Do you remember the blog post series I started on March 23rd, 2018 just a month after my mom died? Things To Expect When Your Mother Dies. I haven’t forgotten about it. I am giving it internet airspace again.
I keep scrawling in my journal dedicated to this project. There are 100-n-something entries now (five years later), and not everything that happens lands on the lined pages.
If something comes to me while I’m driving or doing something else that might be hazardous to get distracted from (like cutting baseboard pieces with my new cordless circular saw), it doesn’t always make it to the journal. Sometimes I forget to write it down and it’s lost forever.
Yes, I was recently doing something hazardous. I was cutting baseboard pieces for a kitchen and two bathrooms that got new flooring. My generous father bought me a new saw because I don’t have man muscles to handle our big corded one. I’ll give that entry airspace another day because I haven’t actually written it on paper, yet. LOL.
So many interesting things have happened since my mom died. I don’t know what she’d think about some of it. Let’s not go there, yet.
A mother’s death is profound, universal, and unique all in the same messy package.
Things keep happening. Unexpected things.
This Happened Recently
In case you didn’t already know, I love all things fiber! I enjoy crocheting, sewing, quilting, and wet or needle felting, I haven’t met anything fiber art related I didn’t like. It might be genetic. My mom was the same way.
Don’t give me knitting needles for my birthday, though. They’ll never see the light of day along with all the other knitting needles in my stash (and my mom’s). I’ve got UFKPs (UnFinished Knitting Projects)…
I did like knitting in the beginning. I just wasn’t good enough at it to continue clickin’ needles when I can hook in my sleep. Crochet, people.
UFKP – messed up scarf, don’t know how to fix, hid in Stuff Closet.
The fun thing is that a few friends have been on the receiving end of my crafting passion. There’s not much doin’ that makes me feel more satisfied. Handcrafting gifts (and stuff for me!) is right up there with sex. Seriously, but without all the sweating or other complicated post-menopausal stuff. Maybe a pinpricked finger once in a while and the F***! that goes with it, but dang everything worth accomplishing causes pain, so I accept it.
Sometimes, when working on a project I wonder: Hmmm, how could I turn this love of handwork into something even more meaningful than the gift I am creating? How could I express my artisan passion and help someone at the same time?
Filling up a crafting booth seems not quite the right idea at the moment. It’s on the bucket list, though ;-). Bins of things made with my hands displayed at a local holiday craft show? That would be amazing and generate a hefty income of roughly $6/hour (before taxes, booth rental, gas money, setup supply costs, and $36 for three Grande coffees to get through the day, oh, and three cups for the masochistic friend that volunteers to help me).
Along the train of thought of helping others, I started drawing pets who had died. I love to draw and have done a few. I love this project. I can almost see a gang of artists joining me in this endeavor.
Up until the other day, I hadn’t figured out how to put my fiber art and handwork skills into action for a higher purpose. Over the years, I’ve seen a few options though:
- Blankets for hospitals.
- Quilting projects for wildfire victims who’ve lost their homes.
- Birdnest projects.
These are amazing projects! I could totally get behind all three on this list. All of them are within my skill set.
Here’s the birdnest I made a few years ago. Only one, you ask? Yea, I know, I don’t know what happened there. Please don’t judge me here, but I don’t remember if I actually sent this off or if it’s stuffed in my Stuff Closet still cradling the felted bird I made years before.
For some reason, I didn’t jump in. Maybe it was a case of crazy-crafter-spastic-mind-causing-inability-to-make-too-many-of-the-same-pattern disorder (CCSMCITMTMSP Disorder) that took over. I dunno, try not to judge me for abandoning the baby birds. I’ve got enough guilt.
Maybe it’s because sometimes the right opportunity arrives in your face when you aren’t looking for it. Maybe I’ve just been waiting for that invitation.
The other day I joined the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN). I’m still a social worker and even though I’m not working in the field, death and dying is my gig. These are my colleagues, peeps, friends, and not-yet-met rockstar social workers.
Then, of course, I went social-media-a-browsin’-n-followin’ to see what they’ve posted recently. On their FB page, I saw a post for The Loose Ends Project. This project made national news.
Apparently, this is the invitation I’d been waiting for. Did I think twice about it? Did I wonder how the heck will I find the time?
Of course not. Of course I did. Not really.
My CCSMCITMTMSP Disordered mind said YES, do it.
I’m now a Finisher with The Loose Ends Project.
Sounds a little ominous? Isn’t there a crime drama called “The Finisher?” I dunno, but there are plenty of those types in crime series these days. Wasn’t there an evil Finisher character in Black List? Don’t tell people that my husband and I binge Raymond Reddington and his puppets.
In the case of me becoming a Finisher, it’s not a violent thing, but it IS a death thing.
Here’s why it took me an estimated 13 seconds to jump in.
During the last year of my mom’s life, when she was enduring metastatic breast cancer and all of the fun that goes with THAT, I noticed she had stopped all handwork and sewing. I asked if she wanted help starting a new project. She said “No. I’m not going to leave you any unfinished projects!”
She knew her time was short. She was having trouble seeing straight. She couldn’t thread the needle anymore. She didn’t want to start something she couldn’t finish.
I get it. I’ve got those knitting projects niggling at me from the Stuff Closet.
Instead of picking up those knitting needles that I was never very good at wielding, I hope to help out someone else. A loved one whose crafter person died before they could finish a project.
My mom would love this but she’d also warn me that some projects will be a big challenge. She finished a few projects like this. Some of them she’d found in thrift stores. The original crafter having long-since become anonymous from the fiber.
Check this out!
If you know there’s a project out there waiting to be finished, connect the keeper to this project.
Better yet, if you are a crafter, offer to finish it. Join Loose Ends to help others.
If I die this week, please send someone to find my UFKPs. They’re in the bin labeled Unfinished in the Stuff Closet. You might find other stuff in there, too.
What is your creative gig? Do you have UnFinished Projects UFPs)?
Header Photos: (not made for Loose Ends): folded baby blanket for a family member; Legacy Project: Mini Scrappy quilt using the same pattern and material as my mom’s lap quilt laying on my chair: scarf and fingerless gloves for me.
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2 Replies to “Another Thing that Happens When Your Mother Dies – Number 100-n-somethin’: Crafting with Purpose – Loose Ends Project”
Great Blog. Absolutely love the idea of loose ends and the picture you shared is beautiful. I love the pattern. Thinking about all my loose ends and how to help some one. My talent is really not in crafts, but in photography. So how do I help/give my craft to someone? Take their picture? Donate my pictures somewhere? Now that you have awakened my imagination, I will investigate the future of giving more of myself. Thank you
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Good question. I’m not sure. Maybe helping someone put photos in albums? Or photographing special things for people? Like a legacy project? Did you check out all the things on their list? The main thing is that a seed is planted.
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