Off to a Bad Start

I haven’t posted lately because I’ve been consumed by sad happenings and I haven’t even found solace in knitting. On the last night that my sister and her husband were visiting for the holidays, her husband suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Paramedics were able to restart his heart, but the damage was extensive and he died a few days later. I returned home with my sister to keep her company and begin the arduous process of sorting through papers and making arrangements.
I then got a call that one of my sons had broken his right femur snowboarding.

He had emergency surgery at a mountain hospital to place a steel rod between his hip and knee.
A few days later, I got an email saying that the husband of a dear friend of thirty years had died.
I came to home to temps in the single digits and yesterday we lost heat in our house.
Thankfully, the heat is back on so I’m comfortable at my desk and I’m able to find a lot of silver linings in so much sad news. But I find myself unable to get back to work. I just stare at my computer screen.
I welcome suggestions for ways to jump-start myself into action again.

40 thoughts on “Off to a Bad Start”

  1. So sorry to hear about all your troubles.

    This level of stress affects you like a major disease and your body and mind needs time to recuperate. All you can do is small steps, don’t force anything. Soon you will feel yourself coming back and then normal activities will resume.

    When my dad died I spent alot of time knitting dishcloths (I had never knit dishcloths before and didn’t really see the use of them but this is what felt doable).

    Sending you wishes that life calms down and you get your feet back under you.

  2. I’m saddened to hear of all your heartache. Please know that we are all out here thinking of you and sending you are warmest, heartfelt thoughts.

  3. I think at times like these, self care is the most important. You’ve been caring for other people and now you are emotionally spent. Do whatever makes you feel better (sleep, eat whatever you want, watch the birds) until you have the energy again.

  4. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through such a bumpy time and hope that things only improve from now on. (My boys will be snowboarding again on Friday and I will be staying positive for their safety!)

  5. I’m so sorry to hear of these events. HUGS.

    My suggestion is to see your doctor… if even knitting is not bringing you consolation, some low-dose, short-term antidepressants could help balance the effects that all of this sad news is having on your brain chemistry.

    Perhaps seeing a therapist a few times would help you unload some of this.

    Those are the things I have found helpful when going through a sorrowful time.

    Reaching out for support as you have is also a healthy step.

    Allow yourself to feel and process and be gentle with yourself.

    Sending you much love.

  6. Big fan but first-time commenter. This year has started off rough for some of my very closest friends and family as well, and I’m so, so sorry to hear that you are suffering such heartache and anguish as well. All I can suggest is to take comfort in your friends and family – support each other. Try to get some time outside to walk if you can (Not the best time of year for that, I know.)

  7. I’m so sorry for all the things that have happened.

    You need to take a little time to heal. Enjoy those in your life and remember the good times.


  8. Ann, I’m so sorry to hear of all your troubles. Grief is the emotion I struggle with the most, so I’m afraid my advice isn’t worth the .02. Just a virtual hug and a genuine hope that you’ll soon find your direction.

  9. You’re getting so much good advice; just be patient with yourself, and let some time pass before you start setting expectations. If you have a book, movie or TV show you find especially comforting, try that – I watched a lot of Star Trek Voyager after I lost a good friend to cancer, because everything always turns out all right in the end, every episode. I’m sorry the year got off to a rough start – I’ll send good thoughts your way.

  10. who says you need to jumpstart something. Just sit in a comfy chair with a dog or cat and just let your mind go. Every year bring tears of sorrow and tears of laughter.


  11. Peace be with you Anne. Knitting/crocheting dishcloths – something you don’t have to pay attention to closely – that’s how I jump back in. They are small and somehow soothing.

  12. Knitting has helped me through some difficult times but sometimes I need to put it away for a little while. I find that being outside even a walk around the neighbourhood can sometimes bring happy surprises, for example a woodpecker in the middle of winter on the neighbour’s tree. For me, these little events can soften life’s roughness. Take care of yourself.

  13. Long time follower, first time commenting. It’s only been a few weeks, be gentle with yourself. No jump starting. Bundle up and go for a walk when you can. Sunshine. Old movies that make you laugh. Friends, family, and mindless knitting. Best wishes for recovering your mojo, which will happen.

  14. This will sound simplistic, but breathe. Don’t do anything that is not absolutely necessary until you are ready, and breathe. Don’t force moving through life until you really have the desire to do so, because the desire to do things will return in due time. For now, breathe. Let time do its work.

  15. this time last year my husband went in the hospital for a minor complaint – he was just not feeling well- maybe the flu he thought. after 3 days of tests they found major blockage in his heart. but we were the lucky ones – the ones who got in before an attack. even the doctors didn’t think it was a heart problem. my husband had a triple bypass complicated by other health issues. but like I said I was one of the lucky ones he is home with me and we walk together every morning.
    but I completely lost my knitting. the same knitting that kept me sane while my kids went through puberty and went they went away to college. the knitting that helped me through the long nights I spent with my Dad the last year of his life.
    Just take it one day at a time and be grateful for each and everyday. you can’t get over it with a snap of your fingers but it will get better.

  16. Dear Ann, I must confess, I had started to worry about you, checking every day (sometimes more often) for a post on your blog. I am so sorry to hear you have had such sadness and stress in your life and I offer to you my prayers for healing for you, your son, and your family and friends who are hurt and grieving. We are here to care and support you. Judy

  17. Oh, Ann, so much at once. life will restart on its own. We just need to wait for it. best, Mary in Cincinnati

  18. You are definitely mourning and everyone does it differently. I at one point had to remind myself of the stages of mourning. This way I knew where I was in the grand scheme of things.
    I am so sorry for your losses. This is a very difficult time. However you decide to manage what you are going through, more power to you. we your followers always want to want the best for our Guru. Please nurture and nourish yourself and you will find your pathway.

  19. Hi Ann,
    I am a long-time admirer of you and your books, but this is your first blogpost I’ve read. I am so sorry for your bundle of sad news and events! From the hard times I’ve gotten through I’ve learned that crying when I need to, resting, walking and/or talking to friend when I need to, and just being patient with myself and my process are what do the trick. Life sometimes hands us great times, and sometimes hard times. That’s kind of just the way it is. There’s nothing wrong with having any of your feelngs, including feeling like not wanting to do anything. Letting time and your own process do the work does the trick. I’ll be thinking of you, and send you my best wishes.
    Janet in Forest Knolls

  20. Dear Ann, I’m so very sorry. Give yourself time. We’ll be here when you’re ready to come back.

  21. Oh Ann, I’m so sorry. I can completely understand why you would want to be able to jump start yourself and get some normality back, but if you need some time, you should take it. We will all be thinking of you and yours, and waiting when you are ready to come back. Best, Jen x

  22. I don’t think you ‘jumpstart’ after all that. I think you take time. Hugs are sent your way. Helen

  23. “Baby steps” and “one day at a time”. These have been mantras of mine going through difficult times. Knit something mindless, I found it very helpful to have my hands busy but couldn’t keep my mind focused on anything.
    Speaking of silver linings, go see a feelgood movie like Silver Linings Playbook. Of course I am from the Philadelphia area so I it had a little extra meaning to me, but still a great little film.

  24. What a terrible load of stress! I hope your son’s leg is healing properly; at least that’s one that will get better. Your desire to knit will come back when it is time; there is no need to force it. If you have deadlines, contact your editors; otherwise, just let things work themselves out. Some friends of mine like to sort through stash and reorganize when they don’t feel like actually knitting — maybe that will fill the need to hold yarn?

    Thinking of you —


  25. Breathe. Give yourself time, to mourn and recover. Make a point of doing something for yourself every day, don’t feel guilty for enjoying it or smiling, and don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day and can’t manage it. Find the beauty in little things, and sooner or later the big things will start to find you again.

  26. I know exactly how you feel. My dear dear mother-in-law died all of a sudden on December 12. We had no idea anything was wrong, she was in the best health she’d been in the 10 years I’ve known her. My husband did CPR and brought her back but it wasn’t to be. It’s hard not having her phone every couple days and Colin’s dad is lost. He’s from the generation that the wife takes care of everything.

    I almost didn’t decorate for Christmas. But our little girl is 7 and Grandma would have wanted her to have a fabulous Christmas.

    We’re still fumbling along. I’m sending cyber hugs to you and your family. We’ll all get through together.

  27. Ann, I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law and son. So much all at once. Time heals, but it does take time. Don’t push it, or feel guilty that you are not knitting. Take time and do what feels comfortable. I find that talking with close friends can be a real help. Funny movies are also a good way to take your mind off reality and laugh again. Here’s to better days ahead.

  28. 1. Go for a walk outside (fresh air and an act of kindness for the body)
    2. Send a note of encouragement to someone who could use it (loving others feels good)
    3. Find a dog. Scratch his ears. Or cuddle a baby, if you have one handy (physical affection always feels nice)

  29. I am so sorry that there has been so much sadness in your life. I would recommend, like everyone else, that you stop and breathe for a while. Your desire to do things again will come back when you’re ready.

  30. Hi Ann,

    I’m a grad student studying psychology, so as my dad would put it, I know enough to be dangerous 🙂 There were many ideas I was going to suggest, but the other comments have summed things up so well that I didn’t want to repeat. I did want to say that I feel for you, and for your family’s struggles at this time. I had an extremely difficult January several years back where one parent was in treatment for cancer while the other died unexpectedly from it, while at the same time I ended a long term relationship, had to move, and my son had been diagnosed with ADHD…all within 3 weeks. I still cringe around January, but over time I have found ways to do something positive and enjoyable in that month so that I could change the negative association I created. It’s better to start off the year with a positive outlook (but that’s hard to do when life hits you so hard and fast).

    Take time to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, and talk to someone you trust if you need to. Remember to get out into the world every once in a while. The rest will sort itself out.

    God bless!

  31. What a slew of horrors, Ann. If you have the time/energy, I can highly recommend a recent On Being episode, Compassions Edge States. And can especially recommend the 10-minute guided meditation, Encountering Grief that is also linked on the above page. A brief quotation from that “May I accept my sadness knowing that I am not my sadness.”

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