Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Abigail's Stocking

Tonight I finished Abigail's stocking, 219 days after I began it. The cross-stitch turned out beautiful, stunning even. The felt backing not quite so much. It was a project unlike anything else I have made. And there is a sense of having accomplished something very meaningful, and yet I am sad about finishing it. Much like picking out, paying for, and seeing her stone after it was placed. A finality of feeling there is nothing else to be done for her. Other loss parents talk about the difficulty in parenting a child who is gone, and the truth is you can't. But the great irony is that the need to parent doesn't just disappear with them, it remains a very present feeling.

This project has been a way to grieve as well. I have worked on it when the sadness has been too overwhelming to do anything else. I have worked on it when I have been happy to have had her in our lives. I have worked on it when I was alone, when I wanted to be alone, when I wanted to be with others but felt out of sorts, and while having a good time with those we love. I have talked to God while working on it. I have worked through some anger. And I have had some of the most peaceful moments since her loss while cross-stitching.  Working on it I have settled on the answer of how many children I have - four.

I have thought a lot about our family while working on it. In the three geese flying, I see our three living children. A male and female cardinal reminds me of Gary and me.  The Church resembles both of our two Churches - Old Carroll and Little Union.  Most of all the sled in a snow bank against a tree has from the very beginning seemed to me like a tombstone.  I obviously look for too much symbolism. In my insanity I had to reverse the pattern so that it would hang like the others we already had. And I used Mother's gold thread to add something extra to the hanger. Gary tells me that her stocking will make the rest of ours appear shabby.

I am glad I made it for her and for me. Now I suppose I will find another project to work on. I am thinking I am finally read to start writing all those thank you notes from Abigail's funeral that I couldn't bear to do at the time.

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