lessons learned

Sunday, June 28, 2009

i have been thinking a great deal about creativity and grief, specifically how doing something creative can help you heal. i am sure that this idea is not new and there are probably books that have been written about it, and research to back the theory.

i have been knitting for about 8 years and i taught myself how to knit because i needed a hobby, something to do in my free time. i had no idea that it would provide me with my creative voice, one i didn't think i had, or that it would be a part of the very essence of who i am. but what i could not foresee eight years ago is that it would save me and keep me from going into a deep dark hole and never coming out. in the hours and days after coopers death, i wanted to go into that hole. it seemed like the only place that i could make the pain go away, and in those immediate days it was my precious husband, family and friends that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

when i think back to that time, i wasn't able to knit, not at first. i think it seemed too normal and we were living in a time that was anything but normal. but eventually, i was able to knit again and the moment that it happened, was when the numbness wore off and i needed something to do with my hands, something to keep my mind occupied. it was a return to the basics, to where i started, a scarf. i had this beautiful yarn that i bought from a woman in france in my stash and it spoke to me, along with a soft ivory merino. i cast on without thinking and immediately my hands took over, intuitively knowing what to do, giving my mind a break from the heartache and pain, and nourishing my wounded soul. after i finished the scarf, i worked on our blanket. i knit things without a pattern, there was something about endless knitting, without following directions that was healing or maybe it was so i didn't have to think, i could just knit.

when this simple knitting was no longer enough to distract me from my thoughts, i came up with the idea for coopers flock, using knitting to heal my heart, create a legacy for cooper and help others. i was consumed with knitting birds. i could knit a bird in less than two hours which gave me a sense of accomplishment. and there was also a purpose to my knitting. one day i just stopped knitting birds, i cant recall when it was that i stopped knitting them. i had knit about 50 birds for coopers flock and they were arriving daily in the mail. it was at this time that i started seeing designs in my head and i saw this as a positive sign.

despite my progress, my thoughts would still consume me and knitting alone was not able to keep them at bay. i wanted so desperately to be pregnant, so if i wasn't thinking about cooper, i was obsessing about having another baby. this led to the idea of sewing. if i learned something new, i would have to concentrate because it would be foreign to me, not intuitive like knitting. so i jumped in with both feet and have been consumed by sewing and fabric ever since. there is something about the hum of the sewing machine that is comforting, and surprisingly i am able to think while i am sewing, but i cant get consumed by my thoughts or i will have a big mess of fabric and thread on my hands.

what has ensued is a balance of knitting and sewing, yarn and fabric, patterns of all kinds, inspiration and most importantly healing. i spend most days moving from the sewing machine in the dining room ( i sew standing up) to the couch in the living room with my knitting, projects in various states of progress. i sketch and plan my next knitting project. i dream about fabric and my next quilt. my mind is so full of creative ideas i think its going to explode and i cant get them out fast enough. and for the first time in months, i feel like myself. no my heart is not back together, but it is healing, the ache for cooper is not as raw and the thought of crawling in a deep dark hole is nothing more than a faint memory.


  1. What a coherent, sensitive record of your creative journey. You have such clarity about what has happened and is happening. Creativity does bring healing, and you have opened yourself to the process. My heart sings with joy for your deepening creativity and healing. And in time, your experience shared will bring comfort and direction to others who suffer loss.
    Hope your cold is better.

  2. I love reading about your journey and the creative process you follow. I have been on a similar journey and also found great solace in knitting and sewing. Baking, too. A lot of the time I would bake things that we wouldn't even eat ourselves...we have sweet and willing and hungry neighbors! You continue to be in my prayers and I so enjoy your updates on your latest projects. Your work is beautiful, in part because of the heart and soul you put into it.
    Take good care,
    Tara (houseofjayhawks)

  3. That's a beautiful proof for knitting (or being creative) as a healing process - thank you very much for sharing! I'm very impressed by your way of coping with your child's early death; thanks again for sharing grief, anger, helplessness - as well as hope and courage! You're a wonderful woman, and your husband seems to be a very precious person.
    Sending you my love,

  4. Lucinda, you continue to be a source of amazement and inspiration, both with the graceful and eloquent way you have climbed along this healing path(knitted,stitched your way out of dark time, not over yet I know) and as well with the voracity of learning and accomplishment you display at your new sewing explorations. There is positively no doubt you have a deep deep well of creativity coupled with a generous heart, a hungry audience here and grateful grateful family and friends and blog visitors blessed by the solace and joy you create and share.Thanks you Lucinda, really. lovelovelove to you,