Creating

Another Month On

We were told/warned that the 4 to 6 week period after a death is probably the worst part and they could be right though it’s all pretty awful to be honest. The time when the quiet descends, the funeral is past, all the paperwork has been signed, all the meeting with his friends and old family is over, everyone goes back to being normal. Our world wont’t ever be the same but it will be different and we will learn to adjust. We still have the dogs needing our attention and I still have my creativity, thank goodness. I’ve started to venture out. First meetings are hard as the condolences are said. Just that one word condolence can set me off. Second meetings are easier for me and those who don’t know quite what to say. Cleaning of the house has been done for the first time in weeks. Food is starting to be properly prepared and eaten. Thoughts turn to adjusting without Chris.

Elsa found a great piece on the Box and the Ball of Grief analogy by Lauren Herschel and it totally sums it up. Some days the ball is huge and I don’t want to face anything, then it shrinks a little and life can sneak back in. HERE is an online version of it, though there are plenty out there saying the same thing.

On the creative front I have finished 20 of the scrappy 10.5 inch squares. I have to find some sashing and I think it will come out about 48” x 64” ish. Quite a generous lap quilt size. Nice for a snuggle under. This has reduced the two boxes to just under one. I have more plans for the scraps though so will work on it.

I’ve completed two more Hussif rolls and stitched the main body of four more. I’ve started to think towards the possibility of perhaps doing the open studios in 2024. The last one I did in 2018 was held at the church but I think I’d like to do it from home again. These sort of things are often liked as gifts so having a few done will be good. I also thinking of perhaps selling them from here or my long unused Etsy! There’s also a little needle book I’ve made but not so sure of that.

Something else I have lots of is glass from years back. I’ve had a bit of a play but my soldering is appalling and well out of practise! These hearts need a lot of re soldering and cleaning up before I can putty and finish them. I have drawn up a few more shapes I’d like to try at some point and I have also found my vitreous paints so perhaps I can add a bit of ‘other’ to some bits too.

In the yarn department for evenings I have started the Domino Blanket by Knit One Kits I bought at the Southern Wool Show when I went with Tracy in September. It’s not as complicated as it looks and made with the lovely Sidar Jewelspun in shade Nordic Noir.

Also a Stylecraft 9966 Granny Motif cardigan in my own shades of Recreate yarn in Charcoal, Ink, Teal and Avocado.

And lastly the Stargazer blanket by Emma Varnam which I’m making for the GSP Rescue Uk. The half square pattern was not making sense to me no matter what way up I looked at the instructions but luckily Emma has done a YouTube of the diagonals. It’s either me really reading it wrong or what she says and does bears no resemblance to what it written. I class myself as an experienced and advanced crocheter and was totally bamboozled. How these things pass testing I sometimes wonder. Anyway, it’s a lovely looking blanket and growing quite well.

In the Dog House world we are gearing up for Secret SantaPaws! Gwyn’s first of course, she’s very excited. The family I am sending to have a dog called Raven and she has a few issues as she is older. I couldn’t find anything special for her so I made her her own dog toy out of some really firm fabric I was given. I wouldn’t like to say what it is but it doesn’t fray but isn’t felt, it’s like a serge if anything, and did a great job. Of course it’s very hard to photograph as it’s black but it is life size and I was a bit reluctant to let it go! One of those things that made itself with no pattern, but I may try to make another one day. Proper legs would have been too complicated and it’s only a dog toy! (Though my OCDself did itch to make some!).

Miss Willy has had her leg brace fitted for her Achilles tear. It’s a bit of a faff but if it keeps the operation option away we’re working with it! She is also responding well to the shockwave therapy she is having so we’re keeping everything crossed.

It has also been that time of year again where we sort and send out the rescue cards and calendars. Despite there being a worrying delay on the calendars themselves we had a mad few days and several bags at a time left home with Gwyn’s seal of approval.

We are still here, we are still functioning and we are still grateful for all the messages and comments. Thank you for reading this far. X

28 thoughts on “Another Month On

  1. Grief has a life of its own it seems and things come at you out of nowhere at unexpected times. Exhaustion is what I remember most, so getting back into cooking and crafting is a huge comfort and a shift in energy, which I sense feels a bit better for you. Keep taking things at your own pace and looking after yourself.
    So many wonderful projects on the go. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My first experience of grief was when I lost Ruger in 2019 but since September ’21, a year, I’ve had two other dogs die and John trying to twice. Losing Chris really is beyond anything and some days I could burst with it. But, I still wake each day, the dogs need walking and I have John for company. Just taking each day. xx

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  2. Hi Amanda,

    It is lovely to read your blog. I absolutely applaud all your creative efforts, and think you are doing absolutely the right thing. Our creative souls find terrific solace in hands on projects.
    I absolutely love the scrappy blocks. They are gorgeous.
    Huge hugs and very best wishes,
    Di x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re doing marvellously – whatever you are doing is marvellous in the circumstances and it sounds as if you are being realistic and gentle with yourself. I hope so. The amount of creativity in your projects astounds me – from the fabulous quilt top to stained glass, to the crocheting and knitting, all looks lovely. Bright pops of colour in a dingy world. Look after yourself. x

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  4. I so relate to how difficult it is to return to activities, with people still needing to acknowledge your loss or just looking at you worriedly. After my husband died, I felt like an open wound that everyone could see and I wanted nothing more than for “things” on the outside to get back to normal. Please quit treating me with kid gloves. Please make jokes around me again. Please don’t include me in things out of sympathy that you never would have before. I can tell.

    And just when I thought I had my emotions under control, something I didn’t expect would bother me suddenly did and I’d find myself in tears, those “things [that] come at you out of nowhere at unexpected times” as Wild Daffodil put it, and that I started to refer to as landmines. But they do get less frequent in time, and people do start treating you normally again, and you still grieve as you always will, but in different ways, and those closest to you will understand and lend support and a hug. It is so good that you are finding some relief and refuge in your many creative endeavors and your charity work too. It’s a long road but it will come.

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    1. Feeling guilty for laughing or just chatting normally is a bit of a stumbling block, in my head anyway. And that moment of telling someone and seeing their face drain as they don’t know quite what to say or how to react. I’m comforting others for my bereavement. I find I’m being kinder in saying my son has passed or died rather than took his own life or committed suicide and certainly not how as that is beyond harsh. I want to scream it loudly but that would be unkind to the unknowing.
      That box with the button of pain and resizing ball of grief is so apt.

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      1. Laugh when you want to and cry when you have to was something said to a widowed aunt years ago. Chris wouldn’t want you to feel guilty doing every day normal things. You are being so productive with all your lovely projects.

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        1. Oh yes, that feeling guilty when without thinking, automatically have a “normal” response, and then remember things aren’t normal and maybe even someone else might frown at your actions, yes, remember that feeling well. But I do think our departed loved ones really don’t want us suffering, just remembering.

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  5. it has been my experience that those who are grieving seem to be incredibly adept at comforting those who grapple to find words … becoming the comforters rather than the comforted … your observations here are so apt … and your example of creating in spite of it all is beyond inspiring

    I bid you peace

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    1. I read an article once how cancer patients spent so much time comforting others. It is strong in human nature I suppose. Being creative is where we can be us and in our own space and so valuable. We are lucky.

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  6. I’m always amazed at your creativity. A small comment on Emma Varnham. I have her “Crocheted Succulents” book. Great ideas but lots of mistakes and that was a published book so it may be that what is written isn’t exactly what she did.

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    1. I had instant alarm bells when she was saying to chain 3 and the pattern was chain 2. The rest of the mistakes just fell into place. It beggars belief. I have been known, even with Black Sheep makes, to carry on making as my brain does what should be done and not necessarily what is written. This one was baaaddddd.

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  7. I think you are in the worst bit of grief. The numbness has worn off, the busyness has finished and the pain is at its worst. Your scrappy blocks show it perfectly – mostly dark with bits of colour Popping out in a jumbled way. (That is not to say the quilt isn’t beautiful by the way. It is because the colour shines out). You are doing exactly what you need to do – what you can when you can. And the structure dogs bring to our lives is helpful because they get us through the days. Grief is a marathon not a sprint and you have had such a difficult year and I know from your previous posts that John’s health is still a cause for some concern. Christmas is bound to be hard but you will get through it. Sending big hugs to you and John as you grapple with everything and a big one to the dogs too for helping you through it all – especially Gwyn because a puppy never lets you forget that life goes on.

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    1. Gwyn certainly doesn’t let us forget her! They really have kept me going. They pull back my focus when I need it most. We will be in the quiet of Wales again soon and that will be a balm for the soul too.

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      1. If I remember rightly you visit Pembrokshire and stay near the sea which always helps with perspective. Enjoy your break.

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  8. I think everyone’s experience of grief is different, but it certainly goes through phases and variations, and how you climb out of it, live with it, deal with it, is also individual. So often condolences hit the wrong spot – bandaging the wrong leg, as it were – or the person trying to be sympathetic doesn’t know how. There was a bit of me that was pleased when everyone else moved on. At least they weren’t making things worse any more!

    It’s good to have a variety of things to do, as well, creatively. Sometimes one can just play, sometimes the ball is too big, and following instructions is better. Although if the pattern is impossible, maybe not! Sometimes I wonder whether some patterns are tested at all!

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    1. Yes, I want things to move on into a more accepted place and at the same time I’m screaming don’t forget my little boy! It’s all topsy turvy. I can almost feel the whispers fading but he will re emerge at times for his family and friends. We have the Just Giving money to donate in the new year and that will be a pleasing thing in a sad way.

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      1. They won’t forget him. Really, they won’t. The elder brother of one of my oldest schoolfriends died twenty years ago, and though I barely knew him, and certainly hadn’t spent time with him for over a decade before he died, he comes to my mind along with the rest of his family.

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  9. The ball-in-the-box is such an accurate description of grief. Sending hugs! The scrappy quilt is lovely and the glass hearts are fab! Shame about the crochet instructions, but I think the amazing Mr Raven does that instructions are overrated😂

    Lots of love. B xxx

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