Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Healing Quilt

Don't you just love it when things come together in a way you least expect?  And only with hindsight do you see it!

I've been making a quilt from some old blankets that my aunt Jan gave me a couple of years ago.  They used to belong to my Nan (and before that, to her mum).  I'd seen the idea originally in a lovely book I got for Christmas, "Scandinavian Needlecraft" and then again on my friend Sarah's blog.  Sarah used some old jumpers to make a little patchwork blanket.

Anyway, for the past few evenings I've been cutting a couple of the blankets up into approx. 6" squares.  I want to make two quilts, one for me and one for my sister.  So during all the measuring, cutting and sewing, I realised there were moments when I was feeling so sad.  Frustrated.  Angry.  Excited.  Happy.  Totally in my element that I was in such a creative groove.  Yep.  So many emotions.  A rollercoaster indeed.  And I knew it was healing.  I knew what I was doing was cathartic.

I was sad that I couldn't phone Jan up and say, "hey Jan, you should see what I've done with Nan's blankets".  She would've been so happy.  Jan would've been tickled pink that I was making something from them.  Something useful.  Something to be passed onto my daughter, grandchildren.  My Nan was an amazing seamstress and all round creative soul.  She taught me all I know from sewing to crochet.  Oh how I wish she could see what I was doing.  Oh how I wanted just one phone call to Jan.  And my Dad.  I wanted Dad to know that I was like Nan, his beloved Mum.  I wanted Dad to know that the blankets on his beds as a little boy were being turned into a beautiful quilt to be passed onto his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I thought of how the years had flown by.  That I am now my Nan.  That I have a little granddaughter with whom I can share so much.  To teach sewing.  Crochet.  Baking. Painting.  Just time to be creative with her.  To pass on the love.

It's been a healing time.  A healing process.  Simple.  Without even thinking about it or trying.  Yes, I'm still grief stricken.  I miss my Dad so much.  I'm so sad to have lost Jan as well.  And yet the sadness ebbs away somehow and turns to joy.  Not really sure at what point I went from crying through loss and sadness to realising I was feeling surrounded by love, memories flooding back to me and thoughts of tomorrow.  All threaded together with love.  Yes, it may sound corny but my goodness me, that was my experience.  And it has inspired me.  Inspired me forward to tackle more creative pursuits.  To just do it.
It was unintentional but creating this quilt has somehow saved me.  A change of pace.  A break in the heaviness of grief.  A new journey began.


Sarah said...

That is so Lovely Di! As I was reading-and before I got to the part about your Grandaughter, I was thinking that although you can't share with your Dad or Aunt, at least you can pass on those warm feelings and memories to your children and grandchildren-then that was the next thing I read! You never know when or where these things will happen but it is so great they do.
As well as all the emotional healing-I bet the blanket will look great! x

Boo said...

healing indeed. I recently read a great book on finding light after loss shatters your world. It's called seven choices and the pocket book version is invaluable and is relevant for all bereavement(the actual book is focussed on loss of spouse).

It lists stuff you can do to help yourself as you move through grief (as you never "get over" losing someone like a Dad, but one day I promise you - you will laugh and smile instead of cry when you think about him, you'll always love and miss him but somehow the pain turns into love - but it takes an ocean of tears and patience with yourself.)

So in this order:

stay close to those who love you
talk to the person who has died
grieve in ANY way you wish
get counselling if you need extra support or can't share everything with anyone else

the next part/stage is written for you!!!!!

keep a journal, paint, garden, build a birdhouse, nature walks, eat good food, slow down, spend time with those who love you


spend time alone, reflect and reminisce
look at photos
consider what values/dreams/things he had that you would like to leave in the past and what you would like to bring into your future
scrapbooks :-)
write stories about the past with family or for them, or just for you
see the value in solitude

If in the future you have a time of struggle/hurdle:

feelings from when your Dad died could resurface. Recognize tis and talk about it. Focus on solving problem rather than being upset that the problem has arisen.
Distinguish between problems that are related to your loss and those that are part of normal everyday life.

Replenish yourself by walking, writing (poetry) looking at art you love, music, cooking new recipes, gardening. Be patient with you.

Share your wisdom with others
Acknowledge the hard work you have gone through to get this far, honour your sense of humour, stay in touch with what gives your life meaning, keep time for quiet and stillness.

If you face another loss, remind yourself of your learnings.

You are one of those people that intuitively knows what to do honey by re-reading those words ... no wonder you always know what to say to me. I was amazed at how much I had done out of a "need" that came so strongly, yet randomly to me. So I guess I'm doing okay too, but you, wow you could have written the advice here, you are doing it.

Sending you light and love.