Friday, May 2, 2008

Crafting - a life line

I had virtually quit crafting after the death of my brother and when we adopted Deniska 4 years ago. I was the main caregiver to my aging mother with Alzheimer's, I had a 4 year old who didn't understand a lick of English, and a husband who was overwhelmed by all the new changes in our life. I can remember going to work, crying, taking care of Mama, crying, dealing with family life, crying, going through the routines of life, crying, etc.... Seems I did a lot of crying.

When Mama went to the nursing home, I thought things would somehow be easier. Instead, it got harder to go through each day. In May 2006, we lost Gabriel. That was devastating to me and I will never forget his smile and sweet little body. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him and say a prayer for him. It was almost too much to bear.

Nikolai arrived a year ago and once again we started with the difficult transition of adding a child to our settled family. Temper tantrums, crying, acting out, throwing things, pinching, stealing, and tattling are just a few things that we went through daily. It took a year for him to settle down and those things are not as common. I still was going to the nursing home, crying on the way home, dealing with difficult children, and tottering on the edge of despair. Still, no crafting in sight. I just did not have time.

I can't say that the past four years have been fun or particularly happy. In fact, they have been very difficult with more sadness than happiness. Our marriage must be really strong for us to cling to each other as we drifted on this sea of unrest and unhappiness. Ir's been hard - too hard.

Mama died in December 2007 and something died in me too that day. I can't explain what died, I just know that I am no longer the person I was. I am an orphan. Something deep inside awakened and called to be recognized. The creative part of me was waking as if from a long slumber. I started crafting again. The dishes could go unwashed, the clothes unfolded, the floors unswept, I needed to craft. And, craft I did. Through crafting, I found that the problem was within me. It was not the external pressures place on my life, it was the internal pressures of having everything perfect. I had to change if I wanted my life to change. I could not continue trying to do everything.

Perfectionism is a horrible thing. She will not allow you to be human. She robs you of enjoying the laughter of children when they have made a mess playing. She doesn't allow you to enjoy small accomplishments because she always points out what is wrong. She is jealous of your free time and always sends guilt to you. I don't like her very much. She has been with me far too long and I am tired of her negative spirit. It was time for us to part ways.

As I crafted, I sent Perfectionism away. I told her to leave me alone and let me grieve for my mother and my brother. I have never grieved for my brother who died 4 years ago. I was too busy taking care of my mother, my child, my husband, everybody else instead of me. Now, I have time to grieve. I grieve for my brother who was robbed of meeting and loving my children. I grieve for my children who will never know their uncle or grandmother as vibrant, productive people. I grieve for my husband who is stuck with a slightly crazy wife. I grieve for myself who has been denied so many things by herself. Perfectionism still tries to sneaks in sometimes and I have to guard against her. I find prayer helps a lot to keep her at a respectable distance!

With each craft, I grieve a little more. I feel better. I feel healthy. I feel that I might enjoy life once again!


  1. Susan,

    It makes me feel better to know that you have your crafting to help you through these times of grieving. May each little stitch that you put into your hand-crafted item continue to bring you peace and blessings. I know that when I'm feeling really sad and like things are falling apart, picking up my needlework really helps to soothe my heart and soul. And I know it does for you also.

    Linda in VA

  2. Crafting is very good for the soul. When I a young wife and my Marine husband was away so much, I spent most all of my free time doing cross stitch or embroidery or quilting. I think I was able to cope much better with the lonliness than my non-crafting neighbors did.

    Happy Mothers Day to you, Susan. I know it will be bittersweet for you this year.

  3. It's me again, already. This really struck a note with me as I lost my mother last month. I was her caretaker for the last 20 months of her life. She had ALS (Lou Gehrig's diseast) so mentally she was fine, but physically she was getting weaker and more helpless practically daily. She passed away peacefully in her bedroom in my home, which is now my sewing room, so I feel sad a lot when I am in here. She had hospice care, and they were wonderful. She was 80 years old. I am glad that the crafting helped you. I am lucky in that I can pretty much indulge myself, as I haven't got children to be responsible for, and I am retired now. It is very good to meet you.


Thank you for leaving a comment!