After a devastating loss – the murder of your husband – how do you ever get a life back again? Here, a close friend of mine shares her courageous story, writing as if to her husband. She tells him that she is learning to knit, a stitch at a time, until she has knitted a different blanket, still of love….
“In my wisdom I have decided to try and learn something new – so earlier this week I was at a learn to knit workshop. Why?
I have no idea, but I think it is something to do with if my hands are occupied then maybe my thoughts will go elsewhere. It’s like grubbing around in the earth when I don’t like gardening yet it makes me feel grounded.
The workshop was good fun. I met people who didn’t know me – and sometimes I like that. I can skate over the surface of life – interacting but not revealing much. That makes it sound like I’m ashamed. I am not. John O’Donohue writes beautifully about shame.
It’s just that if I ever have to tell or choose to tell someone what happened, it doesn’t matter what else they do, there is always a look in their eyes. A mixture of pity and horror. That’s when the negativity demons poke their nasty little heads out. I feel guilty then. Maybe I am not horrified enough, maybe I’m functioning too well; maybe I am too normal …and on it goes.
When I see that look, it also brings back the “eyes” nightmare when I used to see dark, black eyes following me everywhere and watching, watching, watching. Thank goodness it is only momentarily now as it was not at all nice!!
Anyway here I am – sitting knitting – and I was just looking at this effort of mine. I can almost feel and see your smile of resignation at another of my dabbles! I hope you know how much I loved that about you, that you so easily let me be me. I think you did.
I am putting together a blanket- and I am struggling with the damn thing! I can’t help but think that once my life – our life- was like a blanket – a well-worn, colourful, cosy blanket. There were a few worn bits, some patches, some rough edges but it was a blanket which wrapped me in warmth, love and security. A very ordinary blanket but sometimes I yearn to be ordinary again. Yet yet if I have a time when I feel ordinary, I berate myself – for how can I ever be ordinary when such an extraordinary thing happened to me (and you!).
One day my life unravelled right in front of my very eyes, stitch by stitch row by row. I was left bare, exposed for all the world to see and hanging- dangling by a thread, gripping on but dangling in another world – one beyond my recognition. I hung there (thank goodness for that thread) then somehow, sometime, I don’t know when I picked up the thread and began to weave a new blanket.
I wove it with some threads from my old one – they give me strength. There are new threads plaited with anxiety, apprehension and anticipation woven in among. There is a thread of hope running through this blanket. It is a blanket still of love – taken from the love we had which sustains me – but it is warm with the goodness I have found around me.
It is a strange blanket this new one. It is quite holey. I drop stitches every so often, and there is a very unfamiliar pattern and there are a lot of loose ends. It is a work in progress but gradually I am making my blanket – and I even quite like it.
Back to my knitting…“