Sunday, February 27, 2011

We Interrupt This Program . . .

Life interrupted!

It has been a while since I've written anything in my blog.  The first two months of 2011 were the most difficult months of my entire life.  So rather than write blah, blah, blah negativity, I decided to take a break.  Through this difficult time, the one thing that I clung to was creativity.  It has saved me.

Most of those New Year's Resolutions are a blur.  It's as though a bolt of lightening came down, and the loud crack has just been ringing in my head.  But through the loud crack, I've been creative.  I've done some stuff.

Before the crack . . . the first weekend of the New Year, I spent some time working on some "Ranger" techniques at New England Scrapbook.  The second weekend of the year, I took a class from the great Cheryl Mezzetti.  I fell in love with Cheryl's art-si-ness (clearly not a real word), with Zip Dry glue, and with Twinkling H2O's from Creative Imaginations.  I played with them during the class that Cheryl taught.  And then I bought some.  And then the very next day I used some on samples for an upcoming class.

The crack came the next day!  I very sadly, and far too soon, lost my brother to colon cancer.  He was only 50 years old.  When I say that typing these words is just as heartbreaking this moment as it was the moment he slipped away with his hand in my hand, I really and truly do mean it.  Not a single day goes by that there are no tears.  There was almost a day, but when I realized it . . . well, enough said!  So there is not a one. 

What has saved me through this difficult time?  An awesomely wonderful sister-in-law and her awesomely wonderful family (who is, by marriage, my family).  I always said that my brother married her so I could have her as my sister.  She is the best sister ever!  I've also been saved by a husband who has been supportive of me just running off to "play" with people and not asking any questions.  And I've been saved by those people who have played with me . . . you all know who you are . . . my NESC family . . . my quilt/scrapbook friends who convinced me to make (start) a Sudoku quilt one night . . . and my Farmington Valley Stamp group . . . bless all of you!

After the crack, I said to myself, "Be creative!"  No matter how much I wanted to sit around a feel miserable, I just knew I had to be creative if I was going to survive.  I had to opt out of the two quilt classes I had signed up for . . . because I just couldn't think.  I needed to be creative, but not think about it.  So I gifted my class to a friend, and I felt no guilt for it was now a gift.  I had signed on to teach some classes and make some Designer Series Kits for NESC, and I pushed through everything hoping my work would not suffer.

And then there was the nine to five job.  The insurance job . . . new changes . . . new boss . . . people I had worked with for years who were no longer part of the new organization.  Saying goodbye to some of these people had me in tears.  More loss.  

But then there was Brave Girl Soul Restoration, a six-week on-line class that I signed up in December.  It started the day after my brother lost his battle.  I didn't think I could do the class, and I will admit that the six weeks are up and I'm only still working on the fourth week.  I am committed to getting it done.  And if I don't - I will sign up again.  It has been hard, given the circumstances that I've been dealing with.  But it has been absolutely wonderful and I encourage all you ladies out there to check out the Brave Girl Club.  I am learning so much about myself, it's crazy.  Did it come at a difficult time?  Absolutely.  But I am committed to finishing.  I will be blogging more about it in the future.  

In January the New England Scrapbook Company's "Company Kit" for February was given to me to make samples.  The "Company Kit" is a monthly kit of paper, ribbons, stickers, embellishments . . . the works . . . truly awesome stuff.  My first task was to create a two-page layout.  I was going to make a layout about how much I loved my dog.  As I created the layout, there was a ticket . . . there was a blackbird . . . there was all this "love" stuff.  I could only think of The Beatles, and from this dog layout, a layout about my brother's influence in my life was born.  It was my tribute to him.

So I've done some stuff while my ears were still ringing from the loud crack.   And I will continue to push through.

It's funny . . . my brother lived only 15 minutes away, two towns over.  We raised our kids together.  We could go weeks without talking.  When we did, he was a man of few words.  We never needed words.  He would call the house and say, "Hey, Deb.  What's up."  I would say, "Not much, what's up with you."  He'd reply with a one or two word answer.  He'd then say, "Want to talk to Laurie?"  He was the gatekeeper to my sister-in-law (not that she needed one).  The little sister in me now says . . . "Neener, neener neener . . . she's all mine now!"

What I'd give to have the gatekeeper back!

O.K. . . . so time to get creative!  Happy crafting!