The thing about stress and grieving is that it affects everyone differently. We all react differently to similar circumstances and we all process things differently. But it is something we must do so that we can continue to live our lives. When we experience a loss of any kind (this can include moving, finding out you will never be able to be a fighter pilot, a close friend's potentially life threatening illness, or of course death of family friends or pets), we need to let go of the past and free up the energy invested in the loss (object, opportunity, life) so that it can be invested elsewhere.
When my father's illness set in with an unexpected trip to the ER for what we thought was going to be an appendectomy, I had rediscovered knitting after a hiatus of about 5 years. I dug into my stash of partially finished sweaters and half conceived designs and ideas that had been abandoned since moving from Vermont and started knitting again. I think it was some of the women I work with were getting into knitting that made me remember this enjoyable pass time. It became something that I shared with these co-workers.
While looking for patterns, I started to discover the roll that the Internet had come to play in creating a knitting community. I stumbled across an issue of Knitty and read an article about steeking something I had never even thought to try. I linked to author Wendy Johnson's blog. This was the first blog I had ever seen and definitely the first knitting blog. I put it in my favorites and would check in from time to time as I slowly started to discover other blogs out there. Around this same time, a new yarn store opened just two blocks from my dad's house. On my daily visits to sit and knit with Dad, I would stop up at the shop, look around, talk to the people there. The idea of knitting and knitters as a community was fermenting. They invited me to sit and knit. They were friendly. It was a reprieve from my father's illness. I had reached the point where my long neglected knitting went everywhere with me -- to waiting rooms, school board meetings, visiting dad at home or the hospital -- people started to comment when they saw me without knitting.
My father's cancer "broke bad" and we spent a lot more time in the hospital. It seemed I was either at work, at the hospital, or sleeping. My routines started to fall apart and I barely saw any of my friends but I continued knitting and this is when I started stashing. I would find "good deals" on Elann or maybe a kit I liked at Ram Wools and I would order it. The boxes sitting on my doorstep when I got home from the hospital gave me comfort. It didn't really matter what was in them. Most of it was good yarn but every now and then I come across some yarn and I think "What was I thinking when I ordered this?" The answer of course is that I wasn't thinking, I was grieving.
There are still priority mail boxes sitting on the stair landing. Once I finally got the ordering under control, i went out and bought under bed boxes and the like at Target. I filled them all and still had yarn and it doesn't quite have a home as evidenced by this common site in the
guest bed yarn room.
I have been avoiding all mail order yarn sites and I have been knitting. Knitting focuses all that grieving energy. It can allow me to think during garter stitch and stockinette, or it can distract me during cables and short rows. And it keeps me just enough focused that I don't fall into the traps of grief. I even started a new project and had to purchase some yarn (since I can't find the random balls of Noro that I purchased a couple of years ago. The problem with the big organization (which was only half completed for sheer volume of yarn) is that I no longer know exactly where everything is. Lizard Ridge has a good combination of stockinette and short rows to fit my current state of thinking and not thinking so Noro has been added to the knitting bag.