Thursday, July 17, 2014

Break, Break, Break

Break, break, break,
         On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
         The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
         That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
         That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
         To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
         And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
         At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
         Will never come back to me.  ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Yesterday my daughter drew a picture of a happy face and a sad face with a check box beside each one, and instructed me to check the one I was feeling at that moment. I was feeling pretty good, the weather was nice, it was a good day. I was conscious of all the things I'm grateful for, so ignoring the sad undercurrent that's always present because Toren is missing out on all of this, I checked the happy face. She continued drawing and doing her other 5 year old little things while I watched. A while later she slid the drawing back towards me and said, "You can check both if you want." No other explanations or instructions, just that. She stood there patiently looking at me, not judging me, just waiting for my decision. I picked up the pen and checked off the sad face too.

Later that night, she drew a second picture. It was again one happy face and one sad face. Then she drew several check boxes around each one, "in case other people want to join in too." Peter was calling her to brush her teeth before bed, and before running off, she quickly drew a heart between them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Longing & Belonging

I've been enjoying doing some crafting. It's not something I've ever done much of in my life. Probably as a kid in school. I don't remember. My mom is talented at sewing and used to make some of our clothes. I'm supposed to be doing these crafts with my daughter but she's happiest dancing and singing around me while I do the actual work. Sometimes she will be inspired to contribute some art to the proceedings. She named these two owls "Hoot" and "Duffy". They have been my favourite project so far.

There's been a niggling thought at the back of my mind as I do these crafts. I always feel a moment of small pride when I finish a project and then almost right away: I shouldn't have time to do this stuff. I should be running around chasing a two-year old. I shouldn't be able to leave buttons and needles lying around. From what I can tell, this is normal for bereaved parents. It's not that I feel entitled to anything more than anyone else. You just live in two timelines - the present one, and the one that would have been. It feels like a natural consequence of the - usually - reasonable expectation that your children outlive you. So even though I enjoy making things and working with my hands, I also feel a little bit stupid doing them. I assume this feeling will pass in time, as I become more skilled (on a few different fronts).

On the whole, crafting has been good. It's yet another outlet for the grief. Every owl, every bird of paradise, every ghost (ghost?? I will probably stop making those) is made with pure love. Also rage, sadness, fear, anxiety and shock. It all gets stuffed in there with the batting. Not stuffed down and away, just...integrated.

One good thing about learning the nuances of daisy stitch vs running stitch is that it's a relaxing way to spend time on my own. It's almost meditative to pass the needle through one side of the fabric and out the other, repeating a pattern of stitches over and over until suddenly a form emerges. Since the miscarriage I've been feeling more isolated. It's surprising how many social groups you can get kicked out of when bad things happen to you. I realize it's a two-way street. I feel like I understand every single person's position when it comes to relating to me. But it still hurts like hell to feel like I don't belong anywhere. I'm not very gracefully learning how to navigate the latest bumps in the road. Or as someone once said - the bumps are the road.

Right now, the best place for me is to be immersed in the textures, colours  and comfort of a harmless pile of felt.