Who We Are: Sewing Through Grief–Melissa’s Story

Trigger Warning: chronic illness, loss of a child, loss of family members. This is a “through post” that is under the author of Jacinta, but is written by a guest author, Melissa.

Grief touches us all, as it is part of the human condition. In this “Sewing Through Grief” series, we will be sharing stories from Sewcialists who have sewed through separation, death, illness, and recovery.


My brother Guy struggled all of his adult life with addiction. Guy’s abuse of alcohol took a heavy toll on his body, eventually leading to his death in midlife. His death was sudden and surprising (and not so surprising) to us all.

In the weeks and months that followed, I forced myself to complete my sewing commitments and tried to continue as usual. Too many times I found myself sitting at my machine in tears. Sewing wasn’t helping me through the grief, so it was time to take a break. I wanted to save sewing for a time when it could be fun and fulfilling again.

It’s been almost three years now and I cannot say things are back to the way they were. Very slowly I returned to my sewing room doing a project or two, committing to a deadline, or trying to participate sewcially. Even so, my gusto for sewing is diminished. These days it’s much harder for my excitement to get stirred up for a project, to feel that elation after accomplishing a technical feat, or to turn to my sewing room as my place of respite. Sewing is still my hobby, but no longer my happy place or therapy for the day’s ills. My life, my passions, and my priorities have adjusted as they naturally do through life and death, and I’ve come to be content with how that has changed my sewing too.

Melissa E learned the basics of sewing from her mother making a handful of simple items as part of a sewing curriculum in 4H. She let the seeds of sewing lie hibernating until her thirties when she made a skirt for a trip and sparked her love of sewing. She’s been sewing in earnest for herself and her son for the last seven years; focusing on learning new skills and building an all handmade wardrobe.  You can find Melissa at mahlicadesigns or on Instagram.