Of grief and craft

I started cross stitching a year ago, not quite to the day but close enough. Colouring had been something I would do during the last months and weeks of my pregnancy, something to do that didn't require standing and moving - plus, it was soothing and pretty to look it.
Going back home from the hospital to an empty house that was way too silent - as if it'd been noisy before - proved difficult. Daunting, even. Oddly enough I didn't want to fill that painful silence with either music or television sounds, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps because this silence was my way of being with Arthur, a path to grieving, a mean to grieving. Perhaps. Which led me to wonder: how do I grieve my baby?
There are numerous parenting books, full of tips and advice and skills to master when you're lucky enough to go home with a crying baby in your arms. There's no book, no manual on how to grieve and mourn. How do I know I'm doing this right? Should I stay in bed and cry if I feel like it? Should I force myself up? How much crying is too much crying? Should I eat even though I have no appetite?

One thing I knew for sure was that I had to keep busy. I needed it. Having something to do was what got me through one day after another. I would schedule my ironing, doing a bit of it then leaving the rest for the day after; that way I had something to look forward to, that way I could say 'I have this to do tomorrow' and that felt reassuring. Where I should have been nursing and kissing my baby, looking after him and worrying about doing the right thing as a mum, I was planning chores.Chores that ended in the evening where the hours stretching from dinner to bed frightened me. What was I to do then? Watching television wasn't an option because it turned out that there always was something with babies in it, shows or adverts or trailers, even the news. I couldn't find it in me to read because focusing my mind already wrapped around my grief wasn't possible. And colouring reminded me too much of those afternoons spent in the garden with my kicking Arthur having a ball in my womb.

I turned to cross stitching. Not sure how I ended up picking this particular type of embroidery - perhaps the fact that I had done a tiny bit of it as a teenager. Crafts aren't really something I'm good at but I wasn't doing it for any other reason than to be busy, to have my painfully empty hands do something, Make something. And it worked. I had to focus enough to be immersed in my activity but not enough that I couldn't, in the softest way possible, grieve.
I haven't stopped cross stitching still. I'm sure I will one day because life won't allow me as much free time as it does now. I haven't stopped cross stitching and I haven't stopped grieving. I will never stop grieving, That's quite terrible to hear for people around us who perceive this grief as a permanent state leaving no space to the 'moving on' bit, I won't move on. I cannot move on. Move on from my baby's death? Move on from not having a son who should be here with us? Of course I will not move on. But that doesn't mean I am not moving on with my life, that my grief hasn't changed and evolved, that it doesn't take other shapes and forms.
I cross stitch. I grieve. I make pretty things. I grieve. I live.

No comments: