Chores and knitting.


Now on my own there is a need to get from dawn to dusk as painlessly as possible. The days have to pass, and grief impedes on the passing of time as nothing else will. It bites and fights at every moment that one passes on reflection. How else can it be? It has to be so in surviving, and carrying on with this life that was so much more glorious in the past than it is now. It will get back to some glory, I am sure. Helvi would want that.

One of the best form of passing time is the domestic area of ‘keeping things in order’. This includes the washing up. I always did the washing up, so no stranger to detergents and swishing my hands in warm water. I have a dish washer and both my daughter and Helvi kept urging me to start using it again. As a gesture of obedience and compliance I did give the dishwasher another go for a few days not long ago. Without saying anything to both of them, I stopped doing it. I prefer doing it by hand. Is satisfies. I now am forever scanning the sink to see if anything needs washing up and will almost out of a need to be busy create dirty dishes in order to wash up. It might seem a bit strange but, before you know it another hour has passed and the next chore might present itself.

I have done a lot of chores that many believe are traditionally done by women. However, I don’t think we were much given to traditions, or when it came to doing chores believing they were male or female oriented. However, she knew something might happen, so over the last few months she taught me the delights of using the washing machine.  It wasn’t complicated and hanging the washing was also a job I gradually mastered. Again, we have a cloth-dryer, but with generous Australian sun, why waste electricity? ( generated by burning fossil fuel).

I am egged on by trying to remain busy by the sweet memory of Helvi, not one to waste time. She was rarely bored. She used to knit little sleeves for wrapping around the coat hangers so, her and my clothes would be suspended by a woollen sleeve around the cloth hanger. She was a wonderful example of always using time to best use.

So, please chores. Keep me busy.

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29 Responses to “Chores and knitting.”

  1. lifecameos Says:

    You are doing so well finding your own healing processes.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    When my Dad retired from his job, he started helping my mom with the housework. They divided up the daily chores so they could get them done quickly. My Dad’s attitude was let’s get our chores done and then we can go out and have some fun. 🙂
    After he died from cancer at age 82, my mom said she would often talk to him out loud…about various things…but especially about the chores. She’d say, “I guess I have to clean the bathroom since you aren’t going to do it anymore.” 😉 and such things. She said it made her smile and she imagined him somewhere smiling, too. 🙂

    You will find your way, your own routine, in your own time, Gerard. Everyone grieves differently and in different time frames. Grieving is so painful, but necessary and important.

    And you are so right that Helvi would want you to be happy and stay busy. 🙂

    The photo of beautiful Helvi is lovely! Please keep sharing her with us in your photos and words. 🙂

    And remember…you are not alone…we (your WP friends) are all there with you in spirit, in heart, in thoughts. And reach out to family and friends when you need someone to look in the eyes, to sit and talk, maybe get a hug. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I went to a dog park with Milo today. I was told people meet there because of the ability to have the dog run-around without a lead. However,a few very large dogs were running around and I just did not want to run the risk of Milo ending up being jostled by those large dogs.
      Someone also told me that it is a good place to strike up a conversation with other pet owners. What is your dog’s name or how old is he or she etc.? Can I pat your dog, might well be the next question, if the conversation flows easily?
      I am trying to talk to other people each day, if possible. Helvi attracted people so easily. It was her open face. I have a rather stern looking exterior not easily approachable. I will have to practice a more amicable stance, smile more. For the moment, Milo is my strongest card in exuding social graces, and one wag of his tail easily attracts people.
      I do need people to then shift away from Milo and look in my eyes, as you suggested, Carolyn.
      Hugs too, Gerard

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        I imagine dog parks can be really good places to meet people. (I don’t take Cooper to the one near us because he is so little and laid-back and bigger dogs could hurt him.)
        Yes, our doggies are great at helping us meet new people. 🙂 As Coop and I take walks he wants to see all the people and get a pat or a rub. And he’s so cute everyone wants to meet him. So I end talking to all of those people. 🙂
        Keep putting yourself out there, around people, and smile! 🙂 I think you have so much to say and share that other people would find enjoyable, wise, fun, and interesting. 🙂
        I remember a story…a little girl was often lonely or scared at night and her parents told her to talk to God when she felt like that. She said, with a sigh, “Yes, that’s good. I do talk to God. But sometimes I need someone with skin on them.”
        I can relate to that story so often.
        HUGS to you!!!
        PATS to Milo!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        Thinking about you today, and each day, Gerard.
        I can’t even imagine how difficult life is without your Dear Helvi. 😦
        I just got to thinking the other day that you might enjoy volunteer work. Here we can volunteer at hospitals, schools, senior centers, animal rescue shelters, food pantries, museums, at charities, etc.
        I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in my life and I think I’m helped as much, or more, than the people I am there to help. 🙂
        I know you have much wisdom, love, compassion, and so much more, to share with others. 🙂


  3. Yvonne Says:

    Hugs to you and Milo. Thank goodness for endless chores.
    Will you go to the bowls this week?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hi Gez.

    I want to thank you for your despatches from the frontline. I value them as lessons well taught. Which suggested to me that you have been an art teacher have you not, and I wondered whether you might consider revisiting that creative space.

    As an aside, My folks never owned a dishwashing machine. We used to have great conversations over doing the dishes. It’s a contemplative space and I for one regard warm -even hot- water as relaxing and cleaning stuff as therapeutic. Small pride in fighting the chaos of the universe. FM thinks I’m crazy. But can there be a less rewarding job than loading and unloading a dishwasher ?

    Give Milo a pat from me. Like his master, he’s a much loved old dog too 😊

    Fond regards


    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Helvi when still living at home, was so keen on doing the dishes she used to snatch the plates away while her siblings were still eating. She wanted it to get out of the way.
      Yes, loading and unloading the dishwasher was akin to washing a car, mindlessly boring. Doing the dishes by hand is very satisfying and there is nothing like an uncluttered sink.
      I haven’t washed a car since the days of my first car dating back to 1959 or so. It was a Ford V8 Single spinner. I think I washed it twice. I waxed the leather seats, emptied the ashtray embedded somewhere on the middle console.
      Milo needs more walks now as well. I gave him your pat but I think he prefers a chicken-neck…


  5. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    I also prefer to wash dishes by hand. I think I do a much better job than the dishwasher!
    What I have gleaned from your blogs is that Helvi was a special person and now your memories of her are helping to sustain you in the grieving process. Your virtual friends are also thinking of you. I hope that’s some comfort. Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jane. Helvi was special in so many ways, especially in her being accepting of most people. She bore no grudges and was so positive. She gave me so much more than I gave her. Ours was special.
      Thank you so much for pointing out how special Helvi was.


  6. Curt Mekemson Says:

    First, Gerard, I’ve been missing lots of posts while traveling. I’m so sorry to have missed the post about Helvi’s passing. Please know my thoughts are with you, Milo and your family. Take care my friend. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  7. shoreacres Says:

    I certainly could keep you busy if you were here, Gerard. I’ve made the decision to move to a smaller (though nearby) apartment, and I’m deep in the throes of sorting and packing. Given your appreciation for washing dishes, you would be just the person to wash my antique china collection before I tuck it into boxes. I just can’t bring myself to put any of it in the dishwasher — they deserve better than that.

    One of the stories people liked to tell about my dad when the family storytellers still were around was that they would see him in the morning, hanging our my freshly laundered diapers before he went to work. Every time I think about that I laugh — but he never felt certain jobs were “women’s work.” Unfortunately, my mother didnt’ think it proper that a girl should do “boys’ work,” but Dad took care of that, too, and taught me how to use a hammer, how to change the oil in the car, and so on. The only thing he failed at completely was getting me to throw a ball properly. No matter what he tried, I still threw like a girl.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My dad certainly did not do any housework and things were always very tense when my mother was in hospital for either having another baby, or the numerous ailments she suffered during her life. Sometimes we had a relative or an aid helping out with the cooking.

      After arrival in Australia and while living in the cramped space of a garage ( temporary dwelling) my mother took ill again and was in hospital. We were given aid through the church but she used to go to the pub and drink a couple before getting back in time for us to get home from work or schools. She was often found snoring away in an alcohol daze.

      She still managed to cook a reasonable meal at times and dad wasn’t too cranky. We were told that drinking was a major part of Australian culture and we soon learnt to accept it as fairly normal…

      Helvi too, had a girl’s way of throwing a ball, very charming, I thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. rangewriter Says:

    Splendid, Gerard. Indeed, keep busy. Maybe you will learn to knit? And do keep on communicating with your world-wide audience about how you are coping with grief. Your posts are beautifully written and instructive. Every one of us will or has had to deal with grief. It’s helpful to know we are not alone in that and to share coping techniques.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I did learn to knit at my primary school in Holland or perhaps even earlier by my mother who even knitted our underwear when we were just very young.
      I can’t see many knitters in the train or waiting at the bus stop, doctor’s surgery.
      Most people are now staring at a little box while grazing or sipping sugary liquids.


      • rangewriter Says:

        Ha! Funny about the little box. Perhaps funnier to have knit skivvies! Ummm. That seems…weird? Desperate? I dunno. What one is not used to always seems weird, I suppose. 😉


  9. stuartbramhall Says:

    Thanks to the sexual revolution, men and boys have been liberated and they are now permitted (even encouraged) to knit:

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I believe the original knitters were sheep-herders while looking after flocks of sheep to while the time.
      Some time ago I noticed a man knitting while waiting for the train to arrive. He was well organised and had the yarn tucked away in a plastic bag from which he would occasionally pull up a metre or so. Helvi knitted in complete darkness and could also do all sorts of other handcrafts, lace work even. All taught by her mother.


  10. J.Chron.Ltt.&Sci. [JCR] Says:

    Reblogged this on Journey Chronicle in Letters and Science.


  11. freefall852 Says:

    Wishing the best of fortune for you Gerard in your patient recovery from the loss of Helvi..I can say nothing that hasn’t already been tossed about in your own mind…but can I leave you this small piece as a momento for what you have lost and for, I trust, the tranquility you will one day regain…

    “Three blows on the church bell meant a child, twice three a woman and thrice three a man. After a pause the years were counted out at approximately half-minute intervals. The word teller in some dialects becomes tailor, hence the old saying “Nine tailors maketh a man”…”

    The Day.

    I stare at the wet leaves
    Of the Camellia bush,
    In the patio..In the rain.
    As I take in with my eyes,
    I stir the cup of tea.
    The spoon chimes on the porcelain;
    I mind the strikes;
    “Nine tailors maketh a man”
    So much to see out in the patio.
    But nothing to absorb.
    Just the everyday…
    I will forget the vision,
    But will remember the peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Grief as they all say is good and necessary but oh my, if only… I can not fathom your pain but I can identify with it. Days and nights can be difficult to fill and if washing dishes gives you something to do- well then wash the dishes. However, I can well imagine that you have finished washing the dishes in a matter of minutes and then what? It is a good thing that you have little Milo since “they'” say that having a dog is the best way to attract kindred souls. Perhaps several trips a day to the dog park is in order. For a bit of advise, I would keep Milo on a leash since one never knows if some big lumbering kaloot of dog might come along and decide to make mince meat of Milo. I have heard of big dogs attacking little dogs and doing fatal harm. He has that terrier in him and he would put up a fight but he would not win.

    They say to never give a grieving person advice but I don’t see that is such a bad idea. If you can find the desire to stay busy perhaps you can find an after school program that needs a tutor to help a struggling youngster. This is merely a thought, mind you. There are so many ways to get busy and I really hope that you can find solace in some way through some activity that you can find enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I try and not sit down and do endless trips to the kitchen sink and the bin and back. Make the bed, after straightening the sheets, fluff the pillows. Go shopping at the slightest pretexts and walk with Milo. In the evening I have a shiraz or two and I sleep well. I have yet to try and watch TV which neither of us did much. We were happy to talk or just enjoy being together.
      I am now going to the library to see if there are any volunteering works going. I have started reading again, and right now returning to W G Sebald’s writings. A wonderful German writer who died well before his time.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. petspeopleandlife Says:

    That sounds good, Gerard. I am glad that you are making strides to lkeep busy.


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