at a loss

It is the second anniversary of my stroke. I had been preparing a post, but, disliking it, have left it half-written. Unusually, I find myself at a bit of a loss for words. I feel a little angry and a little glum today. I know that I am angry because of the many frustrations I still face (fatigue, hearing and mobility issues, seizures, the inability to plan ahead, the structuring of my entire existence around my sleep / rest requirements &c &c). But anger is pretty pointless, and I am not quite sure why I am glum. Life is really pretty good. Anyway, I must do what I usually do when I feel in a bit of a fug — namely — go for a walk. I think it might be a long one. I shall see you later.

Thanks so much for your comments about different knitting styles, which I am really enjoying reading.

135 responses

  1. May I just say on this second anniversary that I for one am very, very happy that you are still with us..still sharing your incredible gifts and talents. While a stroke reminds us all of the fragility of life, your strength, determination and perserverance shows us that the human spirit is indomitable. Walk on, Kate.

  2. “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    We all know your inner strength, Kate. You certainly have every right to be angry, and a bit down now and then. I believe it’s all part of a cycle that is necessary in order for you to come back up on the other side with renewed focus and energy. I hope you can feel the virtual hug that is being sent today from all your blog and knitting fans.

    • Dear Kate this feeling will pass . Please hold onto that thought. It is understandable you should feel like this from time to time . Your spirit has been such an inspiration to so many people and I hope when you return from your walk ( such a lovely day here in the north ) you will feel the love from everyone and be renewed.

  3. You are remarkable and an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for sharing your knitting designs and your knowledge of history. Sometimes I feel that I am in a class. Have you ever thought of designing an online course? I would love to come to the Shetland Wool week, if only to meet you. Keep walking.

    • I so agree with Mary Power’s post. You have been a personal inspiration to me. Your courage and willingness to work so hard on recovery is a gift to all of us. Hoping your readers’ collective prayers and positive energy lift your spirits. Thank you for all you share with us all over the world. Joanie

  4. Great day for a walk! Enjoy the sunshine and let it penetrate. I look forward to your photos.
    I’m going sailing – with 2 inches of what will be a beautiful Owls jumper in the kit bag. Thanks to you!

  5. I can second what Mary wrote.
    I think that sometimes we can get the glums even when our heads are telling us all the reasons we shouldn’t. My youngest was born with several anomalies, and I can remember being with him in the hospital seeing so many parents and children battling situations much worse than ours. A lesson I learned was that there will always be someone worse off, and there will always be someone better off. I had to grieve for what we lost before I could rejoice in what we had. Sometimes it takes a while for the heart to catch up to the head, and sometimes the head needs to let the heart just feel.
    Thank you for sharing your life and experiences honestly, as difficult as it may be.

  6. Sending warm thoughts your way today. I had a severe stroke nearly 3 years ago. No seizures, and more speech than hearing issues. I also have two small children keeping me on the run through my fatigue.
    I’ve recently launched a small-scale knit design business to help make up for the money I am no longer making as a violinist. You are an inspiration!

  7. I hope you have a wonderful uplifting walk with Bruce. You are such a truly inspirational woman, to have endured so much, yet found the strength to reinvent yourself is simply awesome. I look forward to you posts a great deal, It is good to see that you have so much love and richness enveloping you. You are an inspiration to me and my whole family. Feel angry, and rail against the difficulties and unfairness, it is only natural that you should grieve for your pre stroke self, on anniversaries. Sending you lots of virtual love, hugs, and a shoulder if you want one. However I’m sure a long walk it that fabulous countryside will help no end. Thinking of you today x

  8. I hope the sun, the air and being in the company of Bruce :o) has helped this morning.
    I often feel a bit glum in February for no real reason. I think it is an impatience for Spring.
    Do you think being crazy chainsaw lady may help at bit? You look pretty awesome in your goggles and gloves!!!…..but I always think you’re pretty awesome :o)

  9. It’s all right to feel angry…..but get it out, let it go, and enjoy your lovely long walk……..don’t waste energy on things you can’t change……..use the energy that you have, for things that you love.

    I do believe in the power of thought, it’s energy right? With all of these virtual hugs coming your way…..and a lovely walk with Bruce, you’ll be feeling better in no time.

    • I do completelu agree with you Anne in Milton Ontario ! I also believe in the power of thought. Reading all these positive and inspired comments, full of true kindness did me much good.
      Take care Kate.
      Elena from Paris

  10. Dearest Kate, Anger might be surprising but pretty normal in the circumstances I should think. I would like to echo the words of the others when they admire your fortitude, versatility and determination. Not to mention your creativity and thoughtfulness. Your future is bright as the sunshine in which you have just hopefully walked. A big thank you from me and all my family, lots of love and cyber hugs

  11. Though I’ve never experienced anything like your stroke, I used to get all out of sorts right around the anniversary of my father’s death, without even realizing that was the date sometimes. I think our bodies have a bit of an emotional memory themselves. I think you’re entirely justified in being glum. I hope you enjoy your walk.

  12. Kate there are times when we do feel glum, with reason and without. We know we should not be, given how much worse our situation could be, yet……
    I agree with all I’ve read above and what I have read for these past two years from you confirms those words as simple truth. The human spirit and capacity for renewal is amazing.
    I’d like to share some words written by my husband that I find help me to get out of my glums when they visit me, I hope they help with yours.

    This gift, this day, this hour,
    Fills me with joy, fills me with joy.
    Each drop of rain, each flower,
    Fills me with joy, fills me with joy.
    Clouds that float gently across the horizon,
    Brown leaves that dance in the wind as they fall;
    Even the cry of the wolf in the forest,
    Fills me with joy, fills me with joy.

    This is one verse of a song “This Gift ” which he wrote in 2000. It goes on much the same way for two more verses, with joy expressed at both the positive and negative. The final verse starts with ” Your Kiss, your smile, your laughter ” ending with ” Even the tear of a lover who’s lonely”.
    The line I feel appropriate for you in this verse (indeed for all of us at various stages in our sojourn here) and which mirrors all that you and others have said in this blog is : “Hearts that are strong both in gladness and sorrow.”

    Wishing you all the best Kate.

  13. I have been a reader of your blog only for about 2 weeks. And I’m no knitter – but like your knitting works and patterns. I think that your thoughts, your photographs and your ideas (I love sewing) are very inspirational. Thank you very much. Enjoy your walk. I think that you are full of inner strength. Take care.

  14. A walk always helps. Be gentle with yourself, you have inspired so many of us with your determination, focus, good taste, photograghs and so much more. [Bruce!] Reading your posts helped me through my own health issues this past year and although I don’t post, I think of you when I knit. [currently an itchy scarf, made with vintage mohair].

  15. Walking clears the mind and tires the body… which will help you sleep off the glumness. It’s small wonder that a day like this will affect you, but remember what you have conquered, and be proud of what you have achieved: you rock!

  16. I just passed my six year migraine mark and felt glum too. For me, it was the realization of exactly how much time has passed in conjunction with how much further I have to go. Best not to dwell on these things but to take a walk, squeeze some yarn, and snorgle the puppy. Wishing you happiness today!

  17. Dear Kate,

    I came across your blog by accident but I love everything that you do. The great knit patterns,photos and your blog. I didn’t know about your stroke. I just wanted to share with you that my husband had 2 strokes. One when he was 20 years old and second one 5 years ago when he was 30 years old. They don’t know why and no one in his family had any history of strokes.
    He was a carpenter working to build Japanese Tea Ceremony houses, he had to give it up . Now he makes made-to-order furniture at home. His whole left side was affected and he had to do rehab. Also, he decided to started Yoga which helped him tremendously. Perhaps you might like to look into doing some Yoga?

  18. Kate, sending you huge, warm thoughts. Just know that your writing and photography and knitting bring so much beauty and solace to so many.

  19. May the wind under your wings carry you where the Sun sails and the Moon walks.
    Fare well wherever you fare until your eyries receive you at your journey’s end.(J.R.R.Tolkien)
    Acknowledge the anger and then count the blessings of the day with Bruce.

  20. Congratulations on all you have accomplished in the last two years. I think it would be hard to have this day pass without acknowledging the event that has caused so much pain and change in your life. Tomorrow will be a new day. Thank you for continuing to be such an inspiration to me.

  21. It is not so surprising to be glum on an anniversary you would rather not mark. It can be hard when you feel like you are no longer improving to the degree you were in your first year, and it is frustrating, no doubt. But you are still making progress, you are still recovering, and still discovering what YOU are capable of. And I think everyone here would agree that you are more than capable of a lot of things.

    Brush the cobwebs aside, go out and enjoy the fresh air, and maybe even some sunshine. It should push the glumness right out of you!

  22. Kate, I hope you have enjoyed your walk and that the sun has been shining on you as it has here and that you have come home refreshed and uplifted.

  23. For Kate

    I walked amongst the hills that day
    My thoughts like hot air against the breeze
    Then gently, slowly, as if unaware
    I sang the song so rhythmic and sweet
    And found my way back home……..

  24. In the words of Lamb:

    “By myself walking,
    To myself talking”

    You suffered a life-changing horror – you have every right to acknowledge it.

    Wishing you joy

  25. You may not be in a mood to hear this but 2 years is not so long after a stroke and more recovery is still possible and probable. My Mum was told after 6 months rehab that she would never walk unassisted again and would need 2 trained people to help her in and out of a wheelchair. She got herself to the point where she walked unassisted and did not even use a wheelchair much less 2 assistants to get in and out of it. She has deficits, of course, and she tires easily and her personality has been affected; I am not minimizing the effects of her stroke (she has no functional use of her left arm and hand) but I want to remind you of the possibilities still ahead of you.
    I respect your accomplishments enormously and have a lot of compassion for the blow you were dealt but also I can’t imagine anyone better able to heal and adapt and eventually make an excellent life as you are now.
    Best wishes, have a moan, it’s allowed, and know how much love there is for you all over the world.

  26. Kate, you continually inspire me with all that you share here in your blog. As a former academic who is currently lost as to what to do next, I always feel encouraged by all that you do and how you still stop to share the little things too (especially the flowers and lichen). I hope you were encouraged by your walk today and all that you saw.

  27. Have a lovely walk with your buddy, Bruce. I’ll bet his cuteness, antics, and company will help entertain and comfort you. Breathing in the fresh air in a lovely setting with a faithful companion is good medicine for the blues. Thank you for sharing your journey with so many. Enjoy your walk and give Bruce a hug for me, woof!

  28. I would think that biologically, anger was used by our ancestors to trigger the fight or flight mechanism, to help us cope with stressful situations (running away from sabertooth tigers etc) so I can kind of see how frustration can manifest into anger at times to try to push things along, even if our bodies are not cooperating. Likewise, that feeling of being glum, is how our biology urges us to retreat and grieve for what we have lost so that we can get on with our lives. Both your emotions are perfectly normal when being faced with what you face every day, especially on an anniversary. It is all part of the healing process and a sign that you are making progress. Getting out into the fresh air and sunshine with such a noble and loving friend as Bruce sounds like just the thing to lift the spirits and give you a boost. Best wishes my dear blogosphere friend. I tip my hat to your tenacity and progress and send along some good wishes for continued health and healing. :)

  29. I wish you all the best. It’s a frustrating road you’re on and normal to feel down about progress on anniversaries like this one. We always hope that we’ll be further along “next week/month/year.” I hope that one day you can look back and find that you’ve come quite a far way back to what you consider to be normal.

  30. 2 years…that means I’ve been reading this blog for just a little longer than that. I haven’t forgotten my shock at Tom’s post about your illness. What a long way you’ve come. Your determination is inspiring and we’re all glad you’re still here. Have a great walk and know that we’re all pulling for you.

  31. I’ve only discovered ‘needled’ this week, and it strikes me what a special person you are. You’re busy achieving more than the rest of us while coping with so much more. All best wishes x

  32. I say feel rotten. Seriously. Everyone makes us think we should be happy all the time but you have every reason to be glum. Not that you need a reason. Any one of us feels glum sometimes, too. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t worry about tomorrow. We’ll still be here. And we’ll still love you.

  33. I think you are the bravest. Your road may have been bumpy but a step is a good one to walk on. May you be able to overcome and be well and most of all happy. Stay well.

  34. Kate
    I am hoping that your camera is with you as you walk. You photos brighten my day, turning negative energy into an inspiration and if can do that on a bad day you have accomplished something wonderful.
    I agree with every one who gave you permission to lament. But I if you get tired of that
    perhaps you need a ritual to banish the calendar reminder, Rip out the calendar page and burn it, bury it,shred it, cast it on the water, make a paper voodoo doll and poke it into pulp. Something to put it in it’s place. Or make an origami bird house or line the bird cage with it.. I don’t know what will work but show it who is boss.

  35. You have let us all walk in your shoes for a brief moment and have certainly educated me to the frustrations you and others deal with every moment of your day. Be frustrated . . . walk with nature . . . but know we all care deeply about you and your health. You have inspired me beyond words.

  36. I hear you Kate, so many areas of your life are affected, so many feelings and angers, and fears come, and you fight your way through to stay balanced, both mentally and physically. The beautiful words of assistance and love and care by everyone here, but still you are on the front line, as it were..battleing this.

    ” I’m a candle, Pass the knife throughmy neck a hundred times, I’ll burn just as brightly.” ~Rumi
    Kate you are burning brightly, I hope you feel much better soon, and that the new specialist can help you sort through all this, and regain more of what you know to be your old self.

  37. Here’s hoping that your long walk enabled you to walk out of the fug. Best wishes for you and your continued recovery.

  38. So then, now might be a good time to tell you how much I have enjoyed knitting your pattern Warriston. It is genius. I love that I have almost no sewing to do and it’s all kind of lovely and stretchy because it has no seams. I more or less finished last night, just have some icord binding off to do and I’ll be needing it for all this cold weather we’re getting. Hurrah!

  39. Kate ~
    I totally understand. I was in a really bad car accident quite a while ago and it left me unable to do some things I love, one being, running (among other things). Most of the time I’m really okay with the way things are today ~ I’ve got a really good life, people who love me, etc. Sometimes it’s just not enough and I grieve my past life.
    It’s better to grieve and then get on with things. And then grieve some more. It gets better and better as time goes on. Really.
    I so admire your spunk and courage and the incredible things you create!

  40. I think the anger sounds pretty normal – you went through a huge, unwanted, life-changing event that still reverberates through your entire life. it’s amazing to me that you’re not more angry and bitter. I hope you find comforting ways to be gentle and kind to yourself today.

  41. Perfectly understandable. I still feel that way about May 12. By the same token, I’m now almost 12 years out. The past couple? I’ve been feeling a little bit of joy mixed in there: the joy of “I BEAT it!”
    (and I’m hoping that day will come for you, as well…)

  42. Kate, I cannot believe that it has been two years!! To echo another reply here – I too remember the shock of Tom’s email.

    There is part of me that wants to say Congratulations!!!! For, I am amazed at what you went through and how you have pulled yourself through the other side. However, from your perspective, I would imagine that may not sound quite right, but you really have done amazing things in the past two years. You are an incredible inspiration to so many.

    I volunteer in a neuro-unit and I amazed at the degree of recovery I see – so keep moving forward.

    You have every right to feel, on this day, what you need to feel – you certainly deserve it!

    Thank you for all your wonderful posts, insights, tutorials, and of course, patterns! You have and continue to, enrich so many lives.

    Warm thoughts, best wishes, and virtual hugs from NYC

  43. Feeling angry and glum is understandable, acknowledging those feelings is honest, and taking a long walk is a great way to deal with negative energy. Being brave and remaking a life is a lot of work, and you do it so well. I hope you enjoyed your walk.

  44. I guess it is an anniversary in the true sense, although not one that you exactly celebrate. I hope you are well and enjoying yourself in the outdoors. I know what you mean about the anger, the frustrations and the struggles. I haven’t had any stroke, but I often forget to look on the bright side. I get really dragged down by bad feelings about things that happened in my growing up years and overwhelmed by my struggles or challenges in the present. In general, I am happy, and I have a talent for happiness. I teach at a university, I have two beautiful daughters, I even enjoy knitting a lot, but some days I feel like none of this is really me. That I can’t keep it together. That I’ll never finish my dissertation. That my students think I am the worst professor. I’ll never finish my knitting. That I will never belong anywhere. And that my little girls will grow up to hate me. At the back of it is the loss of my former carefree self, if it ever existed. But like you, and I hope you don’t mind my saying so, I am moving ahead, becoming my future self, living my life. I’m not so strict or disciplined as you seem to be in pursuing goals. I like to emphasize the day to day. Sometimes, unhappiness can creep up on you and stage an ambush. Especially on these anniversaries. Similarly, I am not too happy with what I have written. I don’t know if I really “understand”. I don’t tend to sum up my experiences, you know, in the “..and a good time was had by all…” type of way, but your blog really speaks to me. I really like reading about your goings on.

  45. There are no words to add to what has been said above really. You have been given a challenging road to walk and seem to be doing so amazingly well. How wonderful to have the loving people ( & dogs) around you that you do and to have a passion & a purpose in what you do. With so many hurdles it is inspirational that you are so creative & get as much done as you do.
    From afar their are strangers, like me, thinking of you & wishing you well. xx

  46. As Robert Frost said so aptly, you “are on the road not taken” – just not perhaps of your own choice. But on that road not taken you have gained so much, another career, so many new people to count as friends, and another world that has opened to you that would not have had you stayed on your academic path. I suffer from debilitating migraines, and have for most of my life. The pain controls my day, my plans, my work (I can’t), and everything I do, but it also pushes me to do more than I would if I had no pain, just as you are doing, and so I try to look at everything with glass more than half full, and when I have a bad day, start a new project, go for a walk as you are doing, make a call, or do what I can to ignore what is making me hurt so much. Keep going Kate, you have your life in front of you, not behind you, and your spirit will take you to wonderful places you would never have gone, had you not been pushed down this road by your stroke. I know this for sure.

  47. I think one element you might have ‘askew’ Kate, seriously, is perspective, in particular, of your accomplishments. You see, as you continue to push forward into higher realms of What It Is That You Do (designing, at a rapid pace as well as releasing the patterns, now attending the WoolFest as a vendor, for instance) , you might not see (as I do) how you are progressing exponentially (even since your stroke) since when you began with your first design a few years ago. Just sayin’. Hugs to You~ Jen

  48. I should have put it simply, (and your feeling cruddy aside) , you seem to be accomplishing *so* much, and that you still are for many people I am sure, a role-model of success. I sure hope that very soon you’ll feel better about things, it is a rather bleak date to get past. (more hugs)

  49. a walk sounds like just the thing. i hope you felt better when you arrived home. honestly i’m amazed at what you have been able to accomplish in 2 years. it may not feel like much to you, but it’s astounding to me. keep it up, eh? :)

  50. Of course you feel angry and glum – you’re grieving still. Walking is the one of best ways to move through these feelings, on the earth, in the air, with nothing between you and the sky…. You are a true inspiration as so many of the above comments have said. and I too look forward to your posts so much, and always learn something from them. So thank you so very much. I hope your spirits lift soon, but you’re bound to get darker days and it’s very wise to accept them and follow your feelings within them by lying low or taking to the hills. You’re an amazing, talented, dearly, widely loved individual whose gifts are precious and rare, and I hope I meet you one day at one of these Shetland Wool Weeks… but while you have gained so much on your journey, you have lost a lot too, and acknowledgment and acceptance of that is an integral part of moving through. It’s about living with – and this is something you do astoundingly well. I am blown away by your woolly endeavours, but I know you have to live with challenges most of us don’t, and while you may be remarkable, you’re not invulnerable….. look forward to hearing from you soon, hugs and cocoa xxxx

  51. I hope that your walk was restorative and inspiring, and helped quell the gloomy thoughts that came with your two-year anniversary. It has been a sunny, almost “summer” day here in northern Delaware, very unusual for the first of February. I hope you’ve had nice weather too……your writing and designs bring so much sunshine into our lives. Best wishes ….

  52. Kate- I really don’t even know where to begin. Let me first say that I have absolutely no idea what you face everyday. But I am truly amazed and inspired by you. I know you have your bad days and bad moments, but somehow you seem to find your way through. I know that you don’t blog everyday but I still check for you everyday to see if you have been there. I wait patiently to see what you have been up to and especially await eagerly to see what amazing little something you have designed next. The way in which you design- well Kate that is something that you are born with and that will NEVER be taken away from you- you have a gift. And not only a gift for your craft but your ability to reach out and tell your story- whatever that story is on any given day. I love your sense of humour about life- it is real and heartfelt, that is why there is so many people here commenting and cheering you on. You see- I am a transplant from the UK to Canada. My parents were Scottish and so I joke to everyone that I grew up bilingual- Canadian and Scottish! I knew the words Glaikit, Numpty and Eejit before I knew the “English” words for them! Whenever I read a posting of yours or see the countryside with which you walk in, it gives me a little piece of my family and of a place that is so far from me. Keep on, Keeping on Kate! There really is no alternative is there? Plus, you have a huge cheering section always right behind you. I look foward to see what you have up your sleeve next!

  53. What is it about people who knit intricate, stranded patterns which makes them so wise? My fellow readers of your blog have said everything I could think to say, and said it better. I can just add my own experience – five years past cancer surgery, less one vocal cord so that the lecturing I used to do is now difficult – it is amazing how good a new reality can be. But it takes time to adjust to the new reality. Thank you, Kate, for your lovely patterns and photographs, which enrich us all. Thank you for thoughtful, honest blogs.

  54. I am new to your blog and didn’t realize that you had had a stroke. I would have never guessed based on your knitting. How wonderful that you are still able to knit! My friend had a stroke a few years ago (she was 27 and in amazing athletic shape, very healthy, etc.). She has continued to struggle with anger, lack of mobility, frustration, and many of the other things you mentioned in your blog. My heart goes out to you. Coping with brain changes must be so daunting – every little thing takes substantial effort and things that were easy no longer are. I love your blog, beautiful photographs, and unique and playful knitting designs. Thank you for continuing to be present and share your ideas and inspirations!

  55. Courage lovely lady. Look at all these supportive comments from all over the world. You’ve touched all these lives ! You are an inspiration. You are fantastic.
    Just remember “When you are going through hell, keep going. ”
    Walk on. Big breath. It is what it is . And tomorrow is a new day.
    Cheers from Australia.

  56. It must be immensely frustrating, no doubt. But you are here to mark the second anniversary. Yours is a remarkable story, your talents are almost blinding, you’ve got a wonderful man and probably the world’s most photogenic black lab. Here’s to continued success and pleasures! Thanks for the blog – it’s terrific writing and the photos are exquisite. The knitting’s awesome too, but I especially love your literary style. Maybe a book at some point?

    Beth once owned a very well known knitting shop in Camden, Maine, USA called Unique One until the day she had a stroke. I think you both have a lot in common. Your feelings are normal and part of healing. I am glad you feel you can share them with us. Your journey encourages so many of us to deal with challenges.

  58. You have really inspired us with your strength and perseverance and beautiful designs. Your life experiences make up a truly unique you and we are happy to take the trip with you. Onward Kate!

  59. You seem to be just the kind of person I was blogging about today…inspiring, creative, open to a bigger world. I can tell that you are well loved. :) If you have some time and energy, I hope you stop by my site. Nevertheless, thank you for sharing yourself here and for reminding me of my wonderful visit to Scotland in 1986!

  60. I don’t go onto any knitting site usually, but a dear friend who’s a knitter showed me your blog entry today. I can relate to your feeling in a funk. I had a devastating stroke nearly 3 years ago, and I lost many, many things, including my job, my running, and my ability to move my right arm and hand. I always wanted to take up knitting–”when I had the time,” but it’s too late now. If I did knit, I would read your blog, if only to hear your voice, and all your honesty. You have a right to mourn for what had been, but clearly a great many people have been touched enormously by you on this site–let alone how many other people in your life. There is an outpouring of feelings for you, and you don’t even know any of them/us personally! You’ve already spread your wings far and wide; let us cheer you on this time. Be well, and knit on.

  61. Sometimes I think I’d like to get “fortitude” tattooed someplace my eyes could fall on it regularly. Sorry you’re slogging through it right now. I hope tomorrow feels brighter.

  62. You. Are. Awesome. :)

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us in so many ways. Hopefully all the good energy here has made you smile and maybe even shed a couple tears. Sending you a slew of mental sunshine and good will. Hugs.

  63. Sometimes we are glum (it would be surprising if you weren’t occassionally, no one can be inspiring all the time!). i find it’s best to acknowledge glumness/grief, and then we can pass through it. I hope you had a lovely walk.

  64. Kate,
    Like other people have said, it is all right to be angry and to feel glum. In fact, would it not be strange if these feelings did not come to you from time to time, especially on an anniversary?

    I happened to come across your blog about a year ago and have been reading it ever since. I am constantly inspired by your writing, photography, and research, not to mention your designs (especially the rams and yowes is simply beautiful!). I very much admire your perseverance in working towards recovery, and I am awed by your courage in starting along a new path in your life. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Lots of warm thoughts to you!

  65. Hopefully, there will come a time when this date will come and go without any significance to you. Not that you’ll forget, but rather the importance will have diminished.

  66. Kate -
    You have come so far in these two years. It is only natural to feel down. I just want you to know that you are very inspirational.
    Soldier on.

  67. Anger is a natural part of any illness. Your life has been turned topsy turvy by something you have no control over. Fatigue is very frustrating because it limits our ability to do the things we want and yet we don’t look sick. I struggle with all of these things and while I’m very grateful things aren’t worse and I’m able to do all that I can, I still mourn the loss of the old me. It’s grief. I love reading your blog and seeing that you carry on with life and take it as it comes.

  68. I am inspired by your blog, your writing is beautiful. I’m sorry for what you are going through as a result of your stroke. My thoughts are with you.

  69. Dear Kate. I am very concerned by your last message, a bit worried to be honest. Why not go and see a professional to help in anger/frustration/whatever management ? If it is already the case, then change him/her. A blog will allow you to communicate but will remain superficial despite all very friendly and pertinent comments. And keeping tracks of everything does not help bad memories fading away in order to move on. I have been through what you are going through, my ways were different in dealing with all this overwhelming stuff but believe me when I say that you have seen the worst of it and now the best is to come. Will you please keep us in the loop of your mood ? Toute mon amitié from France.

  70. I am also very happy that you have recovered, and I am sure there is still a long way to go.
    We all have our different coping methods, keep at them and remember that it’s good to talk.

  71. Two comments, I didn’t see your blog about knitting styles until today. I learned throwing, tried picking, then combination, and am settling in on Mediterranean or Portuguese style. Easy to do two color work (one on right shoulder, one on left shoulder), tension is even, and easy on the hands. Though you can pick with it, no real need as it’s the left thumb that does the yarn flick. It felt very natural to me. Andrea Wong has the most information out there on this style though there are others too. Could be interesting if doing more than 2 colors. You might like this style. I use a pin as I don’t care for yarn around the neck. I’ve used a binder clip with a large plastic yarn marker (the kind like a coil-less safety pin) and also an actual yarn pin (easier to place the yarn into and out of).
    Second, I have a genetic condition that affects my health. It’s not the same as your experience but I have had a number of surgeries and continue to have rather unpleasant tests annually. I’ve found that we all have our own process and whatever emotions and thoughts you have are real and legitimate and only you know what works best for you. For me, accepting reality has worked, along with being gentle with myself and allowing myself to be human, and, never overlook the value of some well-placed denial. :-) It’s all a balance. Best of luck.

  72. Well, everything’s been said already, so I’ll just add that I do understand, to an extent, why you feel like you do. I think that highly educated people sometimes have a tendency to think that emotions have less inherent value than thoughts: that because we can identify and articulate our emotions, we ought to be able to reason ourselves out of them. But you are allowed to feel what you feel.
    Good wishes to you for this Year of the Dragon.

  73. There’s nothing I can add to all the lovely comments already left but I still need to tell you how you inspire me and how amazing it is that you have come as far as you have. I just know a full recovery is in your future. Enjoy your walk and the space you need to just feel glum. It’s okay and you will feel better just feeling the space and beauty around you.

  74. I am fairly new to your blog, but feel about you the way I would feel in discovering a comfortable friend that I never knew. What a lovely, thoughtful person you must be. The stroke did not change the core of what you are.

  75. Thank you for sharing your glumness and anger. As someone else recovering from a disease that has changed my life completely, I get tired of so often playing the role of the “happy disabled” – the smiles on my face to put others at ease with how different my life is and how uncomfortable that can make them, as well as the smiles I summon for myself to help remember that there is so much good that still surrounds me, despite so much loss. But sometimes I feel glum and angry too, and mostly people don’t want to hear about it because it makes them feel awkward. Well, I for one think that there needs to be more room made for glum & angry because they are just as valid and important emotions as the confident and seeing the good ones are to recovery. So thanks, Kate; thanks for making some space on your blog for the glum anger of a strong woman who mostly emphasizes the good and strides on through many challenges.

  76. Hi…
    Ocasionally I drop by at your blog and I really enjoy your ideas, the walks you take and the things that interest you. You are a peaceful “creature”, so I think; you make me feel peaceful, anyway. So, don´t struggle because of this “aniversary” of yours…
    I can´t really say what it feels like, but one thing I can tell you: you are a beautiful person who had a stroke. See? “you are” and “you had”… Don´t let it become the center of your world, forget this aniversary of yours (if I may say so…), and find the strenght among those who love you, to continue on being a beautiful person (who had a stroke). Life has several “patterns” of its own, but we are the masters on choosing how to rearrange these patterns around us, inside us…
    Take good walks if it helps. But don’t forget you still have a long one in front of you: you are alive. A stroke is just a stoke, you still have all that matters: life, people that love you and your beauty. It’s all there, as it was before… Enjoy it even more!

    (See what I mean? It’s almost seven o’clock in the morning and I just woke up… and I dropped by… so, please, give some of your peace to you too… All the best and forgive me my english – hope you understood.)

  77. I hope your walk helped. You are such an encouraging inspiration to me that I wish there were something tangible I could do to help. Eyes of china blue made a very good point: you have to deal with it, of course, but don’t let it define you. You are wonderful, no matter what. Blessings to you.

  78. KATE ,

  79. I think Holly Golightly called it the “mean reds” and got the best part of her knitting done in that state. It’s how you channel it that defines who you are and you are amazing! If you can handle just one more virtual hug….

  80. Hooray for you! Have a wonderful walk…I do hope you are back by the time I write this…and have rosy cheeks and a rosy outlook!
    You help to make us all feel strong!

  81. Hope you are now back home safe and sound with your wonderful brain full of ideas to share with all of us. I too, have been in a bad place this past few days and it was as hard not to shriek out loud and curse everyone and everything as it was to believe
    … “and this too, shall pass away”

    huggles from Australia

  82. Hi Kate – My goodness, all that goodwill sent to you from your readers is pretty amazing. I’m hoping your spirits have been lifted, despite February doing it’s best to catch us all out. Colleenx

  83. Hi Kate,
    I discovered your blog recently and managed to read it from beginning to end in just a few days. I just wanted to tell you that I think you are awesome. I look at your designs and knitting and hiking and camping photos and can’t help thinking that I would have trouble keeping up with you and I’m “able bodied”. The fact that you do all this while struggling to put your life back together after a stroke is amazing. I’m sure even your posts about your frustrations and bad days are inspiring to others who are recovering from similar problems because they show your human side – kind of “look how well Kate is doing and even she has bad days – it’s going to get better for me if I just hang in there.” Thanks for sharing, Kate. Sending a big hug your way. Melanie

  84. hugs and thoughts full of admiration and gratitude. You’re doing big things, really. Take care and take your time.

  85. Ah, how well I understand having days like this: it’s been a year and a half since my brain tumor, which upended my life and abilities completely … Be well and take care, Kate. Go easy on yourself. Breathe deep that good fresh air.

  86. Your story is remarkable and uplifting. I have admired your handwork for some time, but now am blown away, frankly. As an OT, I see many folks succumb to grief or depression (often due to biological changes resulting from ABI) following a brain injury and as a result, lose the ability to participate in a number of previously beloved activities, so your story of your own recovery process is inspirational. On a purely physical level, knitting with hemiplegia or hemiparesis is no small feat and I salute what could only have been very dedicated effort leading to your return to function. Once again, I am moved by the extraordinary motivating and rehabilitative power of those ordinary everyday activities that both make us who we are and encourage us to become better. I prefer to liken the rehabilitation process to yoga in that the work is never truly *done*; yoga is a “practice” that we work on for years. Couldn’t the same case be made for rehab following a devastating health event? Thanks for sharing your story, warts and all. I’m looking forward to seeing your work, handwork and writing, in the future.

  87. Illness anniversaries are really tough. Losing big parts of what made you feel you is awful, I still struggle with that at times 18 years on. Accepting myself as I am, enjoying life and just getting used to the new normal all help. I hope you can ignore the mean people and focus on the kind ones :)

  88. As the 13th anniversary of my stroke approaches I find my reactions much like yours but one way that helps me is to focus on how far I’ve improved in the past year and years before. The glumness is helped by medication. Just enough so that I don’t cry 20 times a day. Movement helps, lately I’ve been doing exercise in a heated pool. It is uplifting to be able to walk without my cane and move both legs with the help of the bouyancy of the water. Keep on working toward small goals and the big ones will follow. I am much more protective of myself now- emotionally and physically. I have to be as you’ve also learned, so that I can do some of the things I love doing. Happy anniversary- you have survived.

  89. Kate, you are amazing….do not ever let anyone tell you otherwise…sadly, our world is filled with unhappy souls who are unable to realize their own spark of light in their heart….let alone others’! You continue to inspire me….let that little light shine, I say!

  90. I am so doing this pattern!!!

    Should I wait and order a kit+ pattern?

    Love the pics

    and who could possibly have anything negative to say to you???
    let me at ‘em

  91. Kate,
    Last September was two years since my car accident; I broke every bone in both my legs among other injuries…..YOU have been my inspiration when I have pain and feel glum….When I read about your walks, I am so hopeful that I can return to my own country walks someday. When I read about your walks, and see the photos, I feel such a warm connection to you…to say nothing of the knitting! My suggestion is to make a pot of tea, sit by a warm fire, and dream. We must honor our spirits in their sadness as we appreciate the times of joy. Please know how much we all love your honest words; we are your dear friends, connected by our own hearts and minds. Best to you, dear Kate!

  92. We haven’t met, but your I was introduced to your blog by my wife. I too will be celebrating the second anniversary of my stroke on March 28th. I know exactly what you mean, maybe even more than you realize. Glum just doesn’t seem like the right word some days, does it?

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