I have always loved to crochet and knit. When my daughter was born five years ago, I was knitting blankets and toys. When she became a toddler, I started to crochet because the toolkit was less lethal! Being the kind of inquisitive child who rifles through my belongings without a care, I had to retire my trusty needles.
Two years ago, my second daughter was born. I needed an outlet. So I picked up a magazine called Simply Crochet. I was inspired by the patterns and the beautiful yarns so I started to make some small projects.Then, I joined the Facebook communities and became hooked 🙂
Six weeks after my daughter was born, my husband lost his job. This left us us both without a job. This sent me into wild panic naturally as he had a good job and at the time. I was a stay at home mum. I had a part time job doing Payroll, once a week.
As a creative mind, so all wasn’t lost. I may have been a stay at home mum, but there was my multimedia degree. I also hold two teaching certificates. Plus there was an odd bit of graphics and web freelance I undertook whilst watching the kids.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
My very helpful neighbour had just been appointed over all things digital at his cousins firm. He appointed me to look after their web and marketing. I was six weeks into a new born and recovering from a Caesarean section. In spite of this, I grabbed the opportunity and made it my own. I worked around the clock to create them a new website, learning new things about code and development as I went along
Eventually that clients workload exceeded our previous household and I saw the opportunity not to have money, but to turn the situation into something more long term. What does this have to do with a Mandala you might ask? I’m coming to it.
I found a business partner. We created a small web development and marketing agency which we have ran successfully for two years. I put my hooks away, and my needles and I became incredibly wired. No time to waste. I became one of those entrepreneurial people who has no time for hollow pursuits.
My husband is a photographer and losing his job was a relief. He retained one client from their old business which provided him around 5 months work during the year. He has spent the rest of the year perfecting his landscapes and fine art. This John Lewis who purchased some of his prints. Also, he was shortlisted for landscape photographer of the year. Things looked great!
Another bend in the road.
In the midst of everything, around 10 months into opening the office, my mum developed pain in her abdomen. It seemed like gallstones – and it was. She went in for keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder around May 2016. I’m not sure what happened in sequence but the doctor found cancer of the gallbladder. She had immediate surgery at the end of May. I won’t go into the whole story in this post but she recovered and went on with life as normal. Although much slower as she was recovering from major surgery.
In November she went back to the doctor as she was experiencing some pain and swelling. Then she went home to await the results. That evening her doctor knocked at the door and had ambulance take her in. After numerous tests and procedures to help her keep food down we found out nothing was working and there was nothing more to be done. She died six days later on the 19th December.
This whole situation is so raw and there are no words that can adequately describe how bereft I am. To lose my mum, my kids grandma and one of my dearest loves in all my life. It shattered me.
Back to hooking.
I picked up my crochet hook when mum was in hospital. In those days we stayed overnight. It never came out of the bag. All my attention was focussed on mum. She died at Christmas. After a week or so, Danny sent me home. I couldn’t focus on anything. I picked my hook up again and started to make a baby blanket. The incredible sense of calm and the escape from my thoughts was like a break in the clouds.
Being a grieving person I went on an online yarn spree, dusted off my knitting needles and bought wool for around seven projects, but in the midst of them all I saw in a Facebook group I am a member of, a beautiful Mandala Afghan. I sent for the yarn with the idea that I would create this massive piece of work as a healing project. With each round I could think about mum, and also move along with life.
I’m not a writer. Though I have a lot of thoughts. I wished to express my thoughts about grief, creativity and family life in this blog. So completely separate from the demanding digital world I have to be part of to pay the bills. If along the way, I can help anyone else in their grief, then great.