Incantations

Recently I’ve been thinking about my childhood and how it prepared me for my adult life.  To be totally honest, nothing can really make losing a child ok, or even prepare you for what that’s like.  But I think the experiences of my childhood helped me when I had to confront the realities of Enoch dying.

I remember when I was young, after my brother died, my mom would take me to the cemetery to clean up my brother’s head stone and take him flowers.  I think maybe it was a means of handling her grief, but she put a lot of time and energy into keeping his grave nice, and keeping flowers in the vases near his headstone.  I didn’t always understand her desire to go to the cemetery every week, but it always struck me that my brother’s grave looked really nice when there were other graves that looked just about abandoned.  They looked like no one cared enough to even visit once a year, let alone once a month.  I could understand how that would happen to a grave that was really old, like a headstone from the 1930s, but I always wondered how people could leave their relatives’ graves in such a disarray when their relative had died recently.

Especially sad to me were the graves in the children’s section that seemed abandoned.  I understand now, why a mother and father might not go to the cemetery very often after losing their baby; facing the fact that your child is dead is extremely difficult.  I know now that for some people, it’s easier to just forget about your child all together, than  to go take flowers or a plush toy and confront their death on a regular basis.  But as a child I couldn’t fathom leaving your child’s grave so poorly kept.  And it really upset and worried me that some of the kids never had any flowers or plushies on their graves.  I would often ask my mom to stop in the children’s section to visit their graves.  I usually pulled a flower or two from the bouquet we brought for my brother and would save them for graves in the children’s section of the cemetery.

When we would stop, I would read their names out loud, and read their birthdays and death days.  I like to imagine that by saying their names out loud I did something.  Like some kind of incantation, I imagined I could help them know they werent’t forgotten by acknowledging them by name.  Sometimes we would do the math and figure out how old they were when they died, but sometimes their age at death was obvious.  Because sometimes, their birthday and death day were the same day.  I wondered about those babies and their families especially.  How hard it was to not even get a full day with your baby.  I wondered what went wrong, what could cause a beautiful new baby, someone who should just be starting out in life, to die.  Now I know what can cause a baby to die.  I wish I could say I didn’t, but I do.

I never imagined as a child visiting those tiny headstones that I might one day join that club.  That I too would have a child eligible to be buried in the section marked with the statue of children playing with lambs.  But now that I’m here, I see how visiting the children’s section of the cemetery helped me prepare for losing a child.  And I think I was right: saying their names out loud is a ritual that should not be stopped.  Saying Enoch’s name, helps me feel like he did exist, and he isn’t forgotten, and I really hope that one of the parents of the kids in the children’s section found one of my flowers and said their child’s name out loud, and felt comfort that they weren’t the only one to acknowledge their child’s existence.

 

Lizz

Tiny crochet hats

When I first came home from the hospital I couldn’t do much without help.  And I got tired really easily.  The pain medicine I was on didn’t help much either, it made me so dizzy and out of it I could hardly focus on a movie, let alone do sewing projects like I wanted to.  But I still needed something to keep my hands somewhat busy, so I decided to pull out some crocheting to do.

I have an inordinate amount of yarn just lying around and I wanted a project that I could finish quickly and easily that didn’t need a lot of keeping track of what stitch I was on in the pattern (grief seems to completely destroy your attention span).  And while looking for something easy like that to work on, it hit me: I should make baby hats!  When the nurse brought Enoch to my room after my c-section she had him all wrapped up in a tiny blanket and under that he was wearing tiny clothes.  It didn’t matter that he was 4 months early and was 10 inches long and weighed no more than 15 ounces, she had somehow found him clothes.  Mind you they were nothing fancy, but the gesture touched my heart deeply. She knew that he was a person, and that he mattered, and that people wear clothes (they even let us keep the little outfit).  The clothes in question were a tiny hat and something akin to an oversized sock that I refer to as a “preemie sleeping bag”.  They were knitted in matching yarn, and had been donated by a local woman for use in situations like mine.  And so in thinking about how touched I was to have my son brought to me in clothes I set about to make hats and preemie sleeping bags to donate to the local hospital.

I ended up finding a pattern in crochet that was perfect, and you can get it for free from here: baby hats. The pattern can be easily scaled up or down based on gauge, weight of yarn, or size desired, by doing little more than adding or subtracting the number of increase rows you crochet and using an appropriate size hook for the yarn you have available to you.  And if you want to make a preemie sleeping bag, all you have to do is make it slightly wider than your average hat (add an extra increase row or two) and keep adding rows until it’s the length you need.  I make mine about 12 inches long-I figure they can fold over any extra at the top if needed.

Last week I brought a gallon size ziplock bag of them (probably about 2 dozen hats) to the maternity ward where Enoch was born.  They really appreciated it, and they hardly recognized me: they said I was looking a lot better and healthier.  It was really good to do something nice for others and the repetition of doing the same crochet stitch over and over again was very therapeutic!

Love always,

Lizz

P.S. Here are a couple pictures of hat number 27-ish (honestly I’ve stopped counting).  For this particular hat I used a skein of Bernat Softee Baby in the color “Pyjama Party” and I used a US size G crochet hook because this yarn is a #3 “light” weight yarn.

easy crochet baby hat  baby crochet hat 3  

My first post.

“Enoch’s Mom:  A journey of healing through crafts, cooking, and love.”

So after reading that you might be wondering what this blog is really about.

Crafts?

Cooking?

Healing?  (…from what you wonder.)

Well to be totally honest, I’m not sure I’m entirely satisfied with that tagline for this blog.  I’m not sure it really encompasses the full scope of what I’m trying to accomplish with blogging.  So instead of trying to rely on a one-liner to explain myself I’m going to write my first post about it and hopefully lay out the direction this blog is going to be headed also.

In January of this year (2015) I gave birth to my first born child-a son.  Unfortunately for my wife and I our son was stillborn 4 months to the day too early in a bout of extreme pre-eclampsia that almost killed me.  We named our son Enoch, a name I love and cherish as much as the biblical story behind it.  As I began to heal from the emergency c-section my doctor used to deliver Enoch, I found that aside from the love and tenderness my wife and I share for each other, one thing that kept me from falling apart into a blithering ball of tears every day was crafting.  I’ve always been a crafter, but after Enoch died I found that my crafting had also morphed into a kind of therapy.  I found solace in the repetition of a crochet stitch, or hand quilting the small quilt I had begun for him while I was pregnant, or stitching a small cross stitch project.  (All projects I’ll discuss further in their own posts.)  In short it’s been crafting, cooking, and love that have, and continue to, help me through this hard time in my life.  And that’s what this blog will be about:  crafting, cooking, vitamins, good books I read, whatever helps me feel less crazy.  And maybe, just maybe, this blog will become one of the things that helps me heal too, maybe it will even help someone else through a rough patch.  But we’ll have to wait and see about that.  Until then, I hope you like quilting and cookies.

Love Always,

Lizz (Enoch’s Mom)

P.S.  Since I understand how crazy busy life is and how hard it can be to carve out time to do anything, (let alone read blogs on the internet) I’m going to try to keep my posts to under 500 words.  You’re welcome.  🙂

P.P.S.  Here is a picture of me, you know, so you have a face to the name.

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