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Jess’s Story: Crocheting Through Loss 💜

Sharing is an act of generosity and in this guest post Jess shares her emotive story of the role crochet has played in her most difficult of times……

“2020 has been a year we will all remember for so many reasons. The pandemic threw our worlds upside down and all of a sudden things were different. Out of nowhere, we were told to stay apart, stay home, and stay safe.

For me this was my worst nightmare. For as long as I can remember I’ve lived with anxiety and have always coped with that by keeping myself busy, going out and about and leaning on friends and family to support me. Suddenly all that was gone and to make it worse, it came at the most difficult time for me.

At the end of 2019 we lost our baby at 18wks, and then as lock down started I was in hospital losing another baby at 16wks.

The grief and loss was unimaginable and to face dealing with this at home with no friends or family to help was something I never thought I’d face.

Fortunately I had my amazing partner and my little 3 year old boy with me…my dream team!

I remember in March 2020 I was at flicking through Facebook when a photo popped up on The Mercerie’s Facebook page of a crochet leaf. I showed my partner and said

‘Isn’t this so beautiful? I’d love to make that!’

Little did I know that tiny leaf would turn into my absolute coping mechanism for the year to follow.

I began the Crojoretro project with some basic crochet skills from about 10 years before, thinking of it as ‘something to do to fill my time’ and use up lots of wool I had in the spare room upstairs. The spare room that should be a nursery and I daren’t walk into as my babies ashes were in there.

I walked into that room, and I found my wool…and gave a little smile to my babies.

I spent the next few months crocheting. Bit by bit I was making something beautiful. Sue’s teaching was amazing and her videos were so simple to follow. I began to feel like I was good at this!

There is no doubt in my mind that the meditative process of crochet helped me cope through this awful time. It calmed my anxiety, gave me a focus and a purpose when I felt like a failure. That blanket went everywhere with me!

I began looking round my garden for inspiration, beautiful Dahlias…they had to go in! Bright orange flowers, those too! And of course, lots of little blue forget-me-nots for my babies.

 

As I crocheted, I would talk to my babies. I would pour all the love and hope I had into this blanket… It was soft and I could cuddle it. It’s a bit lumpy bumpy in places and not ‘perfect’, a bit like my body now and I’m accepting that.

The image on the right was taken during a weekend spent at Chalet One Rainbows End

In September 2020, I decided to sign up to the Homage to the Granny Square course, with my new found confidence. Sue’s teaching is incredibly simple and easy to follow. The courses are paced perfectly so I didn’t feel overwhelmed.

I met a wonderful group of online friends and created my blanket which I absolutely love! It’s bright and cheery and positive, which is how I have always seen myself… I’d just lost my way a little this year.

I chose rainbow colours and I visualised myself hanging it in a nursery one day.

Sadly in November 2020 I suffered a third miscarriage, but this time I felt I had my coping mechanisms in place.

My blankets will be loved, whatever their purpose. They are something I have completed in a time when it felt as though my body couldn’t complete the things I wanted it to.

I’ve just signed up to the Wallflowers course and can’t wait to pour my heart and soul into creating another piece of beauty, just because I can………”

All photos are by Jess Gallagher

Thank you Jess

 

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. So sorry for your losses Jess, I know you will be okay, one day you will have a baby to nurture. Your blankets are amazing! I’m wishing you all good fortune for your future xx thanks for sharing your story xx

  2. Thank you, Jess for sharing your personal story and Crojoretro story. Your blanket is gorgeous.

  3. thank you Jess for sharing your story with us. And I love your beautiful blankets.
    Crocheting has also helped me through difficult times with loneliness and pain. Last summer I found Sue’s page on Instagram and also ended up in the wonderful HTTGS group and got to know you there too and now I am happy that you are also part of our next trip with Sue and Wallflowers.

  4. Your story is both sad and inspiring in that you could find solace in creating such beautiful blankets. You’ve inspired me to sign up for the next homage to the granny square. I don’t feel ready for wallflowers yet but will follow your Instagram updates with interest.

  5. First of all sorry for my English. I’ m from Argentine lThanks so much to share your story ! I’m very sorry to hear about your babies. , lLife and God will have some big present for you ! Be sure !! Congratulations for this amazing work. I Love Crojotero. Kind regards

  6. What stunning products – just looking at the photos makes you instantly aware that these are special and made with every ounce of love poured into them. I am sorry for your losses – my own experiences help me understand that it is hard to have a body that doesn’t seem to want to work the way your heart needs it to – hopefully heart and body can work together soon, and in the meantime, these beautiful artworks can be used to surround you and your family with love whilst your souls heal.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss Jess, there is no pain that can compare to that of the loss of a child. I am so glad that you found solace in crochet, it is so important to give ourselves time to process and heal after such a loss. Your story brought a tear to my eye and made me remember the beginning of my crochet journey. I almost died giving birth to my second son, I had several surgeries and spent many days in the hospital recovering. Bored to death one day one of the nurses brought me a beginners crochet book, a small metal hook and the ugliest brown thread I’d ever seen. Over the course of several weeks I created my first crochet piece – a brown doily. I’ve crocheted off and on over the years since then, that was 1984. To this day I am still amazed at what one can create with a hook, a ball of thread, and a pair of scissors. I’m also enrolled in Wallflowers, I look forward to meeting you and seeing your color choices.

  8. Jess,

    Thank you so much for your bravery in sharing your story. You have chosen glorious, uplifting colours for your blankets that will inspire us all. I wish you the very best with everything in your life.

  9. Thinking of you Jess, it’s been such a hard year for many mentally, and to have to go through the loss of your precious babies on top of this must have been unimaginable. Your blankets tells a beautiful story, I love the colours and patterns.
    Xxxxxxx

  10. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m so glad you found some comfort in crochet. It’s is a wonderful tool for our mental health. Keeps the mind and the hands busy and we produce a beautiful item. I wish you well for the future and am so sorry for your losses. Xx

  11. Dear Jess,
    You are so brave to tell us your story. It has been lovely getting to know you a little on the homage course and seeing your beautiful creations coming to life. It’s amazing how making beautiful things can help to restore our souls, and like the lady from Argentina, I wish you so much joy and peace over the coming months and years. Looking forward to embarking on wallflowers with you soon x

  12. Dear Jess,
    Am so sorry this has happened to you and your family. Life can be so very cruel and unfair.
    Crochet is such a calming process and your crochet is so beautiful. I too have signed up to Wallflowers and look forward to sharing the process with you x

  13. Thank you everyone, for such wonderful comments. I am so glad Sue asked me share my story and that it has been so kindly received. I’ve loved reading your responses, and am very grateful for the time you each took to write them xx

  14. This is heart breaking , and I’m sad for your loss, crochet is an amazing calming tool. It’s mindless, and comforting. It has and is getting me through a horrible time, my husband of 54 years has been bravely battling cancer for three years, we had some hope early in his treatment, but not to be, he now is very poorly and has months left.
    I could not have coped without my hook and wool.
    So Jess I wish you and your family well, keep on crocheting.

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