Friday, August 21, 2009

Spinning as Therapy

I haven't felt like doing much of anything since I received some pretty heavy news last week. Last Wednesday my mom called to tell me that my stepdad has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the plasma cell. He'd been having rib pain lately, which we all initially thought was due to broken ribs from when he took a fall while installing storm shutters. He has been tired and even drifted into confusion one day. Rib & lower back pain is a classic symptom of this type of cancer, and the confusion was caused by an elevated amount of calcium in his blood. I could go on and on about the technical details, but I'm not sure how much I want to delve into it here...all I can say is that I've been sad and frustrated that I live so far away from my parents. I can't help. They're in Florida; I'm in Colorado.

A heavy weight has settled down on me. It pushes down and makes me feel pretty consistantly sleepy...just wrung out. And there's guilt involved, too. My family needs me to be strong. The last thing they need is a daughter/sister that feels ready to collapse with exhaustion.

And so I've turned to my wheel. It rests patiently in the living room until I'm ready for it. I picked out some superwash merino from the depths of my stash, and slid the drive band to the smallest whorl. Spinning sock yarn is something I've never done before...creating a three-ply fine yarn takes time and dedication. But that's exactly what I have right now. I'm a fast treadler in even the most relaxed of settings, but now the wheel positively purrs and the flyer flashes with the blur of the hooks. My heaviness turns out to be pent-up energy and crushing sadness, and now it's pouring into the wheel, flowing down my arms, through my fingers, and spinning away. It's magic. The depression begins to lift, and my thoughts become more organized and less panicky. I can be useful to my family again.

Love you, Dad.

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