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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Knit one, Grief too

Ann Hood was a published writer prior to the unexpected death of her daughter, Grace, at age 5, from a severe strep infection. After the death of her daughter, Ann found like many of us have, that the problems with concentration during the early stages of bereavement made it almost impossible to read or to write. When those are the tools of your trade, or in my case reading was one of my favorite things to do to relax, and you are no longer able to perform them it is more than a little startling and unnerving. I wondered if I would ever be able to read a paragraph again. Ann wondered if she would ever write again.

Ann was no stranger to grief. Her brother, her only sibling, drowned in a bathtub when Ann was a graduate student. Soon after her sixty-seven year old father died after a six-month battle with lung cancer from fungal pneumonia. Shortly after her father's death, Ann experienced a miscarriage. Still even with the experience as a bereaved sibling, bereaved daughter, and finally her miscarriage, nothing prepared Ann for the extreme emptiness she experienced after Grace's death years later.

In her memoir recounting her daughter's death and the aftermath, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, Ann talks about how people woudl often suggest that she write things down, express her feelings on paper, and this increased her anxiety with her inability to write and with their continued suggestions. Ann eventually found comfort in learning how to knit. Some people have written about the meditative effects of knitting and its almost healing quality.

When Ann was able to write again, a year and a half after Grace's death, she took her new interest in knitting and her knowledge of grief and blended them into a fictional book called The Knitting Circle. The book chronicles a story of a bereaved mother whose marriage ends after the child's death and the mother's discovery of knitting and a group of friends who offer each other the support and love that they each need.

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