Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Knitting through the pain: Dealing with grief

Losing someone dear to death is one of life’s cruelest blows. 

That person is no longer there and it leaves a hole that nothing else can fill.    

I lost part of my Mommy to the cruel stroke in 2007.  And I lost so much more as a result.  I was never again able to fetch her and take her shopping with me and my little daughter.  I’d lost all the chances of popping in for tea at her townhouse.  I could no longer drop my daughter off there for her to spend some alone time with her Lu-Lum (my daughter’s word for her Granny as she couldn’t pronounce the word Granny) while she babysat her.  The stroke had stolen from my Mom too.  It had stolen her speech.  Her mobility.  Her independence.  It drained her life but left her alive.  I mourned then. 

Then this year, I lost her again.  This time to death and I mourn some more.  But in my grief I don’t for a moment begrudge the life she has now.  She is no longer in pain.  Released from all of this broken world’s sorrow.  And now she’s exchanged her silence for songs of praise to her King.  Her immobility has been discarded as she dances before her King’s throne.  And as she rejoices in Heaven, I have to learn to live without her.  And that’s the hard, horrible part.

For me getting through the day has been bearable.  Manageable during the grief.  I can busy myself with household chores, washing, cleaning etc.  But there is a time of day when I can’t keep my mind occupied.  I try distracting myself with TV, but find myself staring at the screen but not seeing, and then the mind wanders off on its own and down a path that I don’t want to face.  This is the time that I can’t handle.  I want to scream.  Get up and run down the road.  I feel I want to climb out of my skin to get away from the pain. 

So to cope with this on horrid time of day, I picked up some knitting needles, bought a couple of balls of wool and hunted for a knitting pattern on the internet.  Now while I knit, I am so busy concentrating on keeping my stitches on the needles and trying to figure out the pattern that my mind doesn’t have a chance to set out on its own journey.   I’m keeping my mind occupied while I learn to deal with my grief. 

During this time, I’ve found my Mom egging me on.  And when I get to a complicated part of the pattern and I’ve had to pull it out countless times, I feel her telling me, “aanhouer wen”.  Keep going!  She was always one to persevere until she got something right.  And I feel that she’s proud of me as she watches me decipher a tricky pattern that has me tangled for two days while I tried to make head or tail of it.   

Knitting has been my saving grace.  I am but a novice as I set out with my knitting needles down the road of recovery from my grief.  And as I do, I cling to the fact that I feel her close by as I concentrate on keeping my stitches on the needle.  I sense her smile as she hears the click of the knitting needles and proudly watches me as I try and live my life to make her proud.

If you are dealing with grief remember that there is no right or wrong way of dealing with it.  And you need to find your coping own mechanisms to get through your pain.  Chat to your doctor for medication through the tough time.  There are non-addictive medications that can assist you during this time.  Speak to a counselor or someone you can trust with your hurt. 

And be kind to yourself.  And don’t rush the process.  They say time heals.  But there is no length of time that you must reach to “get over” the loss. 

Further reading on the dealing with grief and the stages of grief at http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/000617