losing our Moms sucks. I think about you often because I know how awful it was for me. Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes. I found myself teafful today, missing my Mom and she died in 2000. The holidays always get me. Unfortunately, there is no way around it. We have to go through it….

  13. Ditto what Joni said above. Very glad to see you post again. It looks like you are busy and having good, productive times with knitterly friends. Others have must wiser advice than I can give about grief. It does, eventually, get more tolerable, then better. But you always miss your parents.

  14. Happy (American) Thanksgiving to you, Stephanie.
    So glad to be able to read your posts again. I understand ” Crazy Busy”. Love to all your family, and a sweet cheeks kiss to Elliot. Feel all that you feel. You are sane, normal, SUPER, and loved! ~ Amy

  15. Huuuuuuug! On this Thanksgiving Day, i’m thanksful for knitting, you, and your writing. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us!

  16. Grief is like a rollercoaster ride. You hang on and roll with it. My mom has been gone for 8 years and it still hits like ton of bricks. Express as needed and in the form that suits you.

    Love the mittens! I really like the party like you’ll be in bed by 9 yarn. I may have Check out Despondent Dyes.

  17. Write what feels right to you. Delete what you don’t like (probably most of it, from the way you sound). It helps just to get it out on the page, even if you throw it out. You’ll start getting your balance again at some point, these are just rough waters right now. And I have to laugh – from what I saw in the comments, most of us were telling you that you were TOO NICE to that guy on the plane and you should have stuck him with your knitting needles.

  18. I have often seen autism used as an excuse for male bad behavior, usually not by family and friends of autistic people. They usually respond by noting that autism is a diagnosis, not an excuse. I really doubt that that man was autistic and I think the person who assumed is being very disrespectful to autistic people by stating that he was, as if autistic people were incapable of polite behavior.

    • Thank You! You said this so much better than I could. It breaks my heart to hide my diagnosis because our culture can’t get over the baseless Sheldon and Rainman stereotypes.

      • Thank you for pointing out that Sheldon is a baseless stereotype. I have had numerous friends tell me to watch that show because I am a Smart Person, and the couple of times I have, it has been AWFUL. Unkind stereotypes and jokes about the type of people I know and love – just not my cup of tea.

  19. I am a school teacher. I often have autistic kids in my class. Autism is not an excuse for bad behavior. They don’t get a pass because of their disability.

    Now, I shouldn’t say this but – OMG – I LOVE Clara Parkes scarf in that picture!!! Shouldn’t be too hard to replicate. Stockinette stitch on grey; garter on colors.

    Glad you are back, Stephanie. I’ve been looking for you on instagram and twitter, too.


  20. Stephanie, I wish I had some wise words to share with you. I’m blessed that my parents are still with me. They have their difficult days because of dementia. Some days mom deals with a child, some days an angry teen, on his best days he’s just my dad.

    They often tell me to never ever not go and do things just because if them. With that thought in mind. I’m certain your mom would love hearing you laugh. She would be happy knowing you are finding moments of happiness. It’s the best gift our mom’s give us.

    Go out an find your joy! Blessings from one of your knitting fans.

  21. I loved this post because I’m still riding the crazy train that is grief from losing a mother. Wishing you comfort and peace. (eventually)

  22. A few things:

    a) As others have said, grief takes time– and we here encourage you to take all the time you need;

    b) I’m really sorry anyone decided to assume you were rude to someone on the autism spectrum just based off of what you wrote last time. That seems to me to very odd, and I hope you were able to take a deep breath and shrug it off, because, as you said, it was pretty obvious you were being very nice indeed;

    c) As a Canadian in the States, your last lines about Thanksgiving made me smile. Thank you for the good wishes, whatever day it is, and here’s sending good wishes right back at you!

  23. On #6, I get it. I was ill last year and was determined to positive my way through it. I managed most of the time, but I found writing a blog post that let all the crap hang out very cathartic. Don’t post if you don’t want to. Don’t write it if you don’t want to. But your real is real. Do what you need to do. Sending much love Steph.

  24. I remember that overwhelming grief all too well. One time when it happened unexpectedly I thought, ”This is as big and as scary as a wave on the beach knocking me over.” After a time, I began to think of the wave as not scary, but an all-encompassing hug from my mom.

    Hugs to you.

  25. I think the worst part of grief is the way it blindsides you, coming in a big new wave, just when you feel that you might someday find your footing for a bit. Hang in there; sending loving thoughts your way.

  26. My husband died five years ago, and even though I am mostly cool with it now (griefwise), as I was washing dishes this morning and thinking through what I had to do for the Thanksgiving meal, I was nearly weeping. Every now and then it hits me, who is gone, how many others are gone. I should just rejoice that I’ve still got the two youngest kids in the house and we have a lot to be thankful for, but still, some days I’m sad. You’ll be sad, too, and we understand that. Hugs, from Rita in NJ

  27. This has been a miserable year for my family and many of my friends. Grief is grief and not a good time. Our first holiday without my daughter.
    I mis your blog when you don’t post but I’m glad to see your baby pics on instagram.

    • Oh, Margie, that’s so rough. I hope that you are able to draw comfort from those close to you. Hugs and care from all the way over here in Australia.

  28. Stephanie,
    Hugs, thanks for posting.
    If I thought I had anything to add, I would comment about your grief.
    Hang in there, love the mittens and th WILD yarn


  29. Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve never left you a message before this but felt compelled to do so now. I appreciate your humor and seriousness, and your reality that somehow makes everyone else’s reality seem ok, no matter how much our days don’t conform to what we desire. Thank you for letting us into your life and that of your family’s. You are a special lady and I do hope your grief gives way to allow you the full appreciation of your cherished memories. I adore the photo of the snow-scene and the smiles on your faces. May you also have enjoyed this day, our American Thanksgiving.

  30. I am so glad to hear from you – I look forward to your posts. There is no timeline for grief. Take the time you need, and let it happen.

  31. Stephanie, your posts always brighten my day, whether they are light or dark. (As do your books.) Others have written here about grief more eloquently than I could, so I’ll just say, there are hearts all over the world hurting with you, and hoping your grief lessens with time, so all the wonderful, funny, beautiful memories will come to the front.

  32. Welcome back,
    Being human is weird. Keep being human. It’s all we have. Knit. Have a beer and some wine. Drink good coffee. Cry.
    That is all. Going to eat apple pie. Well. Maybe I will wait for that one. I have no vanilla ice cream and it just ain’t Thanksgiving without vanilla ice cream on my apple pie.

  33. Wish I could give you a hug. And I have such faith in your writing skills that I think you could write a scintillating post on weaving in ends! And I love the suggestion that you might be able to help our weaving in look not like a spider on crack! Such an fabulous statement!

  34. I’ve always believed that grief is a sneaky B*tch. One minute I’m functioning on all cylinders, then WHAM.! That’s when I want to curl up in a ball and have the world go away. It’s when this happens I remember that my mother wanted so much more for me. She lived through the loss of her father at a very young age and her mother many years after that and yet, despite the sadness, she endured. She’d probably understand my sadness, but sometimes it feels like I did not inherit her strength.
    My best way to live through the loss has been to embrace the grief. Give it hug, admit the sadness, and talk to my mother (if you knew her you’d know wherever she is,she’s listening.)
    Stephanie, write about her, write about you, but write it somewhere. Writing is the embrace grief seeks. Who knows, you might just help someone who’s in the throes of a similar situation.
    Oh, and about the guy on the plane, of course you were nice, but the next time I’d don a surgical mask, look at him and say, “The doctor says I’m might still be contagious.” Then watch him squirm.

  35. I just wanted to tell you that a random post of yours about fixing a frogged cable saved a Christmas present I was knitting when I discovered 24(!!!) rows later that I’d screwed up or missed not just one but two in a row and almost broke down in tears at the thought of ripping those rows all back. I was about to toss the scarf when my sister sent me a link to your blog post from Pintrest. I have since read back some 19 or so pages (and keep going back farther whenever I have time). I cried sad tears over your mom and happy tears over baby blankets (and then got my mom and my sister both crying over that one too) and I already feel like a part of “The Blog” even though I’ve just started reading so thank you for your warmth and your heart that you pour into this project! Because of you I just knit my first pair of socks! It was terrifying at times and one went back to the frog pond at about 3/4 done but they’re finished and ready for Christmas and they match EXACTLY in length!

    • Welcome to the tribe!

      Stephanie’s blog posts are well worth reading; when I discovered her site, I went back to the very beginning and found all kinds of great entries: helpful, funny, thoughtful, a few sad, but well worth rereading. Stretch them out, it’s a little bit of a letdown when you realize you’ve read them all and are waiting for the next entry. 😉

      • Thanks for the welcome. I’m still working my way back through them all. I’m a completest – I’ll get through the whole thing soon enough!

  36. Oh, Steph, this is such an endearing post, and with so much I can relate to. I’m so glad you published this one, and I guffawed at the PS (I’m American, and happily reading non-Thanksgiving-themed blogs on American Thanksgiving evening). Thanks.

  37. I’d enjoy reading a post about how you weave in your ends perhaps I’d learn something new. And why was someone talking about autistic people? That seems random.

    • Comments based on a post or two ago about an extremely persistent man sitting next to Stephanie on a plane. She was Canadian nice to him, but many people decided he must have been autistic and took her to task.

  38. It’s been six years since Mom died and I keep thinking that I’m “over” it or coping well or something but then I realize that I searched around to find a necklace she wore every day to wear today (along with her earrings that I wear all the time) so she would be there at Thanksgiving dinner with all of the babies and toddlers and frazzled parents and smug grandparents. Smug because we remember when our lives were crazy like that and we survived.

    Someone who posted earlier said it right. Your mum would want you to be happy, she probably even expects it, now all you have to do is figure out a way to do it. No guilt allowed. Hug a small person, they’re magical.

  39. I’m really glad you wrote about the good and the bad. Grief is part of life, and so is Joy (and so can be guilt about whatever state we happen to find ourselves). EVERYONE goes through it, even though it feels like you’re on an Island. Happy Thursday Thanksgiving.

  40. Stephanie, feel what you fell, post what you want to. “we” (the cool people who read your blog) understand and love you. Don´t “throw away” the feelings, save them. They will matter. Trust me. Huge *hug*

  41. Since the loss of your mother, lots of people have talked with you about grief – many wise words that may help.

    Let me tell you about a different kind of grief. Yesterday I moved my elderly sister into a retirement home. She has been in hospital for 3 months and it has been a rough go. At 89 and widowed for 5 years, she is beginning to lose her interest in Life. Because of health issues and because I can see her slipping along the dementia hill, this move was absolutely necessary. She has no children, our other sister is in Texas – so she’s got me.

    I spent most of the day with her, got her as settled as I could, had dinner with her, then said good night and left her there. I cried in the parking lot and for a good part of the way home. It feels like I will never be able to step away from this grief – I am hoping to learn how to deal with it gracefully.

    Knowing she is safe, warm, well-fed, cared for, not alone – that only confirms we made the right decisions together, it does not ease my loss.

    And so life changes and goes on – and we change and go on too. Blessings on all of us who have need of peace and strength.

    Chris S in Canada

    • Chris, I cannot put myself in your shoes for I do not have a sister, but I can tell that your sister is lucky to have such a loving, caring sister in you. You have done all you can to make her comfortable, and above all safe, and I am sure that you will see her often to reassure yourself that she is being cared for. Everyone should be so blessed.

  42. Dear Steph,
    I have been where you are. Between 2002 and 2006 I lost 6 people: my only aunt, my mother, my godmother, my son-in-law (left my daughter, not dead); my husband and my mother-in-law. It took me 10 years to recover from all of it (including the 10 years till 2006 in which I nursed my DH and my mom). Grief is okay; it’s normal. It’s not fun, but it needs doing. It will continue indefinitely. The best thing, though, is that it will rear its head less often and last for shorter periods of time. Be gentle with yourself for a good year after the death of a Very Important Loved One (like your mom). It’s okay. Hugs from Alberta.

  43. Dear Stephanie,

    We love you just the way you are, and we miss you when you don’t write. But it’s not about us, you should do what feels right. Don’t let the criticism get you down. It’s good you got someone thinking, and we are lucky to live in countries where it is OK to disagree.

    There are lots of Canadian snowbirds here in Arizona. We like to call them double dippers, because they enjoy Canadian Thanksgiving at home with family, then come down here and spend American Thanksgiving with their friends.

  44. My mother was,a person who found joy in life, in things both large and small. I am an extraordinarily even keeled person, and I think I honor her memory the most when I allow myself to put aside that keel, and allow myself to lose it for a moment in time, and to feel joy to its fullest. I think your mom would too

  45. I’m on my way to bed this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you and you post. Re: #2. I thought that you were more than kind. I would not have let him touch me more than twice. Enjoy moments of happiness.

  46. Typically I’m a voyeur on your blog but I need to say…write what you want and I love the colors you chose for your mittens. Happy Thursday to you!

  47. My mother has been gone 15 years and my father 25, not a day goes by that I don’t think of them, but I know for sure that they would want me to laugh and enjoy life so I do. It’s okay to be sad and wish they were here, but it’s okay to be full of joy and wonder because life is wonderful and joyful.

  48. I think rain is perfect for a knitting retreat. Knitting retreats are about yarn and knitting. I don’t care what the weather is- even if you think you saw a cow fly by the window with a little girl in braids and red sequin shoes-WHEREVER did you find that fab-u-lous colorway? Show me that cast on again please. Whats your Rav handle? I just sent you a friend request. You know. Thats why you love to go.
    And…I have to say it. I think Clara may be a long lost relative. Really. Look at those lovely faces…wait a minuuuutttteeee….
    You’re both yarn afflicted brilliant women. Yup. And Clara’s your cousin.

  49. There is no right or correct way to deal with grief. Please do whatever you need and we, the Blog, will be here either waiting for you or reading your posts. (For the record, I would definitely read a post by you about weaving in ends – in fact I think I need it!)

    Go easy on yourself, grief is a massive bastard and I’m sorry you’re going through it.

  50. Feel it all without judgement. The highs and the lows. Every step in the process is valid, neither right nor wrong. Know that you are not alone. Thinking of you.

  51. I’m so sorry you’re suffering. For what it’s worth, I think you are carrying yourself with such dignity through what must be unbearable pain. If you can’t bring yourself to write to us, don’t. We will still be here when the pain lifts a little, and we understand.

    Thinking of you and your family. <3

  52. Thank you for all your words. It doesn’t seem enough to say thanks but please know I do so enjoy reading all your stories (and the comments) and tales about yarn – in whatever frequency you make them – happy Thursday from Australia

  53. Love the mittens! This is our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my mom. I’ll see something I know she’d love for Christmas, and then remember.

  54. Thanks for sharing the zigzag weirdness of grief and loss. I think if we all worked to be more honest, the world would be a better place.

  55. Grief lets you go along as if life were just fine and normal and then BAM. It hits you upside your head and says, “Remember me? I’m still here”.

    Sometimes you just have to go with it. And remind yourself that “firsts” are very hard. (first holiday season….)

  56. Oh, dear Stephanie, I beg you to write about grief. You have the gift of the pen, and with that gift, you are able to express what many of us carry and cannot speak about. We are all grieving losses; for some of us, the grief is sharp and fresh, and for others it has grown dull but is still a bit tender. I don’t know why, but it seems that an occasional reminder of the grief and the memory of our deceased loved ones helps the loss. It is like we say, “ahh, yes, Dad (or Mum), I love you, and I miss you, and you are important to me, and I never want to forget that… thank you for the reminder.” When you write of your Mum and your grief, I remember my Dad, and my mother-in-law, and the tears may flow, but I’m glad to have those tears, because I love them. And because you write so well, you help all of us remember those we love in such a special way. So please write of your grief. We all need it (including you), and we miss your Mum, and we miss our own Mums and Dads. Thank you.

  57. It is ok to be sad and happy right now. I’m going through an ugly divorce, and even though thankfully I am not grieving a loves death, I am grieving the death of 22 years. It is ok to tell others how you feel, if you don’t then they worry more. Your posts, even the sad ones are helping me through me own grief. Please don’t delete your posts bring a little sunshine to my life. Even the sad ones.

  58. I did not know for the first decade that I knitted that you only need to weave in your ends for a handful of stitches. I would weave in 6 or 7 inches of yarn on worsted weight projects. One day my local knit doctor saw how long my ends were on a striped scarf and watched me weave one in– then gently suggested that my scarf was not going to need to survive a nuclear winter.

  59. I didn’t know your mother other that on the blog, but I feel confident that she would want you to be and feel happy even as you are mourning her. I’m sure you would want the same for your own girls. Being happy doesn’t mean you love or miss her any less.

  60. Thank you for sharing. I have checked the blog repeatedly looking for a new post and surprised when it took so long to update. For the record you never need to explain yourself and you don’t owe it to anyone to write your blog. I do enjoy reading it, but this post just reminds me you are a person with feelings and deserve your own time as well. If I am being completely honest, I read your blog because it takes me away from my own world of issues.

    Never apologize for being you. You seem to be an absolutely lovely person and I am sending you warm thoughts.

  61. Keep on going lady, and thank you for the post. I have been sad when I check and you haven’t written because I worry that its because you are too sad. Grief is so multi dimensional, and hard. You feel bad because you think you shouldn’t be still in it, but then you feel bad when you have a moment where you forget it. Just keep being kind to yourself and know that the universe is revolving as it should be and that you are a part of that. Therefor whatever you are feeling RIGHT NOW is what you are meant to be feeling/doing. Happy American Thanksgiving to me, and Happy Thursday to you!

  62. I am breaking my usual “don’t give advice unless it’s asked for rule.” However, I have been through some grief in my life, and this helped me tremendously. Every day, write your feelings. Not for the blog, not for anyone else to read, only for yourself. Write it out, cry and sob and hitch. Next day, write it out again and keep doing it every day. For myself as a writer, this somehow organizes the grief so that I can view it and come to terms with it. I am always amazed at how it helps. When the day comes that I sit down to write it again, and find that I don’t need to, that I’m understanding the ins and outs of it as I did not before, then I stop. So, sorry for the unasked for advice, but I think writers must stick together.

  63. You were so lucky to have a loving active mother to the end. My mother suffered from undiagnosed depression the last 15 years of her life, and although sad, it was a relief for the family when she passed. You have wonderful memories of your mother, and although you are full of grief now, you’ll always have those wonderful memories to look back on.

  64. Grief is a jumble and a journey, in directions you never expected. Most of us can grieve in private without thinking of a public audience. However you do it is correct, as long as you are kind to yourself first.

  65. So glad you’re back – we were worried !

    Thanksgiving was wonderful; thanks for the good wishes!

    Now, back to knitting holiday gifts. Good luck to all of us!

  66. As I sit here and read your post I have tears in my eyes. I lost my mother almost exactly 47 years ago. I don’t think about her every day any more but then wham she is in my thoughts and I miss her like it was yesterday. Feel your grief and don’t let anyone tell you how to do it. There will be more shining moments as the days go by, but the hurt is still there. Peace to you and family.

  67. When my husband died suddenly, I found myself writing and deleting posts like crazy. I think it dawned on me after awhile that just writing them was helping to relieve that overwhelming need to just let it all out.

  68. I am sick and tired of people excusing rude intrusive behavior on autism. People with Autism are much more likely to try to give you space than to intrude on your space. And tend not to be into touch.


    That man wasn’t autistic, what he was was ENTITLED. He felt entitled to your time, attention, and space.

    And thank you for this post.

  69. I get all that you just said as I’ve had a similar range of emotions after a very personal loss this year. I’m sorry someone chastised you about being kinder to anyone, autistic or not. I have never met you, but a friend has. Her opinion and all that I’ve ever read here lead me to believe that the commenter doesn’t know you well. I think I am a kind and patient person but that doesn’t mean I don’t value my own space and solitude on public transportation.

  70. While it’s good that we are more aware of things that can make some people act differently through no fault of their own, I wonder if it’s good that we search for those reasons so hard and make excuses for that behaviour, that we forget some people are simply jerks. And to write and take you to task for being nothing other than polite to this guy, is even ruder. Besides, one reason many of us keep reading is for your way to bring humour to knitting, you travels, and life in general.

    Regarding #9 – while your mom would be happy to know she’s missed terribly, I suspect based on what you’ve written of her, she’d also be kicking your arse for thinking it’s disrespectful to her memory to be happy and write about it.

  71. Frankly, your “out-of-date and stupid” is our “oh, great! Steph wrote something!” I’m happy to read every word. And remember, anything you have to say about your grief will probably be helpful for those of us also struggling with it. I lost my dad a year ago last weekend, and last weekend it was as if it had just happened. And as for “autistic,” I worked with special needs kids, many of them autistic, for many years, and that guy didn’t sound autistic to me. Most autistic people I’ve encountered will tie themselves in knots to avoid a social encounter, and as for initiating one? Not happening, mostly. Of course, you’re kind: we know this. I’m glad you do too. Love the mitts.

  72. Grief finds a place eventually. Every time I cook a turkey I hear my mother’s voice “Did you remember to season the inside, dear? “Yes Mom, I seasoned the inside. Weird but comforting. May you have memories like this that make you smile.

  73. A few years ago, one of our neighbours up the street, a woman in her 30s with young children, was diagnosed with cancer. At some point, she would stand in her backyard and just scream. Her family thought she was losing her mind but when my mother died a couple of years later, I understood. I had such a pressure on my heart I felt like opening the back door and screaming just to let the pressure out but was afraid that the neighbours would call 911 and report an assault in progress. It took a long time for that pressure to dissipate. I regret not screaming.

  74. If I were hurting, I can’t think of a better person to be with than Clara Parkes.

    I’d forgotten about your beautiful mitten pattern. I’m going to have to make a pair.

  75. The thing about Loss and Grief is that there is no handbook, no spreadsheet, no time line to it. We all have our own way of coping, each loss is different and there is no list of ten things to do.

    Follow your gut, do what you feel comfy doing, and talk about it until the head and the heart combine and can come to a place of believing your Mum has gone. The head knows and accepts what has happened, the heart cannot seem to contain it or want to believe it and it takes some time to truly know the truth.

    Until that time comes – don’t ask how long, we are all different – we may find ourselves talking and thinking and repeating what happened and in that process we come to some sort of peace as we comprehend.

    I am so sorry for your loss, and although you might not believe it, you are doing well figuring it all out in your own way.

  76. Your blog has helped a lot of people through sad and lonely times, myself included. Thank you. Lots of love to you as you go through this.

  77. Sending knitterly love your way. While we fans feel we know and love you, you keep as much of yourself for yourself and your family as you need and want too.

  78. Your mom would be happy that you’re happy. It’s not disrespectful at all. Althiugh you will always remember and miss your mom, life does go on. The hole in your heart will always be there.

  79. Grief is stupid and crazy and it sucks and things hit you upside the head out of nowhere when you’re minding your own business. And then you cry at the movie theater, while everyone else around you is laughing at the previews. And then you feel stupid because you’re crying at a commercial, but not really.

    Many hugs.

  80. Stephanie, as you can see from all the comments. You are greatly loved and appreciated I personally am glad to see any post from you but you need to do what feels best for you. We did have a nice Thanksgiving and I am pleased to let you know that once again we had Brussels sprouts as a vegetable using the recipe you shared in 2012. It has become part of our tradition.

  81. I just knew which mittens you were about to knit just from your colour choices! Love that pattern, I need to treat myself to it!

  82. Steph, you are so real and you are so very funny and yet real at the same time and I have no idea what that is called. Of course you feel the way you do. All feelings are valid.
    We feel, because we love. We love, because we feel.
    This is your blog.
    Write about whatever you want. I will read it because I have met you, I took a class from you, I have listened to you speak, I read your books, and I knit but not usually what you are knitting. I enjoy reading about your thoughts on all things knitting and other thoughts that are not knitting that cross your mind.
    As far as the fellow that sat next to you on the plane … who the heck knows what was or was not his particular situation. Just because he bought a seat next to yours, it was not your responsibility to entertain him.
    Peace and Love and Hugs!

  83. Stephanie, thank you for acknowledging the continued grief. My dad passed away a little over a month ago and the way we manage our extreme loss changes from minute to minute. There is effervescent laughter at remembered lovely moments, and torrents of tears at the sight of anything that remotely reminds us of him. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us.

  84. As a person on the spectrum I want to let you know you are a nice person. Nothing you wrote last time made me think he was on the spectrum, and spectrum or not was still a bit of a jerk. Anyone who thinks spectrum folks need to be ‘protected’ like glass sculptures are abelist jerks and should go spend some time on the WrongPlanet forum.

    Now I got that out of my system.

    I’m sending you all the love and hugs, 20 years later and I still write sad and vulnerable things sometimes. I feel that getting it out and written somewhere is healthy.

  85. Stephanie, I’m glad you posted something. Anything is good when it comes from you. I will be honest with you, the longer you don’t post, the harder it becomes to post. Even if you post that you feel like “blurg” and the world is “blah,” it will help you exercise your writing muscle (which from my position is fundamental to who you are) and you will work through your grief and be able to enjoy life again. You get to do that. I believe your Mom would want those things for you. Hugs from a friend in Utah.

  86. Sometimes Life gets messy and complicated and it best to just move forward and leave it behind a bit and not think too seriously about it all!

    I need to knit that mitten pattern up again as it is a great one!

    Knit -On!

  87. You get to choose how you handle your grief, as well as who you share it with. Be well. Wishing you peaceful and gentle days.

    Also, when I was going through the worst sort of grief I’ve ever experienced, your story about the One Blue Sock helped me so much. I am so grateful that you chose to write about that dear woman and her child.

  88. You are nice, no doubt about that. My mum had a massive stroke early this year and went from being a happy, independent French/English/Spanish speaking funster to a very disabled, non verbal wheel chair ridden invalid. Permanently. I can relate to your feelings about grief and happiness. It’s hard but I really appreciate you continuing to try to write about it. xxx

  89. I rarely comment…I mean…135 comments on a post about why you’re not writing posts…I seriously doubt you have the time to read them all. But this has to be said. I love your writing. And without being weird about it, I love YOU. Please write about what ever you please…good, bad or indifferent. I will read it a couple of times, and then read it out loud to my long suffering husband, then send it to my knitting friend and tell her “you’ve got to read this” and she will reply “I did…isn’t she wonderful”. So this (American) Thanksgiving weekend, I am thankful for your many gifts, and for being my imaginary friend.

  90. No right or wrong about grieving, or writing/not writing about it. And I bet you know your mom would never, ever think you would disrespect her memory. Don’t ever forget: she’d want you to be happy…

  91. Grief makes us crazy. As long as the Crazy doesn’t lead you down self destructive avenues, embrace it. Let it happen. Sometimes there is no way around, you just gotta go through to the other side, where the new normal awaits.

  92. 1. Take grief your own way, and let it happen.

    2. NEVER feel that you have to apologize for calling a jerk a jerk, nor for letting the jerk know your boundaries are not up for negotiation.

  93. Steph, I used to read this blog because of knitting. Now, it is because of you. You have become someone—daughter/sister/friend, not “this awesome blogger” (though you are. So, I hope you know that you are not grieving alone. Saying goodbye to your mum is something we are all doing, with you. As you are learning to maneuver a new but same reality, we are as well. If you feel fractured, let the Blog love fill the cracks, at least some. You are loved. You are carried. Prayers are for you.

  94. I was shocked by the responses to the airplane mansplaner post — and felt depressed by all the excuses people were making for him and all the helpful tips about ways to make him understand Steph as if it was necessary for her to let him know that she was a knitting expert as a way to make him stop. But the jumping to the conclusion that the guy was on the spectrum and therefore SHE needed to somehow change her already gracious and elegant handling of the situation left me feeling too bummed to comment. And then someone felt the need to email her??? Shocked again at people’s sense of self-importance. She doesn’t need to be ‘schooled’ by any of us. We read her for her wit and wisdom and beautiful honesty. Please don’t ruin it by doing anything to make her feel like she can’t post whatever her experience happens to be.

  95. You have been missed.
    As someone walking in grief i understand your wanting to, but not wanting to.
    Keep being yourself.
    You are great! Hugs

  96. Hugs to you. Please try and enjoy every and any happy moment. I lost my mom years ago and that first year was hard. At least her pain was over but i missed her like crazy. She was the same age i am now. 58. So i was ripped off too early. Treat yourself as well as you can. The crazies are normal!

  97. Hi, Stephanie,
    It’s good to hear from you again.
    Your joy does not dishonor your mother, She would not want you to remain in unrelenting grief forever. She would want to feel your joy through the tight connection you had with her, wherever she is now. She would want you to happily remember the good times you had together and dance with the littles for her. My husband is the child of Holocaust survivors and this is old ground for us. Some of his relatives feel that he should suffer deeply forever in order to honor the dead, but I think his joy honors them more. After 30 years I am slowly winning. Teach the littles a Christmas carol and know your mother is singing along somewhere. Kids love Jingle bells. A hot cup of coffee does wonders, as does a piece of holiday fudge.
    Love to you and yours,
    Julie in San Diego

  98. We will devotedly read all that you write: grief-filled, happy, annoyed or any combo of feelings. You are loved and cared about and make me feel the same way. Ignore that negative voice, and those online too. Lovely mittens too, but the main point is you, not just the knitting.

  99. Thank you for not deleting this post! I was wondering what you were up to and if everything was OK.

    And thank you for the good wishes for American Thanksgiving!

  100. You’re a lovely person. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not. There are a few million proofs of your kindness funding Doctors Without Borders and AIDS research; those millions probably wouldn’t be there if you hadn’t put your heart, soul, and body on the line to tell us about those causes (and ride those miles).

    Anything you can put together and get out to the world will help you come to terms with what you’ve lost. Grief takes a long time. Try not to exhaust yourself with constantly second-guessing about what you should or shouldn’t write or experience. Remember, my dear, that many of us have been exactly where you are. We know how much it hurts. It would be hard for you to shock us.

    Courage, and be kind to yourself.

  101. Stephanie, don’t stifle your grief for any reason. It has terrible consequences. I stifled my grief for my mom 27 years ago under the mistaken impression I had to take care of my dad and brother first, and am still trying to grieve in hopes that I can remember her as she was without what feels like a barrier between us. You don’t want that.

  102. Do not “Should” on yourself. Do things the way they feel right for you now. We will all be here. I love your posts when ever you put them up. I savor them if they come lowly, or gobble them if you write them quickly. In any case I love you and your posts on your schedule.

  103. I know exactly what you mean about feeling guilty when you are enjoying yourself and being happy. I have felt that too after my husband’s sudden death last year. But it is ok to laugh and smile and not think about that person 24/7 without feeling guilty. It doesn’t mean that you love them any less or have forgotten about them. They will always be in your heart and no one can take that away from you or all the precious memories. Hugs to you. xxx

  104. I think your mother would want to be happy, and to live life to the fullest. After a while, it is the happy times we remember, even if at holidays there is a slight edge of melancholy.
    Mine would. Though I think of her everyday.

  105. Speaking of weaving in the ends… isn’t that something a knitter would do if she were making something as a gift? I received an item as a gift with ends dangling everywhere, and when I timidly asked about them I was told to “just weave them in — it’s easy!” But I am not a knitter, and I didn’t really want to ruin it, so there it sits.

  106. Gentle hugs, Stephanie, and go visit your “babies”.

    I like the earlier description of waves crashing on the beach that was posted earlier. This first year, and especially these first holidays, will be rough but you and your family are resilient and you will survive.

    IF the situation had been reversed, what would your Mum have done? Sackcloth and ashes went out of fashion a long time ago. And, you wouldn’t have wanted her to sit still and cry her eyes out over something that will not change. You would have wanted her to live life to the fullest, and I am quite sure she expects the same of you and the family.

    We all miss when you don’t post and wish that we could ease your burden a little. However, we get this.

    Smiles and Rainbows, Leslie

  107. Grief takes as long as it takes. I think at least one year of firsts went by for me. The first Father’s Day without my dad. The first Christmas. It took at least 3 months before hearing a song he loved didn’t end up with me in tears.

    Take your time. Be gentle with yourself.


  108. So great to read your list. I was concerned at the silence that you were having a hard time and hoped it was a busy time instead. You got to spend time with Clara Parkes???!!! No wonder you are smiling! That had to be a great day. Take care.

  109. This post makes me want to give you a hug (or make you a cup of tea, or something else soothing). Thank you for sharing so much of your life and yourself with us all.

  110. I love that luscious rainbow yarn. Single ply just glows so beautifully.
    I bet your mum would be proud to pieces at how much you’ve been doing, continuing to bring what you love and what you know to others. I think it shows how well organized you are and how good you are at your chosen work that you can keep working while still fully grieving her death. If other people can imagine a paradise afterlife with golden streets, I can imagine my ideal afterlife for those I love, and it’s that their spirit sticks around and gets to experience what I do when I think of them, like they are there with me seeing with my eyes. I like to think of other people having that too, it makes me feel like they are protected and can be in full despair at times without it hurting them in any lasting way. So I like to think of your mum seeing Eliot every time you see him and think of her, and her seeing the beautiful rainbow in Port Ludlow when you saw it, and London and all the great things you’ve seen lately. That’s what kept me going when my grandpa died. If I keep going out and looking at things he likes he gets to see them too and we’re together then.

  111. Take care with the ‘you get more of what you pay attention to’ rule. ‘What you resist persists’ is also true I’m afraid. It’s a nightmare balancing act but I guess whatever ‘feels’ right rather than what your ‘head’ says is the way to go.
    Much love.

  112. Writing about your grief may help you process it. All of your faithful readers understand that. We’ve all been there…(or will be there someday). You have a lot of “firsts” to go through, and they’re not easy. Don’t feel bad about being happy, though. I’m sure your mother would want you to be happy. That’s just how mothers are! 🙂 (I lost my mom almost 15 years ago, and especially this time of year I miss her terribly.)

  113. Dearest Stephanie, Please know how much you are respected and loved around our world. You share, advise, inspire, and so often deeply touch thousands, (probably millions considering the ripple effect) of folks with your blog. I for one am very grateful for all you share especially because you’re so candid and write so skillfully. I hope and pray that the hole in your life and heart left by your Mum will feel less and less barren as your memories and shared love fills in .

  114. Your last book let me know that Joe handles small objects the same way my husband does. Bill is currently CLEANING OUT HIS DESK and has place some Canadian money on my desk. Is there any way to get 1.37 Canadian to PWA? My bank is so not interested.

  115. That last photo. That is the happiest of yarn colors. It’s trying to connect with something way deep in my memory that made me happy, but that memory hasn’t surfaced yet. (Maybe it was the pot holder loops I used to weave a zillion pot holders when I was 10?) You cheered me up this morning.

  116. When my dad was alive his sister said,
    “When my family gets together all they do is fight!”
    My dad replied, “When my family gets together all they do is laugh!”
    He would still want us to laugh.

    By the way, did you go get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on the brown boat?

  117. Stephanie, You don’t need to account for your emotions to anyone. Your mom would want you to be happy even though she is gone. Everyone grieves differently, You will be okay eventually, at least able to live with your grief more comfortably. When you think it is gone and you are not mourning any more, it will on occasion pop up and let you know you are still grieving. So, enjoy your good times and if anyone tells you that you should feel something different from you are feeling , tell them where to go and how to get there.

  118. I’ve read about half the comments above and I think I read all of them about #theguyontheplane. As a bossy American I want to apologize on behalf of all the comments I read telling you how you “should” have handled that. BS, all of it. You handled beautifully as you.
    Part of the reason I say the above is something you said to my next-door-neighbor, who was trying to help me purl “correctly” in your class at Strung along recently, about the weird way I purl: “She’s allowed to be who she is.”
    I’m so glad you are who you are. About 1-10 and everything else. Hugs.

  119. I’m just now back to your blog- had surgery several weeks ago· I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am about your mom. There really are no words are there? My mom is still alive but so deep in the throes
    of dementia. I feel as though I lostl a few years ago. I wonder where she’s gone and where she goes when she looks to the side vacantly, with a small smile on her face. I wish you happy memories of your mom and peace.

  120. Just keep knitting. You don’t have to talk about grief, even to your readers who love & adore you, unless you want to. Just so you know – I was lucky enough to meet you after a reading you did in St. Louis in 2007, while I was deeply in knit therapy after losing my mom the fall before. “Knitting Rules” was my bedside bible for a long time. Your words helped me through (the worst of) my grieving process. So thank you, & I wish I had a book to send you. xo

  121. Be good to yourself, Steph. Grief can be overwhelming, but being happy amidst your tremendous loss is not a bad thing. It just shows you are moving through the process, and in no way is disrespectful to your dear mom. BTW those mittens are gorgeous!

  122. You are beautifully and fully human. The world is brighter with you in it, just as you are.

    And when you and Clara Parkes are in a room together, it tilts on its axis in a particularly awesome way.

  123. Grief during the Holidays can be paralyzing. Literally.

    As our family approaches it’s 10th Holday Season without both our Fathers, our hearts are a little sad too. I send a warm, fuzzy, big-boobed Mom hug your way.

    Never forget how much light you give to others. Don’t get lost in being sad.

  124. I have been pondering this post for a while. I see you apologizing for posting not much or for deleting your posts or whatever but it is your blog after all, and it should be what you want it to be. Post what you want, or not. Is there a way to keep posts private? I’m thinking that if you need to write a post in order to help working through something, then write it, but keep it a hidden post. Everything you write is valid but you don’t need to share it.

    That doesn’t mean that people like me don’t miss your posts terribly, whatever they may be, but that is not your problem and it shouldn’t be too relevant to make you feel guilty. Life changes and so does everything else. Do what you need to take care if yourself.

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