Writing In The Pocket Of Grief

My mum’s 12 year cancer battle ended 12 days ago. In these last two and a half years she endured many months of distress including a difficult recovery from surgery last year, meant to buy her more years.

It didn’t. And now she is gone.

 

But her suffering has ended and if you’ve watched a loved one buckle under cancer’s cruelty, you will understand my thankfulness that God has set her free.

Free of pain. Free of confusion. Free of everything that darkened her days.

But her struggles did not define her. They were only part of her beautiful story. Her true legacy surrounds us each day. It comes over me in layers, like the beautiful writing gloves she knitted. Her warmth for my cold mornings at the keyboard.

All around me, memories of her. Her touch left in a thousand places, in all our homes.

In all our hearts.

But what about the gaping hole, and the thick silence? It grabs me by the throat and chokes hard when I least expect it. When I turn to share a snatch of conversation with her and she’s not there, anymore.

When I see the wilting floral arrangements that adorn my home in tribute to her, and know I must throw them out… because they too are dead.

How do I live as a motherless daughter? Where do I find myself, when a big piece of me is lost forever?

I go back to the story of her. A tapestry of Greek wisdom and Christian beliefs. Her cord of silly humour that still ran through the most somber of our days. Her fussiness, wound tight like a perfect braid. And her faith, which held her right up to the end, and holds me up, too. Her God, is my God. And nothing confounds Him.

The day Mum entered Palliative Care she was given a small blanket by hospital volunteers. A knitted riot of unmatched colours that in any other world, would… and should, never sit together. She smiled with me at the mess of patterns, of clashing tones and scrappy squares. Pieces, thrown together, as if by chance.

But not really. Those hospital knitters know what they’re doing.

While I held her hand, Mum breathed her last under that blanket.

I took it home and washed it. It dried on a summer breeze. Now it’s a beautiful, warm, weighted reminder of life’s unique moments and fragments. The beautiful and the ordinary, the delicate and the rough, all hooked in knitted loops. Each one holds the other in place. Each ending becomes the starting point for something new, and I am now wrapped in its comfort.

While my publication schedule changed during Mum’s illness, the words still flowed. Each day I wrote from the pocket of deepening grief.

But now… writing gloves on, I will pull the ugly-beautiful-blanket a little closer, too.

And I will publish the stories she will never read, knowing they too, are coloured pieces of me, and the happy fragments of a life that knitted us together… and made us smile.

2016 Fingerless Gloves Giveaway

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In case you’re somewhere warmer, it’s the thick of winter in Melbourne. Measures need to be taken, friends. We fight the cold any way we can.

Me…? I take out my fingerless writing gloves.

Knitted with love by my beautiful mum, Sophie, I’ve grown used to wearing them at the computer when the weather turns frosty. They’re a hug from her on solitary days when I’m editing and working on Carry Me Away re-writes.

Mum hasn’t enjoyed the best of health in recent years. But even in the midst of sickness, she’s worked on a pair of these gloves for one lucky Ink Dots friend. She’s such a generous woman! I am blessed she’s my mama.

Along with the pair she’s knitted for me, (which I’m wearing while I type right now) she’s made others I’ve had the privilege to give away over the years. And it’s that time of year again when I pause my writing for a moment to share Mum’s excellent knitting with someone who loves the touch of the old worlde as much as I do.

This year, that could be YOU.  Oh, I so hope it will be YOU

All you have to do for your chance to win….is join my mailing list. (Don’t worry if you’re already signed up. You’re automatically in the running. How cool is that?)

Why sign up? So you can be one of the first to receive my author news and the latest developments on Carry Me Away. And because it’s a fun way for me to pick someone who might cherish a pair of these sweet gloves for themselves.

How? Scroll to the bottom of this page, or any page on this website, for the mailing list sign up form. You have until the end of June to sign up and the GOOD news is…  This offer is open to all Australian AND international subscribers.

Yes. I will post this prize anywhere in the world. With real Aussie stamps and postmarks. Truly!

So, stay warm, (or cool) dear friends, wherever you are.

Enjoy the passing seasons.

Read good books and enter to win the 2016 Ink Dots Fingerless Gloves Giveaway.

And let me know… if you win, do you plan on wearing them to write like me, or snuggle up in a corner to read?

Love, Dotti

 

UPDATED  – Congratulations to the winner of the 2016 Fingerless Gloves Giveaway…. Sally Bradley!