Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Knotted emotions: navigate grief your own way

Jan 02, 2024 03:10PM ● By Laird Landon

Dear Laird: My mom taught me to crochet when I was 10. It’s been our thing ever since. All through her decline, we have crocheted together. Last week, however, she just stared at the yarn and couldn’t do it. She forgot how. It broke my heart. I have watched her slowly fail with sadness, but nothing like this. I am crushed. I can’t move forward. What is happening to me?
Signed, Unraveling 

Dear Unraveling: Crocheting with your mother is a symbol of your closeness. It’s understandable that the recent unraveling of this shared activity has triggered your grief that you’ve tried to delay as long as you could. 

If you have other family members, they may not understand your grief. In the realm of caregiving, especially in the face of aging and chronic illness, many family members witness their loved ones gradually losing themselves. Sometimes the changes are subtle and in other cases, like yours, it all comes crashing down. 

Grief is a complex emotion, and in Western society, it often goes unrecognized until it confronts us head-on. We act as if life is a battle with death, leading us to believe: If only I could have given better care, maybe Mom would not have died so soon. 

We tend to associate grief solely with death, but it permeates our lives whenever we experience significant losses—a beloved pet, a defining job, a dear friend who moves away. These losses evoke grief, as it has for you with your mom forgetting how to crochet.

Grief is also accompanied with guilt and the feeling that we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. We know Mom will die someday, but it won’t be today. So when it actually happens, we think it shouldn’t have happened yet. 

Each person deserves the time and space to grieve in their own way. Some may appear stoic on the surface, while others may take an extended period to process their grief.

You had the special bond to sit together and enjoy being with each other. I know you will be sad for your loved one. 

Your grief, tied to the act of crocheting, is a natural response. With time, the memory of this shared activity may bring both sadness and joy. Reflect on the special bond you had, the joy of sitting together and the simple pleasure of each other’s company. Embrace the ebb and flow of emotions, allowing yourself the freedom to grieve and, in time, to find solace and even joy in the precious moments you shared.  

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required
I am a...