Transition into living
In her magazine article, “With Every Stitch,” Nancy Hall describes a dramatic change that occurred following the death of her father (Woman’s Day, Feb. 1, 2001, page 146).
Nancy begins this article by explaining how important knitting had been in her life: “For 20 years,” she writes, “knitting has been my art form, my meditation, my solace when sad, my celebration in times of joy.” On vacations she would stop at yarn shops. She discusses how she would knit during a class, a meeting and a boring movie or television show. In other words, knitting had been at the center of her life.
She goes on to describe how important knitting had been to her during the time of her father’s illness. After he was diagnosed with cancer, knitting served to keep Nancy calm during the plane trips between Connecticut and Tennessee and while she stayed with him in the hospital.
She continued to knit until the day after his funeral. Then, suddenly, she stopped knitting! She writes: “Knitting had always been so close to my heart. Then one day, my needles stopped.” She goes on: “For the first time in my life I didn’t have a project going. … Now I couldn’t knit at all. I couldn’t finish my cashmere cap or my son’s pullover. Even browsing through my yarn stash, which had always brought me inspiration, had lost its charm. What was happening?”
In the next paragraph she shares how she discovered the answer to her dilemma: “Knitting friends gently shared their own stories of knitting at the bedsides of sick loved ones. Your knitting is associated with your dad’s death, they said. It will take time to unravel it. Be patient.”
Nancy’s friends were right. It is not uncommon for bereaved persons to stop a particular activity that is closely associated with a deceased loved one. However, after an individual has had a chance to make the necessary adjustments to the loss of a loved one, he or she begins to make the gradual transition back into the normal routine of life.
In the last part of her article Nancy describes her transition into the routine of life. Gradually she resumed her practice of knitting so that this well-loved hobby came back to the center of her life. But she gives us an important clue to this process: “Recently, I blocked that gray shawl into shape, each stitch worked with love and concern for my father. … And this winter, when I wrap myself in that gray shawl and sit down with my needles and yarn to create something soft and warm, I will feel Dad’s love again, hugging my shoulders in every stitch.”
Nancy avoided the pitfall of remaining permanently stuck in inactivity. She let the normal flow of life carry her back into the mainstream where she resumed her life.
Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is www.shackelfordfuneraldirectors.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.27.07