Saturday, June 03, 2017

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your messages. My husband died on Monday evening. Helen and Alexander and I were with him, as we had been all day. He had seen, and known, Rachel and James in the few days preceding. And he was at home, as he very much wanted to be, and as he had been for the preceding six months. It was a “good death”, insofar as that is not too  much of an oxymoron.

I am doing fine, again supported by my excellent children, and my cat. Don’t worry.

I haven’t touched my knitting all week. This worries me a bit. I hope the wonderful Poilliwog won’t be overwhelmed in gloom. The birth of its wearer, Miss Kiernan, any moment now, may spur me forward. I remember an Aran sweater, probably my first, knit during some pregnancy or other, finished, pretty good – certainly a good size for the teenager next door. But I couldn’t look at it without feeling the nausea of early pregnancy, and was glad to see it out the door.

The knitting that tempts me is Debbie New’s fantastic socks, on the cover of the XRX Sock Book. I’ve looked at them often. Have I even attempted a stitch or two? Maybe I’ll try again – not to think of finishing, just to get to grips with the idea.

I have exercised my prerogative as a newly-made rich widow (I hope) by booking my cruise.

I read about them in some newspaper not long ago. When the EU Common Fishing Policy forced many West Coast fishermen out of business, two enterprising souls converted a pair of decommissioned boats and started offering cruises of the Hebrides. (The Scottish fishing industry is one group of people who welcome Brexit with open arms.)

They have had a great success, so much so that they have now had a somewhat more stable boat of the same size built for themselves locally. They make a feature of local food, including sometimes lobsters fished from the boat. They’re all sold out for this year. I’ve booked myself in for July, ’18.

The newspaper article reported the owner as saying, interestingly, that after 12 passengers, you have to go up to 50 before you make a profit again. So 12 it is, with four crew.

In all these 60+ years, I have never set foot on a Hebride. I find I could have had the Mekong Delta for about the same price, but

            a) that would have involved airports and long flights
            b) and health insurance, not easy at my advanced age
            c) and renewing my passport

            d) and anyway I have no interest in the Mekong Delta

117 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your loss. I'm glad he was home with you and family. You seem to have such a supportive close family. Please take care! The cruise will be splendid, I'm sure.

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  2. Am up rather late dealing with paperwork and up popped your email... i have dreaded but thought that perhaps your silence meant another crisis. Sending condolences for you. Happy for him and you that he was able to pass on in the manner of which he wanted.

    Your cruise sounds wonderful! Perhaps they have a waiting list?

    Sending prayers and a big hug - and boldly may I write that you have weathered a long battle. I hope you spend the next week or so taking care of yourself and resting.

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  3. I, too, send condolences to you and your family. You have faced so many difficult decisions and made each with bravery and compassion. Your cruise sounds marvelous, and with the new baby arriving any time, you have much to enjoy. Please take care.

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  4. Allison8:21 AM

    Oh Jean, I am so sorry for your loss; my prayers are with you and your family.

    Don't worry about the knitting. That's not something you want to force. Interest will return in time.

    Debbie New's socks - those gorgeous things in shades of tan and white? I've been wanting to do them since that book was published. Perhaps some day we'll both get to them.

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  5. So sorry to hear your news,Jean. Your have done an amazing job over all there months.

    Why not cast on for those socks right now? They seem to be made up as you go along, and the challenge would help to fill some of the waiting hours.

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  6. Sorry to read your sad news, and glad you have something nice to look forward to.

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  7. My condolences. Take time to feel whatever you feel, and to recover from the challenges of the past few months, im sure your fingers will be itching for the knitting needles again soon.

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  8. I'm glad that you are looking forward so positively to the future Jean, also that you have the support of your children and Perdita. It's been a hard six months but you were able to let your husband end his life at home as he wished and that will stay with you forever. I'm not worrying about you, just wishing you well (and hoping you have help with all the paperwork!)

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  9. I have been thinking of you these past days and wondering how things were. My father booked his first ever cruise a few days after my mother died, after caring for her for four years - it was a wonderful change of scene for him. With all good wishes for the times ahead.

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  10. Sorry to read about your husband dying, he has been a constant feature of your blog throughout the many years I've read it. Wishing you all the best as your life adjusts to not having him around, it will be difficult after so many years together. Much love, Mary

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  11. Adding my condolences to all those above and wishing you well. God bless.

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  12. Wishing you and the family all peace and comfort in these days. Peacefully at home surrounded by family sounds like it was just as he wanted it - and a great credit to you and the support and care services that made it possible.

    A cruise sounds like a wonderful way to mark this new chapter of your life - I'm sure you'll love the Hebrides.

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  13. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Dear Jean, My sincere condolences. I am so grateful that you have a large and loving family to carry you through these last difficult and sad months. What a wise decision - a cruise. It's amazing how beneficial those can be. Thank you for this post. So thoughtful of you to consider us so promptly. And so glad you have Perdita. Chloe. P.S. Don't force the knitting. The Polliwog and Kiernan can wait until you are ready.

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  14. My deepest condolences.

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  15. So sorry for your loss. It will be different not to hear news of him. Bless you in the coming days.

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  16. =Tamar12:11 PM

    It was 16 years ago that I went on a very enjoyable tour that included some of the Hebrides - Mull, Harris,and Lewis, I think. I didn't find much knitting there but the scenery was marvelous. I did buy a glasses-holding cord so as to be less nervous when on the deck of the ferry.

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  17. Holding you and your family in the Light.

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  18. So sorry to hear the sad news, but glad to hear your family and Perdita are there to help.

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  19. My prayers are with you.

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  20. Anonymous12:27 PM

    I also would rather see the Hebrides than the Mekong Delta.
    I hope you have the best time ever Jean.
    Lots of Perdita cuddles to you and All the best for the new normal in your life.
    Jenny from Canada
    xoxo

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  21. skeindalous12:33 PM

    Ah. May you step out into the next chapter with a light heart.

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  22. Adding my condolences to you and your family.

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  23. Anonymous1:06 PM

    There is much to be said for an easy death, and ones at home are now rarer than hen’s teeth.

    Condolences to all and may his memory be a blessing to you and yours for years to come.

    Best wishes for this period of transition, and so glad you have a cruise of the Hebrides to anticipate.

    - CKP

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  24. I am so sorry for your loss, Jean. God be with you and your family.

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  25. My thoughts and prayers are for you and your family.

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  26. Deepest condolence to both you and your family. I've been thinking of you all week and glad that you have the love and support of your family and the playfulness and joy of your cat. Take care of yourself.

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  27. I am so sorry for your loss, Jean! I have been reading your blog for a few years now and love following your knitting and life adventures. I have been thinking of you fondly this week, wondering what was happening in your silence. Blessings on you and yours during this time.

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  28. I'm so very sorry for your loss, Jean.
    I just clicked the link to the cruise and saw that two spots have opened up in October, if that's of interest. Sounds terrific!

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  29. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Sincere condolences on your loss and congratulations on your fortitude through this difficult transition. Knit on with confidence and hope!

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  30. Sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. May he rest in peace.
    The cruise soundslike it fits the bill. Hugs.

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  31. I'm sorry for your loss and like the others I'm glad you have family for comfort. And Perdita; cats have kept me company and given me comfort through many sad times and I know she will be your help.

    As for knitting: I have a vest I was knitting on the plane to go to my father's funeral; I have been unable to give it away or wear it, so I understand your dilemma. I was making it for myself; maybe if you knit something for someone else it will be easier to hand it on and move forward.

    You do know, I hope, that when things are tough you can come here and "talk" to all of us and we will be glad to listen and offer whatever help we can give. Be well.

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  32. like the others I am very sorry for your loss - but it sounds to me as if you're well cared for by your family. I am sure you'll be able to do what feels right for you - take care.

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  33. I am grateful that you were with him for his good death. It is lovely that his life ended as he wished after a full life. You have the support of your family and your friends all around the world.

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  34. Accept my condolences - I've been worried about your silence all week, and what it might signal. Go easy on yourself, pick up knitting again when you feel ready and congratulations on your courage in booking a solo trip!

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  35. Jean I was just composing an email to you when I saw this. So happy you were able to have your family there with you. Knitting will come in its time.

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  36. My condolences on your loss. I'm so glad your family was there so you could support each other.

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  37. Dear Jean - My thoughts and sympathy and support have been with you through the ups and downs of the passing years - especially now as you adjust and cope with the reality of your husband's passing. Janet

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  38. Another voice echoing the familiar but no less heartfelt refrain - I am very sorry to hear the sad news and forward my condolences.
    I do know what you mean about the event entwining itself in one's knitting. I made a sweater for my sister as I stayed with my mom in the hospital. She loves it, but I almost can't bear to look at it. Perhaps the very cuteness will be its salvation, and a new addition to the family will be lovely to welcome in any case. The new baby and parents certainly will receive the garment with great pleasure, I'm sure. The bad or sorrowful 'vibes' are not transmitted with the wool, just locked in the knitter's memory circuits.
    I too would choose the Hebrides in a heartbeat over the Mekong - good call!

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  39. Dear Jean,

    My condolences to you and your family for the loss of your husband. Through thick and thin, you all worked together to give your husband what he wanted most of all, which was to be home.

    The knitting will be there when you are ready for it.

    Anita

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  40. I am so sorry for your loss, Jean. It was wonderful that your children had a chance to see their father before he died, and that they are such a support to you now. And I think it was a brilliant idea to book that cruise. It will give you something to nice to focus on in the coming days and weeks as you deal first with the funeral, then with the paperwork and such that comes after someone has passed. Much love to you.

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  41. With your silence I thought this was the case. The aftermath is fraught with many emotions. My best wishes for you and yours during this time of grieving.

    I was making a blanket for my mother over several years. She died before I finished it. I gave the UFO, along with the yarn and pattern, to the local charity shop. It made me too sad to look at it.

    Should we all do a KAL with those socks? I bet many of us have that book. I'm game.

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  42. Dearest Jean - I am so sorry to hear of your husband's passing. You have been so strong to do what needed to be done to allow him to remain at home through all the recent health issues he had. We all know that you are a wonderful knitter and a wonderful person as well. I was happy to read that your family was able to be with both of you at the end. I have had you in my thoughts a lot the last week and will continue to wish you all the best. Enjoy the cruise! I can't wait to hear all about it.

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  43. It sounds if it were as good a death as could be asked for. I'm holding your family in the light. Enjoy your cruise.

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  44. Your devotion (yours and your children) knew no bounds, you did your very best by him. A loving and united family is a blessing indeed, and will help you through this time of transition. It's good to have the anticipation of a trip-- well done for booking it!

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  45. I suspected there was something not right, given the lengthy silence. I'm so sorry to hear your news. It's good that he was at home though, you'll have no regrets to haunt you about that. And all the family there too.
    Brilliant idea about the cruise. Might it be worth asking to hear about any cancellations for this year? Spread your wings in the time you've got and make the most of the freedom in front of you, for as long as you can.

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  46. I'm sorry, Jean. Glad that you have family near. The cruise is a wonderful idea! Thinking of you

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  47. Much love, Jean. I've traveled a fair amount since my husband died two years ago. It's been very beneficial, but my daughter says that knitting is what saved me. I'm so happy for the new addition to your family at this time.

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  48. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I'm sorry for your loss, Jean. My condolences to you and your family and all best wishes as you meet the changes in your life.

    Carol

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  49. I'm glad that you were all together at the end and he was at home as he wished. Please take time to be kind to yourself as you and yours figure out the next part of this journey.

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  50. Sometimes there are times when the fingers itch to produce something familiar yet the circumstances attach memories to that piece. If you do feel the need to work on something, perhaps you have something in your stash and you can knit a hat that can be given away.

    I hope all the arrangements are going smoothly and you are finding comfort these days. Hugs.

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  51. I'm so sorry for your loss Jean, glad you are surrounded by family, take care of yourself
    Yvette

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  52. Oh Jean, my most sincere condolences. Please allow yourself to grieve as you like. Cry, yell, sleep, knit, walk, go back to bed, love your sweet kitty and just be yourself. I have experienced too much death in the past years. Mother and brother as well as both family dogs and my neighbor in 8 months. I am still shell shocked by the loss. Know I am here for you. With love, Jenni

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  53. RIP Mr Miles. Glad to know your family are close by and prolly fussing over you.

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  54. Rebecca in MN7:44 PM

    Dear Jean--I add my sympathies to those above. In this day and age, it's an achievement to die at home: one that requires vigilance, hard work, and exceptional advocacy skills. I've watched you work to give your husband this final gift and, from experience, I feel certain this will be a comfort to you in the months ahead.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:52 PM

      I also echo your sentiments. Being the caregiver is such a difficult task at times. It is a time of putting the other persons feelings and needs first. There is then guilt if you are tired and grumpy or do something for yourself. What a good example of caring you have been in the past year of caring for your husband. Rest and recuperate. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

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  55. With love, as well as deep respect for the patience and care with which you have bourne the last couple of years, my sympathies for your loss. Please take very good care of yourself, planning that cruise does seem like a very good start.

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  56. My condolences to you and your family Jean

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  57. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Blessings on you and your entire family as you deal with this loss. It is comforting to know that Mr. Miles could be at home, surrounded by loved ones, as he passed. My thoughts have been with you all this week, wondering if a situation had arisen, and was not surprised to see the Ravelry post announcing your husband's obituary. You have all been marvelous in coping with his last days and I hope you all do well in future days. I firmly believe that we are always connected to our departed loved ones forever because love never fades and when I feel sad I remember happier times of laughter and joy to help ease my sorrow. I hope your family can take comfort in this philosophy as well. Bless you all and I hope the cruise is as marvelous as it sounds. Take care - Joe-in Wyoming

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  58. My father and I would both like to extend our sincere sympathy. Thinking of you and your family. Cat

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  59. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. I echo others' thoughts that it must have been some comfort to be home and to see his children. You are one brave, stalwart woman.

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  60. Jean you were faithful to the end and supported him so beautifully and capably.

    I also admire how you balanced his needs with care for yourself, to enable you to carry on.

    At this time of Pentecost may the Holy Spirit pour healing and peace on you and your family as you mourn his loss and move through this time of adjustment.

    The cruise is a wonderful idea and I also echo the call for a KAL of those socks, if you are so inclined. No rush.


    Lots of love from Melbourne.

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  61. condolences to you and the family, Jean. Eternal rest to Hector

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  62. My sincere condolences to you and your family.
    Ellen in Connecticut

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  63. Dear Jean, like many of your devoted readers, I have been worried by your silence. Thank you for checking in with us at this time of transition and sorrow. You have such a splendid family, and I am glad that all four children were nearby. Condolences to all of you, *vechnaia pamiat'" (eternal memory), and we will all be here, ready to read and knit along with you, whenever you are moved to post.

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  64. Diana2:14 AM

    Jean, I am deeply sorry for your loss but very glad you have your family and Perdita for support. Hugs and love from Massachusetts.

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  65. Dear Jean,
    I am sorry for your loss, please take care of yourself while you adjust to your new reality. It is very evident that your family and friends (both IRL and Internet ) want to help any way that they can , please let them.
    Thinking of you , from Toronto.

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  66. Anne C. in Bethesda4:51 AM

    I am very sorry to hear of your husband's passing, Jean. As others have said, I was worried that the quiet here was due to an unfortunate scenario. This is a difficult arc to travel on the circle of life...it's good you have your family, and Perdita, near at this time. And the imminence of the new baby continues the circle.

    Do take care of yourself.

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  67. Echoes of all the sentiments expressed earlier-and a different take on the intertwinement of knitting with life events.
    I knit gloves from a self-striping yarn while my dad was gravely ill. The fingers were knit first and all looked very different. He helped me choose which were to be placed next to each other. When I lost the gloves I felt the grief all over again, it was as if another connection with my dad was lost.
    I'm sure your knitting will come to comfort and please you again. Let time help you.

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  68. I, too, am saddened to hear of your husband's passing, but you must be heartened to know that you enabled him to have his family with him, and that he remained in his home.

    Thinking of you, in Melbourne.

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  69. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Dear. Jean, i just checked back and noticed that my comment never made it to your blog. My sincerest condolences and I echo everyone else's thoughts and sentiments. You gave your husband his last wish. What a beautiful act of love. So glad you have Perdita. Chloe

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  70. Dear Jean,

    I am so very sorry for your loss. You have (and are) in my thoughts and prayers.

    Susie

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  71. I thought this might be the case. I expect the technicalities of Mr. Miles current trip are keeping you busy. I like that you have made plans fo your future. Tell me, is there anything at all that we can do to ease your way? God keep you and be well as you enter a new and, hopefully, exciting way of life.
    Pgnitter

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  72. Jean, you have my heartfelt sympathy. Knit on, per EZ.

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  73. As have all the comments before this I want to send my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Many of us who read your messages feel that we know you, your husband, your cat and your kin because you share your thoughts both knitting and non-knitting (always impeccably labelled) so generously. We are with you in spirit now and always--wishing we could give you warm hugs of support.

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  74. My sincere condolences to you and your family. You managed what must have been a very difficult time with grace and humor, to say nothing of generously sharing your experiences. Take care,
    Genny

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  75. I am sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family

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  76. Sorry for your loss. But it was where he wanted to go, and with family, and now the stress and worry is over. Praying for you and your family.
    And lots of time to prepare for your cruise.
    And you perhaps need to find some brainless knitting for a while. Simple socks?

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  77. I can only add to the chorus saying how sorry I am to hear this, and send condolences to you and your family.

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  78. All my best. It is a great gift to be able to support a person at home as they leave this world. I was able to do it for my mother-in-law -- I knitted an entire sweater that week as she prepared to leave us.

    Take care of yourself -- I'm so glad you're planning a cruise!

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  79. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  80. Oh, Jean. I am so very sorry for your loss. It has been quite a few years since I found myself in your situation and I can only say that while one adjusts, the absence is always felt. I'm happy your children are close and that you have Perdita for companionship. If you've need of anything from California I'm happy to provide. Victoria.

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  81. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for letting us know.

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  82. All my feelings have been expressed so eloquently by others here. My thoughts are with you.

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  83. Jean, I am so sorry for your loss. I will pray for you and your family. Letting him live at home was a wonderful thing you did for him and something you will never regret. Be strong in the knowledge that there are many of us who care for you.
    Ron in Mexico

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  84. My sincere condolences to you and your family. It wasn't easy having him at home and arranging for his care, but how glad you must all be that he could be home till the last. Happy to hear of your cruise plans.

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  85. My sincere condolences to you and your family. Knit on.

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  86. Knitsiam5:29 PM

    My deepest condolences on your loss; may he rest in peace. My prayers go out for him, and for you and your family, in these sorrowed times.

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  87. Dear Jean,
    My sincere condolences to you and all your family.
    Your husband lived at home until the end and I admire all you did so that this could happen.
    I am so sorry. May knitting help.
    Philhellene

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  88. So sorry to hear about the death of your husband. May his memory be a blessing to you and your family.
    (And I look forward to future reports re: the Hebrides!)

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  89. You and your family are in my thoughts at this sorrowful time, Jean. May you find strength and comfort in the love of your family and friends. Susan (no longer in CT)

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  90. I am so sorry for your loss, but glad to hear that due to your faithful care he was able to pass away in familiar surroundings. I think the Hebrides is the perfect trip for you. The Mekong Delta may be more for me, as an important part of my Baby Boomer history.

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  91. Anonymous10:21 PM

    I was afraid your absence meant bad news. I am so sorry for your loss. It is good that you have your family around you, and your cat and your knitting. Judy from Denver

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  92. I was so sorry to hear of your husband's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family, Jean.

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  93. Jean,
    So sorry to hear about your husband's passing. Am keeping you and your family in my thoughts during this difficult time. I think you can take comfort in knowing that you made it possible for your husband to spend his final days at home and to pass on on his own terms. That is a blessing.

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  94. My condolences, Jean; I was afraid that something like this explained the silence. Will echo those who note how lovely it was that you, your children and "the system" made it possible for your husband to live out his end time at home.

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  95. Oh dear Jean, may you find peace and solace in the comfort of the family you have created together! Terribly sorry for this terrible loss and grateful he was at home surrounded by his loved ones.

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  96. P. S. God's peace be with you all.

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  97. Dear Jean, My thoughts are with you and your family. No matter how good a death is it is always hard for those left behind. I will be thinking about you.

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  98. Jean, I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  99. My condolences to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

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  100. Am so sorry to hear of your loss, please accept my sincere condolences.

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  101. I am so sorry about your husband! My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

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  102. Sorry to read this news but pleased that the end came as your husband and the family would have wished.

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  103. Mary Lou from NJ5:47 AM

    Jean, my condolences to you and your family on the death of your husband. Sad as this time is for you, it must be conforting to you that you made it possible for him to die where and as he wished. A silent but frequent reader of your blog for several years, I am a friend of Helen's since our APHS days. Mary Lou from NJ

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  104. My condolences to you and your family. You did an heroic job in caring for him. Knit on.

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  105. I'm so sorry to hear this. May your husband's memory be eternal. And I hope you know that those of us "out here in the ether" consider you a friend and will hold you and yours in our hearts.

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  106. I would like to add my condolences too and say how sorry I was to hear that your husband had died. It seems fitting that his final resting place is where he spent so many happy days with you and your family.

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  107. Sarah JS11:41 PM

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I do believe there is a 'good death' -- my mother had one in February. So glad so many of your family were there to see him beforehand.

    I know that I did indeed knit (some) in between all the demands on my father and me in the week after Mom died ... and then I promptly ripped all that out and started over.

    Each grief has its own path ... my heartfelt prayers that yours at this time is a gentle path to trod.

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  108. Anonymous11:11 PM

    Dear Jean,
    Let me add my condolences to so many others as you and your children go through this sad time. I so much admire your strength and forbearance in giving your husband this final gift, of making it possible for him to die at home, surrounded by the people and things that he loved. As always, you make it look easy when I am sure it was anything but easy. I hope you can take a much-deserved rest now, and begin to look forward to your cruise. What a wonderful idea! We are all thinking of you.
    Carol in Long Island

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  109. Anonymous12:24 AM

    Jean so sorry for your loss. As you have said it was a good death. I admire your forward planning in booking the cruise-my husband raised one eyebrow to say "you would do that too". Best wishes, Ann. Co Tyrone

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  110. Anonymous7:40 PM

    Dear Jean,
    Sincere condolences on your husband's death.
    Thanks for posting an update for your blog readers. We have been thinking of you and your family.

    As others have said, the knitting can wait for you to be ready.

    The cruise sounds fascinating! Off to read their website.

    LisaRR

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  111. Sincere condolences, Jean, to you and your family. Know that you have many readers, regular and irregular who are thinking of you and wishing you the best in this difficult time

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  112. I must offer my condolences to you and yours, hoping that your pain is somewhat easing with the passage of the days.

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  113. Oh, and look at that beautiful new baby under her lovely shawl (those cheeks!). Amid the grief, the happiness. I am thinking of a quote, but it eludes me...

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  114. The new great-grand is beautiful and clearly healthy and wonderful. I hope you get some time to enjoy!

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  115. Dear Jean, Please look after yourself. Thinking of you.
    Hugs,
    Roo

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