Saturday, February 4, 2012

Highs & Lows

Just as the title implies, it has been a week of both highs and lows with a few "ahh haa" moments along the way.  A high for me this week was that I completed my first ever totally sewn by me article of clothing.  My sweet friend Rachel agreed to walk me through the process from pattern to last hem.  When I sewed that last stitch and looked at the cute little dress I had just sewn for our girl I was down right joyful!  I have always wanted to learn to sew.  I have fumbled my way through curtain panels, adding ruffles to aprons, and making simple pillows but I have always been afraid of following a pattern.  Every time I try to read one confusion sets in and I don't know how to proceed.  So, having Rachel there to talk me through the entire process was exactly what I needed to finally do it! 

This sweet victory was a high and a low for me.  Let me explain.  Back in August when our boy started school my mother and I had decided this would be the fall we would finally sew together.  She had tried many times before to teach me but I just did not have the motivation.  Then when I became a mother I had instant motivation to sew things for our children however, it was at that time that we moved 3 states away so sewing together was impossible. 

But this fall, this fall was going to be the time!  It was finally going to happen and I was so excited to finally learn from my mother. I had great impressions of wonderful girl time as we sewed together.  Our girl was going to come along too so I had a vision of generational sewing, passing the skill on and laughing together throughout it all.  So, you can see that while completing my first project was a major high for me it certainly brought with it a painful reminder that my mother didn't get to experience that moment. 

But then, came the "ahh haa" and I shared this with Rachel yesterday, my mother would be happy.  She would be proud that I had finally done it and she would want me to keep going.  A few months ago under the urging of my stepfather I brought my mother's sewing machine home with me.  It is a nice machine.  A Janome.  Like 1,000 times better than my $89.00 Singer.  I didn't want to take it at first.  I knew I wanted it but somehow taking it from her home just didn't seem right.  As we carried it out of her house I also carried a brick in my heart.  We put the machine in the garage and I knew that someday I would get it out of the box but not that day.  Well, last night I decided to get the machine out.  It is the same machine that I used at Rachel's house so I knew I wanted to sew on it versus my old Singer that has never been oiled, adjusted or cleaned.  I went to the garage and got it off the shelf.  As I did, I felt the wave of grief begin.  I carried it into the house and put it on the table in our all purpose area and the wave felt a bit stronger.  I laid the box on it's side and pulled the machine ever so carefully from the box.  The feeling in my chest intensified but I continued on unwrapping the cords and plugging it in. 

Then, I sat down behind it and looked it over.  I opened the little compartment on the front that housed her seam ripper, extra foots and bobbins and then I put my hands over my eyes and I sobbed.  It was like I was touching her very heart beat.  My mother was an incredibly talented quilter and seamstress.  She was creative and sewed with a joyful heart.  I remember all those trips to the fabric stores together where I would stand in awe of her, in her element picking out fabrics and putting it all together in her mind.  I would think that if someday I could do half of what she did I would be satisfied. 

Feeling her heartbeat, her very essence made me deeply miss her.  I really don't even know how to describe those feelings.  I don't sit there crying thinking, "I miss my mother.  I miss my mother."  But, I do sit thinking of her, just her, and feeling crushed in spirit because I can't see her or be with her now. 

I cried two other times this week.  Both were during phone conversations with amazing ladies.  The first was early this week when my best gal Dedra called to check on me.  I am so thankful that I have Dedra to check on me.  She listens and she always validates my feelings while giving sound advice. She has experienced loss in this life and knows how this feels. It is always talking to those people who knew my mother deeply that hurts the most.  I guess we can feel each other's grief and that kind of intensifies the feeling, but it is also SO good to share that grief together.  It is good to share with someone who loved my mother as much as I did.  Someone who shared special memories with her, like I did.  The hard part about those conversations is that I expect my mother to be a part of them.  The day after my mother died Dedra's mother came to see me.  She and my mother were the best of friends and many times the four of us girls had gotten together to spend weekends in girl time.  I was so happy to see her that day yet it was more than strange that my mother was not sitting beside her as we talked.  There was a huge piece of the puzzle missing.  We were not complete. 

I also cried Friday afternoon when my sister-in-law called.  We had not talked in a while.  Life gets crazy busy and we neglect to get on the phone so I was so happy to hear her voice.  We talked for a bit about general stuff and then I shared with her some of my grief struggles.  Jodie has also experienced the loss of a parent.  She knows how I feel too. It was so good to talk to someone who listened and offered the "you are not crazy" perspective.  She shared encouraging words and I felt better just getting some of my thoughts out.  Towards the end of the conversation she said, "Crystal, I love you and I am so sorry you are going through this."  I can't tell you how it felt to hear those words.  They were like honey.  Sweet, thoughtful and kind.  And, they made me cry.  I think they are words that I needed to hear.  In many ways, people have been sharing these words in actions and kind gestures towards me but actually hearing someone say that, "they love me and are sorry I am fighting a battle each day" was music to my heart and ears.  This was a high!

This morning I am crying again.  As I type this post and reflect on this week the tears are rollin'.  I know it is going to be a wear my sunglasses to hide my puffy eyes kind of day.  But, I know that with the low I am feeling now a high is wrapped somewhere within and will come along just when I need it, be it a phone call or fond memory or hug from one of my crew.  Too bad today is overcast and rainy in Texas.  I am really going to stick out like a sore thumb with my sunglasses on.  : )

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