This sums up how my year has gone so far. Just before the turn of the year, Grandmother fell and broke her hip. I knew in my heart somehow that this was the beginning of the end for her. I guess we all did, but no one wanted to say it really. I regret nothing of the time spent sitting with her, watching, waiting, loving, living as she slipped away more every day. I am thankful I was there, sad that I wasn’t able to be there more. I don’t long to say more to her, to tell her things she didn’t know. She knew all of me. She built most of the world that gave me my foundations. So I have no regrets. I know my roots. She gave me my wings. I watched as she earned hers by degrees. I was not there as she finally let go. And that, too, is ok. I am content that she finished what she came to earth to do.
Still, there is a hole in my life without her. I have not had the luxury of time to truly grieve yet. I’ve been doing it in small chunks. A moment here with a photo, a moment there with tiny treasures that bring her smile back to me. Bits of paper and string, little pencils, old dolls, precious unfinished quilt pieces, fragments of memories, notes she wrote that turn up in my books, cards and letters she wrote–all of these have been signposts on my journey as I inch along, not yet ready to pull off the road and give them my attention. Not yet ready to fully feel whatever it is that longs to be felt. I am stubbornly not yet willing to allow anything to fill that empty space.
But empty spaces have a way of filling themselves sometimes. So my year has been full to the brim with busy. I’ve paid tribute to all that she taught me, each and every day since she left us. I have created more new work in this year than in any other since I began sewing professionally. I have cried into my stitching, blurry from all the tears and ripped it all out again countless times so far and the year isn’t over yet. I have shared stories and buttons and tiny treasures. I have felt joy and pride that she gave me the skills to change lives and hearts with the work of my hands. In the same breath, I have turned to the phone to call and tell her something new I learned or to ask her if she’d ever tried this or that craft, only to remember I can’t reach her now.
I have felt deeply the imminent loss of my childhood home–this, a grief so deep it surprised me, and few could comprehend my attachment to it. It was my sanctuary, more than any other place I’ve ever been. It was where all my stories began and where some of them ended. It was where I learned about music and art and sewing too. It was the place where my imagination took wing and I knew I could do anything if I worked hard. Home was where I could return to nourish my aching spirit after all the times my world crumbled. It was simply home.
The year has felt like one crisis after another with no breaks, no vacations, no end in sight. My work has been behind deadlines all year. I have worked day after day after day, numb and in an endless hurry to finish so I could go on to the next thing. Even my writing, the thing which I felt was so healing, has fallen to the side in the face of deadlines. My health, too was suffering earlier in the summer. I’m slowly getting back on track. Our family is now turning our attention to helping with all the random and myriad things that are so necessary to support our graduating high school senior. I don’t want to miss a moment of his senior year. I want to hold onto each one and it is all flying by so fast.
There still is no long week of leisure time ahead in sight for me. I will continue to seek out those bits of memories, fragments of precious time with my children and those moments of bliss when I see I’ve made a customer love who they see in the mirror in my studio. This post was not meant to sound like complaint but to remind myself to cherish what I have and with whom I have it all. Everything is bittersweet this year. I cannot even begin to consider what the holidays will look like without her, but I promise to hold you all close and to tell you I love you. And I do. I love each and every one of you. Thanks for reading.