Storms and Loss

A wind storm with torrential rains has been battering the Pacific Northwest since the winds began picking up Saturday. Though the winds howl and we have to slosh through water once we leave the porch steps we are fortunate to be in an area that is somewhat sheltered from the worst winds. As the wind lashes and shakes the house and whip the trees I am grateful for the wind storm of November 12th :

We were ripped wide awake shortly after five that morning of the 12th as a huge part of one of our willow trees split away, shortly followed by the sound of our closest neighbor’s shingles flying off the roof, some hitting the side of our house by our bedroom. Next a long grinding shriek as part of their metal roof peeled off and winged into the backyard. At that we decided our bedroom was not a safe place.

broken-willow.jpgThe blackness of predawn cloaked all the damage until morning light showed our very tattered willows, with a section of the corner willow flattening two neighbors’ fences. (The neighbor behind us had wanted us to leave them alone when Ed had planned to remove them last summer; their family loved having them hang over the cedar fence and shading their yard.) The result of that windy morning is four willow trees no longer shedding and hurling branches in strong winds. Sad as it was to watch them cut down we rest much better for they’d grown too quickly and had never been strong trees.

A bit over a week ago Hillbilly Dave brought his years of know-how to dropping the willows safely. Every tree was trimmed then cut and dropped precisely where he planned. One tree needed some extra intervention to coax it into place.coming-down.jpg
We will miss the willows. But the garden will love the extra space and sunshine. A cedar and a fir tree had also struggled in the shadow of the willows and they’d been planted several years before the willow shoots had been thrust into the ground some 25 years ago. Now they should be able to grow and expand.

Our neighbor’s chickens are happy with the open access to our yard and compost pile.p1012550.jpg


The hairpin wrap is almost done. There are ends to weave in before blocking and drying.

A friend has been through one of the most difficult times a mother may face: the loss of a child. The wrap is insignificant in the face of her sorrow yet I hope it will bring a small measure of consolation. Much did I seek the ears of God as I worked on it asking that He wrap K in an enveloping comfort of His very real presence. At first I wanted to make it as quickly as possible but there wasn’t the time to let responsibilities slide. And I had the sense of a need to wait. Then I received a phone call; she wanted me and another friend of hers to play violins, along with two other co-workers from the library where we’d worked. The Service of Consolation took place Friday evening. The place was packed; people stood two deep along the walls in an effort to show the family they cared and that they too grieved the life of a bright, friendly young man who was plagued by endless rounds of deep depression. He reached the point where he felt he could no longer handle the mental fight and the lack of a normal life for a twenty year old.

He is in heaven: he leaned heavily on Jesus through the long teen years of mental illness. When he was able to he took deep comfort in reading his Bible and memorizing verses; in knowing that God was real and that God loved him just as he was. God was his anchor. Still, we can’t deny the heartbreaking tragedy (nor should we). We grieve that meds and intervention didn’t help. There are no easy answers in this fallen world. The grief is real. A life was cut short because of mental anguish that became unbearable.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

9 thoughts on “Storms and Loss”

  1. ….ya gotta love Hillbilly Dave….

    I’m so very sorry for your loss of that young man, more than mere words can express. Most of us have been where you are, if not where his mother is. Holding you all close in thought and prayer.
    You’re absolutely right, there are no easy answers…

  2. I am so glad that the willows did not actually hurt someone…close call!

    That is the first time I have seen hairpin lace in progress. Would you consider doing a step by step tutorial on the blog? Over several days of course. I am always tempted by lovely wooden tools, even when I don’t know how to use them!

    On the sadder note, that shawl is looking lovely, and I am sure that the young man’s mother will treasure it and the prayers behind it.

  3. I too, would love to see a tutorial on how you make the hairpin lace. Your story of the young man reminded me of a family I know who were in very similar circumstances, with a young son suffering from extreme depression. Unfortunately his doctor made a terrible mistake and advised him that he could go off his medication. It has been about 10 years since he died and his parents grieve for him every minute of the day.

  4. A bittersweet post….thank you for reminding me of the importance of getting to our prayer shawl ministry meeting tomorrow night. “holiday” craziness was tempting me away.

  5. I’m so glad that you are all safe during these storms and that the willows didn’t come down all by themselves!

    And I am so terribly sorry to hear of your loss, and of the devastating loss of your friend. I am glad that your whole community will be around her now, and that your shawl will quite literally surround her with loving thoughts and prayers. Please offer her my condolences, from a stranger who is also a mother.

  6. Sharing the grief and pain, dear heart, and smiling through the sadness at the beauty of the hairpin lace. Such gestures help all of us.

    We’re getting your storms too and I’m looking worriedly at our own trees.

  7. Wow, FiberJoy…. I started out interested, found myself involved, and ended up gripped, riveted. What a wide section of life and lives encompasses in this one post. I sent up a prayer for your friend. The hairpin-lace wrap is lovely.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. The person I found at the end of the link turned out to be very different from the one I imagined and I am glad to have found you! My husband and I like bluegrass and Irish music; my mother and son both play country-bluegrass fiddle (now and then I try to…); I love hiking and backpacking and I share your Christian faith. Thank you for introducing yourself!

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