Stitch by stitch. 

      In the summer of 2014, when we made our difficult choice of having Parker live at a staffed resource, I found myself having a very difficult time dealing with my emotions. I’d cry at the drop of a hat, yell when there was no reason to yell, and fight just to ignore how I was feeling. Thankfully I had some sick leave available and I was able to take a few weeks off work. But what I found was, that in the quiet moments, the moments that I would normally be so stressed out I couldn’t see straight, I had no idea what to do with myself. I found I couldn’t focus enough to even watch tv, my mind would wander and the feelings of guilt, and worry and sorrow would make it impossible to be in the moment. I didn’t make plans with friends because I didn’t feel like I deserved to go out and have a good time. 

    I found myself incapable of relaxing, to not be “on” at every moment. My ears perked at every sound, being so used to listening to make sure Parker was safe. I didn’t know how to connect with my other children anymore. I now had what our family needed, time to focus on them. Time to spend time with them, to nurture their spirits, to be their mom again. And I didn’t know how to make it happen. I was shell shocked. I didn’t know how to function without the constant stress , and worry, and frustration that filled each day. 

    So I decided to learn to knit and eventually learn to crochet. I needed to find something that I could focus on, so I wouldn’t sit and dwell on our decision and how life was going to look now.  At the time I was first learning to knit I found this poem that really spoke to me. 
My fingers tangle and trip

over sloppy knitting

like a deer 

learning to walk on crooked 

pencil legs.

Like a song I don’t quite

know the words to.

I move unsteadily,

uncertain, with short shaky breaths. 

Remember when I taught my lungs

to breathe again in August? 

After so many mistakes that

I didn’t know how to

reconcile.

I wanted to die out back 

of a hotel in Montana, dramatic 

in the weeds and grasshoppers.

Needles fighting, I 

spread a mess of mustard yarn

across my fingers like

I need a napkin.

Has anything changed?

Dropped stitches, weary knots leaving

gaping holes.

I think of how I ran away

from it all.

There are days I still look back.

But I look straight into the sky

as if demanding an explanation from

God himself.

I have to shade my eyes

sometimes, 

seeing blinding brilliance 

in the sun now.

I can’t live any longer only 

by the light it sheds 

everywhere else.

No, in births of light and bursts 

of truth and slow, overdue breaths

is a song I’m finally learning

the words to.

You will not defeat me.

I rip out my knots

and begin again.

~Sharon Stewart

    So I worked hour after hour learning how to weave my yarn into something resembling a finished product. I loved learning enough to be able to create presents for the people around me, that the things originally rooted and created during such sadness could bring joy to others. And I found that with each stitch the feelings of hopelessness, despair, frustration and failure were slowly replaced with feelings of renewal, hope, determination and happiness.  

    I’m slowly adapting to our new normal. It’s not happening as fast as I’d like, I still have many moments of sadness, but stitch by stitch I am getting there. 
Tonja  

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