Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A blast from the past

Well if you care to go back to June or if you were reading this blog back then, this purse will look hauntingly familiar, but since my husband has my laptop and I loaded all my new pictures onto that computer this blast from the past will have to do. This purse was in the coop the past few months and it has returned to me anyway. It is freeform thread crochet. I love to crochet with thread almost as much as I love to embroider. There was a time when I would just spend all my days crocheting with thread and making purses and baby sweaters and christening outfits, ornaments. I loved it. I used to put on Andrea Bocelli and take out my crochet needle and crochet the day away. I had a pretty good business when I lived on Long Island crocheting to my hearts content. Now I find my center in hand embroidery, but I am tempted to make another thread bag and put on Andrea Bocelli just to remember yesterday.

Yesterday, or more accurately, years of yesterdays were so much tougher. I found the beautiful angelic voice of Andrea Bocelli when my dad was in a coma for eight months back in 1997. Sometimes when I listen to him now I think of my dad and how painful my life was back in 1997. My dad had a mild heart attack, but was out of oxygen for so long that he was practically brain dead. He was remarried and his wife could not let him go and I could not find the strength to make her. He recovered enough to be able to open his eyes and tears would go down his face. He lived in Florida and I lived on Long Island and had a very fragile 5 year old that I couldn't just abandon so I went through months of optimistic phone calls followed by the devastating reality that he had the mental capability of an infant(or less). I was a mess. The only thing that could calm me was thread crochet and Andrea Bocelli. My needlework has been a lifelong friend in times of tragedy.

In September of that year I got a part time job in a pre school. I loved the children. They were life. My friend got a job as a secretary in the church where the school was located and I met a wonderful friend Paulette while working there. I was able to pretty much hide my anguish but my brain was mush. They used to give me the art projects to prepare. Cutting construction paper is very calming. I think that job probably kept me alive to be quite honest. At a time when death was so constant in my life seeing those children brought me back from the edge.

Life went along, seeing life during the day and getting devastating updates during the night. By mistake one day I told my grandmother that my father loved her very much and she would see him soon in heaven. I didn't realize how prophetic those words would be. Right after Thanksgiving, my grandmother was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer and she only had a short time to live. She is the grandmother who taught me all my needlecrafts therefore giving me the greatest gift in my life.

The holidays were truly awful that year and my dad had sepsis and was actually brought back to life several times during that holiday season. A few hours into January 1, 1998, my dad died. I thought it was a gift. Because of the holiday I wasn't able to go to his funeral but knowing my dad he would have shielded me from it anyway. He was with my mother who ironically also died the first week of January in 1983. Her death was unexpected even though she had terminal cancer, we were naive enough to think that it could be cured when it couldn't. My father's death was a gift. I went back to work on January 4th and acted as though nothing had happened and I loved being around the children so much they probably cheered me up. Three weeks after my father died, my grandmother died. That is when I fell apart. Everything in my world became different. I still remember the feeling of being a photograph, being ripped into tiny pieces, put in a bag and taped up in different places. It is something that stays with me even today(obviously).

I'm not quite sure why I am discussing this but perhaps it is the time of year and the relation that my work has with my life. The reason I am a person who takes tangled threads or pieces of threads and makes something out of them. A mish mash of different patterns and different interests and the ability of somehow putting them all together. Those threads I use heal my soul as well as hopefully touching others.

Today I was volunteering at the Albany Shaker Museum with a lovely grandmotherly woman named Madeline. Her name is important because my godmother is Madeline and her love of fibers is important because she made the most beautiful hand knit Norwegian sweater that she is selling there because it didn't fit her grandson. My father was norwegian and my grandmother taught me how to knit. Perhaps that is the reason for my melancholy today. Perhaps I am just feeling sorry that I don't have my own grandmother or my son doesn't have my mother as his grandmother. Or perhaps this is just a step on the journey of healing. But here it is.

The purse in this picture was made with love and a Dave Matthews CD and for the coop so it's relation to my story is basically just the medium and not the heartache. But I guess for a moment it was for me a blast to the past. Thanks for reading. God Bless and Happy Stitching. I will spend the rest of my night stitching my beloved turtle handbag and watching mindless television.


Valaine said...

Beautiful work!! You are very blessed to have had your grandmother in your life to teach you how to crochet like that! I wish I knew how to create intricate work, all I can do is the basics and I taught myself. I would have loved for a woman figure to teach me, but I look forward to teaching my daughter and I look forward to being a grandmother who can share what I know with my grandchildren :) I'm sorry to read of your loss, I don't know what else to say but that you touched my heart deeply with your story and how you compared yourself to the tangled thread that you some how force to become something beautiful. Beautiful words and crochet!

God Bless you,

Anonymous said...

Another beautiful purse. So beautiful, yet so very different. How every talented you are. I am so glad you shared the story of your grandmother and how she taught you how to crochet. What a wonderful gift she gave you. It sounds like you were very, very close.
What a very difficult year 1997 must have been for you. So many major stressors, all so close together. I am so very sorry for your losses. Yet the love of your family and your craft helped you make it through. What a beautiful story, wonderful, wonderful writing.

tangled stitch said...

Yes 1997 was the year when I started it in one place and ended it in another. I think it is that year of pain that propelled me into the wonderful life I have now.

Thank you for taking the time to read my very personal post and taking the time to comment on it in such a comforting way.

They often say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger and that year definitely made me stronger and much more proactive about my happiness.

Thank you again.

Michelle said...

Your words brought tears to my eyes. I know how death can be a gift, how it can be the only kind option. 12 years ago, I watched my grandmother, my immortal, die from cancer. She was ready to go and went quickly and quietly without a fight. It would have been futile. For her, death was a gift. For 15 months, I've been watching my mother in law fight the inevitable. She has COPD and CHF and was told in October of last year that she would die within six months. She has fought back from the edge so many times, it's scares me to think what everyone is going to do when she finally decides she's had enough, when death will become a gift to her.

I love your purse. I would love to know more about that kind of crochet - the free kind. I've never done anything so beautiful.