Monday, 23 July 2007

parallel lines

I have two quite different posts jostling about in my head. For a couple of days they've both been turning over and playing leap frog for who comes first.

In truth they co-exist.

The first one goes like this.

My life is currently filled with this,


and this.
Weekends spent amusing an almost five year old with jumping castles, birthday parties, dress ups,
and trips to the sky.

There's also a lot of pleading to 'do photoing' by this one

but it's hard to complain when she captures this view of the boy that I wasn't paying attention to
(and don't I look like the sad and tired old bag I am?)

It means I am spending a lot of time looking at this

and this

and in the process ruining my neck and back because even though Wil isn't big for his age, he's too freaking big to be hanging round my neck for hours on end every day but he's so much better behaved this way that like generations of mothers before me I am sacrificing myself, my health, my SANITY for the happiness of my children. Excuse me while I adjust my freaking halo.

This doesn't stop me sneaking moments to admire other people's mother's in law's (I am sure I have made at least two grammatical errors there, perhaps three. Stuff it.) fine crochet work on the sly and taking photos of it over the head of said boy.

(I have a growing obsession with crocheting a blanket, but that's a whole other post. So is my overuse of parenthesis.)

And my mum and sister just got home from a wee jaunt to Vietnam where it was STINKING HOT and the fabric flowed free - linen and silk for this lucky girl.

Lord alone knows when I might ever have the chance to sew it into anything. But I can still dream.

There was also this totally amazing little bit of whimsy.

A perfectly balanced little dragonfly bobbing on a single point. Love it.

Since they got back there's been some other stuff going on, some dark and scary stuff, some sad and humbling stuff. Some stuff perhaps I shouldn't post about, but which, well, is just too big to ignore. I can't bring myself to talk about it in real life because I don't want to deal with other people's thought and fears and advice. For now I'm just trying to work out how to be with it.

The other post goes something like this.

My mum gave me all her knitting needles and crochet hooks on the weekend, and her collection of buttons (quite a few of which I remember from my childhood - like the upholstered buttons from our old armchairs, before they were recovered in the seventies...).

Such inheritances are normally a cause for celebration, for hilarity and memory trawling - oh god I remember the coat these buttons came from, I remember when you bought those needles for knitting that hot pink bat-wing jumper I had in the eighties...guffaw guffaw chuckle chuckle.

But it is hard to be happy about this windfall.

You see my mum gave me all this stuff because she can't use it anymore. She is losing her sight. Very quickly. Not in that gee I'm getting older and needing better glasses way but in that I woke up this morning and I can't read the paper anymore way.

In that I have a disease kind of way. Macular degeneration to be more precise.

We've known for a long time this was coming, and for years she has been seeing on borrowed time, defying expectations by retaining decent sight for much longer than expected.

And all of a sudden it has started to bite and everything about her life has changed. No matter the forewarning we've still been taken by surprise.

The end of her knitting career is hardly the greatest concern facing her but for some reason this little thing has really hit me. I mean it goes without saying that this must be a truly terrifying and distressing time for her, that starting to lose her independence, dealing with her vulnerabilities, facing her mortality must loom large for her every time she goes to do something she has always done without even thinking before remembering that she no longer can. It must be infuriating and devastating to look at a face she knows so well and have it no longer make sense.

And I can't even imagine how alone and scared she must feel and there aren't words for how much I wish I was able to do something and how willing I am to do what I can. How much I treasure her.

We are problem solvers my mum and I. We put aside so much to set to the task of working out what comes next, of how to develop systems and get advice and arrange things so we can keep going, so adversity doesn't lay us out. And she's doing it with gusto and it seems to be keeping her, me, us, from falling into the abyss of knowing where it is we are really heading. From regressing to the little girl who sees God in her mummy and can't cope with knowing it ain't so.

I can imagine solutions to so many of the problems blindness brings, to getting around and having things fixed and things read, because it is the work of the mind that counts and however compromised a solution, the reading and writing and doing can be outsourced to a large degree. But the making of stuff is where the mind and the hands and the eyes are as one. I try to imagine a life without knitting, without sewing and making, but I can't.

That collection of needles, bent and worn, with the odd ones and the ones missing their ends and the buttons that are reminders of projects past make me so very sad. Because, well because there is no solution for not being able to knit and sew anymore is there?

I am not a highly visual person and how I understand the world and read people and think about things owes more to concepts than images. I am sure for other people the idea that they may not be able to see the faces of their loved ones, or a beautiful sunset or work of art is a thought too painful to bear. But I think for me, when my genes kick in and the world has started to distort and look strange it will be the needles and sticks I'll be looking to find a good home for and restless hands I will have to confront.

For now I will be setting myself the task of not just looking out at the world, but really seeing it too. And trying to better understand what seeing really is.


craftapalooza said...

Sooz, thank you for sharing. I wish I could knit up a cure. nx

h&b said...

{{ Sooz }}

Thimbleanna said...

How heartbreaking. I am so sorry.

Ali said...

Sooz, your post is both eloquent and heartbreaking.

shula said...

Oh Sooz...

SharonH said...

what can I say sooz - sometimes life just isn't bl...y fair!!!!!

Julie K in Taiwan said...

Take care.

Suse said...

Oh yuck. Thinking of you and your mum.


Janet said...

Oh Sooz, that's hard. I can understand not really wanting to talk about it.. it's so huge. Thinking of you and your mum.

Susan said...

Very, very hard. My Mum has this too. She dreads the day when she can no longer read. The artwork and handwork has long gone. I feel for you two.

SagePixie said...

Hi sweets,

I have macular degeneration. I was diagnosed in my late teens, early 20's. I remember the specialist they sent me to saying they had never seen someone so young in their office. They didn't think someone my age could have it so bad....

I can still see. I use gnarly super contacts and it's not perfect but I can still see.

My family knew I might be blind one day. That I probably would and prepared me for it, as best they could.

I have a very tenuous grasp on reality because I deeply understand how perception can change your world.

I feel greatly for your mother. She will mourn her loss BUT she will also rejoice in how smart she is and how adaptable she is and how amazing the whole thing can be.

We live in a world with such amazing technology that we are very very lucky.

I still have my quiet fears and I know it will be hard But I really believe that it can be done and that it can be done with grace and style.

All my love to you and yours.

Love and Laughter,