So I’ve been robo-knitting this year, that’s apparent. I’ve shown you every project in every stage of development. I’ve talked modifications and blocking and such, but I haven’t talked about many personal things. I’m usually a confessional person, so why in a year where I sent a child off to college, grew in Bible study, made several health strides, spent most of my 39th year, and made new friendships have I only talked about knitting?
I think it’s because I’ve been walking beside my best friends at the end of their lives. That’s as clearly as I can say it. I don’t want to give the impression I am an official “caregiver” because my grandparents aren’t in need of nursing care yet. He has dementia and she is very weak, struggling to get around. They are almost homebound now, so I get groceries, prepare some meals, drive them, and pay bills. Only, it’s really more than that.
The need for another person present makes me think of when I was a new mother. My baby girl suffered from undiagnosed food allergy and cried all of the time. I didn’t know why, but I knew it was more than colic and questioned my abilities as a mother. I also felt a little afraid to be alone with her. I realized I wasn’t breathing easy until my husband came home each evening. He was a first time parent too, but it was an uncertain, new experience and I didn’t want to go through it alone. I think that is how it is for my grandparents. They just need another person there sometimes.
Please understand, they are secure in their faith. The larger questions like, “Do I know God?” and “Where will I go when I die?” are answered for them. It is the day to day thoughts like, “Will I be able to get up today?” and “How much worse will this get before the end?” that raise her anxiety level. She is just feeling the way, for both of them, through a dark place she has never been before. For him it is the constant self-doubt of wondering where he is, what she just said, and where this or that bruise came from.
So, having someone there to see this, and to care is reassuring. I have no more wisdom to give than my husband did all those years ago when my baby was crying, but at least they know they are not alone. So that’s my place in this. I can love them and see them and run to God with them.
Being on the inside of their struggles has felt heavy, though, like the weight of that baby shuddering against me as I walked up and down the room. It was different than the feeling of walking before I had a child. It was heavier, but with a weight that meant something wonderful. I loved that weight. It didn’t feel burdensome because it was part of me. Once I knew her, I needed her and it was a privilege to carry her. Knowing the pain of someone you love is not easy, but do you really want to be anywhere else than beside them, holding them?
My heart has just been too full to risk opening up with anyone, especially a blog, unless I knew I had the strength to close the door before too much flowed out. It seemed best to just save it for my prayers and keep busy.
So I kept busy. After taking care of lunch for Grandmommy and Papaw, I’d come home, eat and knit for a while before getting my son from school. Then, when the house was quiet, at night, I’d have to knit some more. Like most of my crafty friends I’m antsy without something in my hands. I find it occupies and quietens part of my brain so I can look like a normal person, even on a good day. So you can imagine the intensity with which I worked away at sweater after sweater this year, my hands flying to release the pressure building within. When my heart ached I could pray, but if I’d said all I could and was just waiting for wisdom, I’d knit some more. All of my frustrations seemed to be exorcised through the acts of prayer, running, and knitting. They were actions that had a definite beginning and end. Like a road marker, I could look back to the start of a project and see that it had actually gone somewhere. Seeing progress, any kind, is so powerful when you’re hurting.
So, I knit and I didn’t talk about things. Even now, I’m not going to bother with editing this because there is no perfect way of talking about this. I’m just going to type the words and throw in some random photos I don’t think I’ve shown. There’s no way something like a blog post will do this justice, but I’ll try because it is so much a part of me that I want to record something about it.
We were blessed to celebrate Christmas with them at their home again this year. The picture below is from a couple of years ago.
my ravelry, kollabora, flickr, and instagram,
where you’ll find none of these photos, but will find lots and lots of knitting)
This Post Has 27 Comments
My prayers are with you as we head into this new year. I hope you find some peace to deal with the day to day. The love you have for God and your family will get you through these trying times. I wish you a wonderful 2014.
What a beautiful & incredibly loving post … Being a presence & present in your family's everyday life is a gift beyond measure. Much love & light to you & yours in 2014, dear friend. xxoo
thank you for your openness and honesty here dear Michelle!
i have been following you lovely blog for a little while now and i get so inspired by your knittings, i simply love your style. getting to know you more personally through this heart touching post feels like such an honor…what a beautiful soul you are! thank you for letting me know more about you…..about your everyday life.
these lines of yours resonated so deeply within me, it feels like they could be my own:
"They were actions that had a definite beginning and end.
Like a road marker, I could look back to the start of a project and see
that it had actually gone somewhere. Seeing progress, any kind, is so
powerful when you're hurting."
i wish you and your loved ones
all the best for this new year.
and i look forward to continue to visit
you here in this lovely space of yours,
I'm sending many hugs and prayers for you and your family. I hope you feel better sharing, a bit lighter and more supported. I lost my grandfather a few months ago and while some of these same questions plagued all of us for years, in the end, because he knew God and he had done everything he possibly could have in his life for everyone around him, he wasn't bothered by the same things we were. Cling to faith in the hard times and He will carry you through.
prayers and hugs to you. thank you for opening up and sharing. you are not alone and there are people praying for you! praying peace that passes understanding over you and rest for you.
This was so touching to read. Thank you so much for sharing what's been happening in your life.
beautiful and loving. thanks for being so open and sharing with us. Happy New Year my friend. I wish you a year of sunlight, love, laughter, great coffee and peace! Love, Kim
Dear Michelle, I've often thought how brave people are to have their own blog. To post their own ideas, thoughts and feelings and open themselves up to the world. I've had my horizons widened by women who lead lives that in no way resembles mine, I've been inspired by others and their amazing talents. And some times, if I'm really lucky, I read words and look at pictures and glance into a persons life and thought I would love to meet this person. In your blog I have been inspired by your photographs, enabled in my yarn purchases and my day brightened by your posts. Thank you for sharing. xxxTerri
And, of course, it goes without saying I'd love to fit down, share a cup of tea and knit with you. If you're ever in the NYC area?!
Praying with you and for your all.
Isaiah 41:10 — […] I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will hold you up with my powerful right hand.
Thank you, Sarah. I just returned from visiting family, but all the while I was very encouraged by your kind words, and all of those who commented. I think I have found a measure of peace to even be able to talk about it. I also think you are right- God will get me through it, but showing my love for him will get me through it with joy and gratitude. It seems to be the answer to most of my moody slumps 🙂
Thank you, Evelyn! I wish the same for your sweet family.
Thank you, Vibeke. I worried about posting this because I thought it might lessen my grandparents' experience somehow, but I'm glad I did. I love to hear the thoughts of others reflect my own and to hear things I'd never considered. It never occurred to me that anyone would benefit from my saying these things but myself.
I am glad we have "met" via blogs and craft, Vibeke. I am enjoying getting to know you through your words, too.
Thank you Vanessa. I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that you have a peace about it. I think you've got the answer, like Sarah said, below- its a loving relationship with God. That sounds so simple, but it can be hard to just do that and not fret. It is my goal though. I appreciate your encouragement so much.
I am just blown away by your comment and the others. I didn't even expect anyone to read that post because there was no knitting project attached to it. Please know that your prayers and kind thoughts mean so much to me. I think those two things are the gifts I value most these days. Thank you, Kristen.
Why do we sometimes think that opening up is a burden or an annoyance to people? I think I have a built-in belief that I shouldn't trouble people with my feelings. That sounds so like a man :). So thank you, Lilith, for caring and taking the time to tell me so.
Thank you, Kim, for listening 🙂 I hope the same things for you and your family.
Thank you, Katie.
Thank you, Nicky. That's a powerful promise that I have read before but not applied to this situation. I'm going to write it out and hang it on my fridge today. Thanks so much.
I understand what you mean about getting a glimpse into the life and thoughts of people you would not know without the internet, but would like to meet outside of it. I feel honored to be one of them. I have made many friends, like you, that I will never meet via blogs and ravelry that are no less friends than if we were chatting outside the grocery market instead of on the internet.
Oh wouldn't that be fun to meet up? I keep saying I'm going to Rhinebeck one of these days. If I do, we'll schedule a meet-up there or somewhere else!
Thank you for sharing.
Your are doing a great job, girl.
Much hugs and love
Thank you. I appreciate your encouragement, Anastasia.
I've been disconnected since Christmas and I'm still catching up. I understand what you mean that for some things in life you need somebody beside you. I admire you for what you're doing and also understand that need to keep your hands busy. I like how you talk about hope.
I've had long stretches where I couldn't talk so I knit instead; I'm in one now, and reading your post about it feels — not quite good, but *right.* Sometimes all you can do is bear witness and keep your hands moving.
Much love to you and yours.
Thank you, Elena. It's been a few weeks since I posted this and I can't say how much lighter I feel just having thought it through and said it out loud. But I'm still keeping those hands busy.
I appreciate your candor, Arlette. What do people do who can't "be still" by busying their hands? I guess they can get lost in another activity, but what I like about knitting is that I don't really get lost in it. It spends the excess energy I might use for worry while my brain sorts things out. Unless I screw up big time and have to rip back to the beginning, then I might get annoyed :).
I hope your time of painful growth is followed quickly with lighter spirits and strength, Arlette. And, yes, bear witness. It does make a difference to be there.