Shock, Sadness, Fear … Thinking About You Wink (A Creative Being)

crochet hero

Join the #MandalasForMarinke project

I am sitting here stunned, shocked, saddened, scared … Feeling a world’s worth of emotions that don’t have a proper place in my brain. Marinke, known to many as Wink, of A Creative Being, has succumbed to the depths of depression and taken her own life.

crochet mandala

I first met Wink when I interviewed her for Crochet Saved My Life. She shared her story with me of living on the autism spectrum and how tough it was to make her way in the world with the social awkwardness that it caused. She shared the depression that she went through post-diagnosis, how it caused her to be hospitalized and how crochet was one of the things that helped her to heal.

crochet bag

I didn’t know her personally, in the real world, but I communicated with her many times over the years through various online channels. I was proud and cheered her on as I watched her world expand because of crochet. I know that the craft brought a brightness to her life despite continued dark days.

rainbow crochet mandala

I watched as she became the first presence online to really develop and celebrate the crochet mandala. Before Wink, there were only a few of these designs available to us. She really brought that design into the forefront, publishing patterns on her site and eventually getting them placed into magazines.

crochet mandala

It was beautiful to see this journey, her creations so filled with color and intensity and vibrancy and joy and how those designs touched so many lives and really sparked the growth of an area of our craft.

sheepjes cal

I watched last year as she created the first Sheepjes CAL. This crochet-a-long brought so many people together to create beautiful works of art. She helped strengthen our community in this way and inspired people in ways both big and small. I cheered silently for her as she developed her work into crochet books to reach an even wider audience. She began with Boho Crochet: 30 Hip and Happy Projects and later this year we’ll see the release of her second book, Crochet Mandalas.

crochet mandalas

Just a week or so ago I named Wink one of 5 Awesome Crochet Designers. When I did that, I looked back on her work as it’s been shared here on my blog. How each December when I did my Awesome Crochet Blog Awards I’d recognized her – for her Sheepjes CAL, her awesome crochet giveaways, her weekly mandala project.

crochet potholders pattern

Last week, I heard from Flo who asked if I’d seen the post from Wink saying that she was back in depression. I immediately checked it out and felt my heart skip a beat. I sent her an email, telling her that it sounded like she was doing the right things, getting back to the basics of self-care. I said she should reach out if she needed anything. I don’t know if she read that email.

crochet coaster pattern

Her little sister posted saying that Wink hadn’t survived this struggle with depression. She writes:

“It’s funny because when Wink started crocheting she got all her friends and family addicted. During her stay at the hospital even other patients started crocheting and some of them even bought her book! But not me, it just wasn’t something for me to do. I said; “When we get a baby you can crochet a pair of socks or a stuffed animal. But that’s the only crocheted thing in our house!” Last Christmas she gave me a ‘how to crochet’ book, yarn and some hooks. I tried it, I made a square! But that was all. Now, I can’t wait to hang one of her Mandala’s on my wall. It’s Wink! Sadly this had to happen to make me do that.”

crochet shrug free pattern

Her sister’s post is touching and lovely and makes me think of Wink. It shares hard news while celebrating Wink’s accomplishments and relationships, bringing us both sadness and a sense of humor. And it acknowledges the reach that Wink had across this huge community. You can see this in the many loving, shocked comments that people have already posted over on that blog.

crochet squares purse

I don’t know how to describe what I am feeling today. In 2009, I was inches away from taking my own life. I have gotten “better” but I believe that depression is a lifelong condition and although I’m currently in remission it could return at any time. (I recently wrote about this on Diary of a Smart Chick.)

drops of joy crochet pattern

Wink’s suicide makes me feel so many things and I have to acknowledge that one of them is fear. Fear that this could happen to anyone I know, anyone else who shared their story in my book, anyone else who I know has been through depression, anyone else like me. Wink, on the surface, seemed to be doing great. She has a loving family, a boyfriend, a huge online community that is so inspired by her … and depression still came back and it got her.

crochet mandala

I feel like I’m doing all of the right things and yet depression always lurks just around the corner, creating this constant low level hum of anxiety in me. No matter how many books I publish, how many people I connect with online and in person, how much love I have in my life, how right I eat or how properly scheduled my life is or how balanced I keep things, depression can come back.

crochet mandala

It’s scary. It’s sad.

intro-teacup-pattern_medium

When I read the news this morning, so many emotions coursed through me. I immediately reached out to talk to my mom, my dad, my beaux, my school friends. I realized in the midst of one of those conversations that what was happening was that my brain was trying to make sense of where this fits in my own life. The brain sees patterns and tries to put things into their place. And it doesn’t have a place for this. Wink was my friend but I didn’t really know her. She shared some of her deepest truths with me in our interview and yet we never met in person. She had so many similarities to me and yet she was very different from me. My brain wondered if she had received my email and if there was more that I could have done to help and then immediately chastised itself because all of my personal and academic knowledge says that this is precisely how everyone reacts and there usually isn’t anything more we could have done. It’s not about us. It’s not about me. And yet it’s deeply affecting me.

rainbow crochet mandala

I’m sad, but not in the kind of way where I need to cry (yet?). I’m feeling so much empathy and compassion for her family and friends. I’m feeling a huge connection to my crochet community and wanting to reach out to each of you because I know that this news might affect some of you in various ways as well. I want to do something for Wink, in Wink’s honor, something related to crochet. I don’t know what yet. This news is too new for me to process it. But I’m thinking that we can do something collaborative, perhaps creating mandalas in her honor to be placed somewhere. I’ll organize something soon, something that can bring us together and give us a channel for our feelings and honor the amazing, wonderful, creative, special woman that Wink was. UPDATE: The project has been established. It’s called #MandalasForMarinke. Read about it here. You’ll find FAQ here. Please share!

tunisian crochet skinny scarf free pattern 2

Back in 2013, Wink named me as one of her crochet heroes. No, Wink, you are the hero. I am so, so sorry that depression grasped you and pulled you under. I hope that in the years since your diagnosis you had more good days than bad. I hope that you realized, at least some of the time, the stunning reach that you had to inspire people across the globe with the beauty of your crafting.

All photos are works from Wink, previously published on this blog with her permission. Many of them are patterns that you can get free or purchase through her blog or Ravelry.

I have created a topic in her memory on Crochet Saved My Life’s Ravelry group. Please feel free to join and comment in any way that you need to. I want this to be a safe space where we can connect around the topics of depression and suicide. I am personally feeling adrift and in need of connection around this.

Kathryn

San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!

194 Comments:

  1. Ah, Kathryn. You say it all.

      • Kathryn, Thank you for putting into words the feelings and fears I have had since hearing of Wink’s passing. I have been dealing with depression for a long time, longer than I realized. I understand how someone can get to the point that Wink did. It is just so hard and tiring to fight against depression every day. I am glad she found solace in crochet. I know I do. I never realized how much I depended upon crocheting until people started mentioning it. My sister had knew it for a long time, but never really brought it up to me.
        thank you, for letting us into your life like this. I feel better knowing there are people out in cyber world that share this connection.

        • Thank you for your message. I am so sorry that you also struggle with depression. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself daily, practicing good self-care, using your crochet to help you, reaching out for support from your community. If you need extra help, get it, and remember that as dark as things can seem sometimes (I know that darkness) there is hope and you can get through to the other side. HUGS.

    • Kathryn, you have voiced so many of my own thoughts and concerns. When I hit a very bad spot over Christmas, I remembered your words and the fact that you dragged yourself away from feeling that way, and it helped me.

      This whole thing with Wink has scared me, because she couldn’t drag herself back from it and I am terrified that I might one day get to that point too. You understand how sudden and catastrophic “mood swings” can be when you live with depression, even on medication.

      Thank you for writing this beautiful post, and for acknowledging your fears (which are mine too).

      Dedri

      • Thank you so much for sharing this Dedri. I really wondered as I wrote the post whether it was going to sound too self-indulgent, whether I should really write it. But I chose to because I know that we all have so many similar fears and feelings and darknesses and that it helps to bring them out into the light.

        I really appreciate that you commented. So much love your way. Reach out anytime you need a hand!

    • Bethany/yarnorgy

      Beautifully expressed. Thank-You for putting voice to many of our feelings and fears. (a fellow depression survivor and crocheter/knitter)

  2. Oh my gosh – I am so sorry to hear this! I loved reading her blog. My condolences to her family.

    • Thank you for your comment Debi. I can’t describe how it’s helped me today to have this circle of people comment and share this loss. I send so much love to her family as well.

  3. Oh Kathryn, such a beautifully written and heartfelt post on a very sad day. xx

  4. Oh, Kathryn, what a lovely post. You said exactly what my heart has been trying to put into words since I read Tinc’s post. I, too, struggle with daily depression and feel what you’re feeling now. Poor Wink. She was so beautiful and talented. I would love to make something in her honor and was trying to figure out what. I know she loved bright colors and making the world a more beautiful place. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Blessings.

    • Thank you for your message. I wasn’t sure if what I was writing would reach anyone and it’s so good for me to know that it has. Wink’s work meant so much to me.

      The #MandalasForMarinke project has now been started. The post is up on the blog telling all about the project.

  5. Very sweet post. You nailed it all and I couldn’t have found all these words… I’m so sad… Wink, or Twink as I called her, was a wonderful soul. So generous and caring. It is a great loss for our community. Thank you for your lovely words in her memory.
    Xxx

  6. Dear Kathryn, I noticed your comment on Wink’s blog and that’s how I ended up reading this blog post as well. Just like everyone that heard the news I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that behind this bright and happy blog there somewhere was a dark place where Wink was hiding every now and then. It must have been so hard for her. She must have felt so lonely. Having read your blog post and thinking of her and her loneliness and the fear that you feel after reading the news about Wink it really makes me want to give you a huge hug. We really should do something all together to remember Wink. If you organize something, I would love to be involved. Let me know if there’s anything I can do. Hugs from The Netherlands, Annemarie

    • Thank you so much for your message. It’s really helped me so much this morning to exchange thoughts and comments with my online crochet community. Depression is such a dark thing. You’ve really nailed what I was feeling with knowing that she was presenting this great image, probably because she really was trying hard to hang on to happiness, and yet underneath was that pain. Big hugs your way.

      The crochet project has now been organized under the name #MandalasForMarinke and I’ve posted about it on the blog.

    • I’ve just made a mandala and I’ll send it to you today. So lovely of you to do this. Thank you Kathryn, for offering us a way to share our grief.

  7. Oh, Kathryn, that’s hard. I’m so sorry.

  8. Pingback: #MandalasForMarinke: Crochet Project In Memory of Wink from A Creative Being |

  9. Thank you so much for the gentle, open and tender way you shared this. I have been deeply moved and thankful for your care – My husband, Buz Collins, took his own life 13 years ago. Crochet holds an affectionate, honoured place in my heart as part of my Healing Journey through Creativity. It will be a privilege to participate in a creative project in memory of Wink, to become a magnificent thread in my continuing Grief Walk. I am now trained to share suicide intervention skills within communities and would encourage anyone who is inspired to know more about how to recognise and help people who may be having thoughts of suicide, to search for ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) – available in many countries, delivered by skilled Living Works trainers. I am presently a student of the College of Sound Healing and would love to offer sacred song – perhaps a specially written Mantra, to collaborate in this project.
    once again, deep gratitude. i will sing the song of sadness and compassion tonight – may you feel the vibrations in the roots of trees; in the chatter of the babbling brook; in the whorls and swirls of the wind and the crackle of the fire. A-ho x

    • Thanks for reaching out April. I am so sorry about the loss of your husband. What a difficult thing to go through. I’m so glad that you found crochet to help you through it (among other things and support, I’m sure). It sounds like you are really giving back in the ways that you can, which is so special. I’d love to incorporate your sacred song into the project (called #MandalasForMarinke) and will email you shortly about that. HUGS.

  10. What a touching tribute. I just knew A Creative Being from the web. I didn’t even know she went by “Wink”. But the news saddened and hurt me. Suicide always hurts others who were touched by them in any little way. She touched me with her work and inspiration in crochet. How much more did she touch others? Her sister will always have her in the back of her mind. Even the check-out girl at the grocery store will be saddened by the news. Depression is real and it hurts but it is not forever. It comes and goes, their are the highs and the lows but it’s not forever. Suicide IS forever.

    • This is such an important point. We do not know the impact that we have on people. Suicide has a terrible ripple effect. In fact, suicides often happen in clusters because of that impact.

      Wink touched so many lives. Although we are tragically impacted by her loss, I am so glad that we were also impacted by the beauty of her creativity.

  11. This saddens me and my heart is heavy even though I did not know her. Crochet helps keep my depression episodes at bay, I know many crocheters and knitters have mental health issues. The work we do and the community we belong to help keep us focused and positive (as much as we can be). At least it does for me. Blessings to Marinka’s spirit. I hope she finds the peace that alluded her here on earth.

  12. Thank you for posting such well written words about Marinke. She obviously had such a beautiful soul as seen through her creative works. Such sadness that she was in such a dark place and we won’t be able to witness her talents anymore. With the internet/instagram/facebook world, we all “know” of each other, but not really. It’s interesting to process such grief for someone I only “knew” thru the internet, admiring her quirkiness and creativity. Thank you for your words and sense of community with your idea for a collaborative art project to honor her by including those she inspired.

    • Thank you so much Lisa. I am definitely struggling with this too – this weird feeling of having grief over the loss of someone I didn’t know in person but knew so well online. It’s a strange experience and one I don’t think that we know quite how to handle yet since it’s relatively new to our world. I hope that the art project will be a way that people can channel their own grief and other feelings and honor Wink at the same time. HUGS.

      • Kathryn,
        Is there a way to access her obituary? Do they publish them in the Netherlands? I like reading the summary of people’s life story. I watched her you tube videos and she mentioned doing an art project with all of the mandalas she made. Love that you are coordinating this with the crochet community. I’m a very novice crocheter, but plan on attempting to join in on the project. Hugs to you!

  13. This is such a beautiful tribute to Wink. She will be greatly missed. I am so saddened by her loss.

  14. I hate to here this depression is a reality. A reality that can cause us to do thing we would not normally do. Stress is also another issue that causes reactions unexpected. During my younger years I would have argued that neither existed, unless caused by medical conditions. Let me share with you today that that is not true. The brain becomes overloaded and can not handle more, so you have these problems. I am sorry that Wink took her life, I know it is extremely hard on her family. I will close praying for her family and for others who suffer from these disabilities. God bless.

  15. I have crocheted for years and somehow never heard of Wink before today. It saddens me to know depression has stole another amazing talented soul. While I too am in my own battle with depression, and I am the same age as Wink, I feel the need to help keep her memory and beautiful work alive and help bring awareness to depression.

  16. Those of us that suffer from depression know that scary hole off in the distance that keeps pulling on us. It’s so difficult for people who haven’t had depression to understand that it’s not just about “getting out more” or whatever. I’m so sad to hear about Wink. Praying for everyone affected.

    • It’s such a hard thing to explain, even when you’ve been through it. When it doesn’t have a hold on me, I can’t really remember why things seemed so awful or how to describe it to people. Then when it’s there, it’s grip is so hard.

      Thank you for your comment. Your prayers mean a lot.

  17. This breaks my heart. Whenever I hear that someone has committed suicide, my first thought is always ‘did he/she suffer from depression?’. Sadly, almost always the answer is yes. And that terrifies me. I’ve suffered from severe depression (medicated) for over 15 years. Probably longer still before it was diagnosed. And I know that when this monster comes calling, it’s not always possible not to answer that door. No matter how strong you are, and how large your support system may be, it’s not always enough.

    My heart goes out to her family. All I can say is there is NOTHING anyone could have done to stop her. There are no magic words that would have made her better. Take comfort that you were there for her. She was a wonderful woman, and she will always hold a place in the hearts of everyone she touched.

    • I’m glad that you made that point. I think it’s natural for anyone who was even remotely connected to the person who committed suicide to wonder if there was more that they could have done, even if we know that there was not. Thank you for sharing your smart words. I’m sorry that you’ve struggled for so long with depression (as I have too) and really wish you so much support on your own journey.

  18. Kathryn, what a beautiful tribute to Wink and informative words about how depression and mental health issues can affect any of us. Like many crocheters, I was inspired by Wink’s work and loved her bubbly, caring personality…only as an online acquaintance. I had no idea that behind that smile she was suffering so much and I am so sad that she indeed was in the depths of despair. I believe she is at peace now so my prayers are for her family who obviously must be devastated. I have battled depression and appear a bubbly person, so I have some understanding of Wink’s efforts to beat the darkness….Wink’s sudden passing makes us realise just how delicate and precious life is and how we need to look out for each other, but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Wink has brought the crochet community together and she won’t be forgotten. Thank you for organising the mandela project in her memory. xxx

  19. God Bless you lovely ladies. I turned to crochet to help myself through depression which still lingers, but having something so beautiful and productive to look forward to has been such a wonderful thing. Having so many online friends in common has been a blessing. I have many years on you, so I understand the ups and downs. May your hearts stay light and keep the line of communication between/among yourselves when you feel the dread starting to creep up on you. Don’t allow it to ruin your lives. We love and need you.

    My heart goes out to Marinke’s family and friends.

  20. ….impacted me knowing it, ..the depression must be addressed... We do not heal forever, I lived it , you feel a pain, but not identify where, I was medicated and discharged, subject to be always attentive…for my tissue occupies a very important part in my life... rests Marinke…

  21. the ‘thing’ we were never allowed to say we felt.
    i struggled all day with the sadness her leaving created
    but it was more it was deeper and there were no words to accurately describe it until I read your blog.
    you gave voice to the fear
    to the reality that not talking about it or admitting that we/i battle that that it won’t be real.
    thank you
    your words brought light in to the dark place i carried today.

    • Thank you Lyn. I’m glad that my words were able to help in some way. It was a little scary to write them and to wonder how people would respond but I took the chance because I do know that the things I feel inside are often felt elsewhere and unsaid. HUGS your way.

  22. I’m so sorry this happened.
    It’s actually all the more shocking for me because I recently crocheted a bag that she designed, and all the while I couldn’t help thinking how beautiful it was and how wonderful and creative the person who designed it must be. I had never heard of her before then. Then today I decided to do some research on her and find something so heartbreaking.
    I hope her family and friends are coping well, and I’m deeply sorry this happened.
    Thank you for this heartfelt post.

    • Thank you for your message Luna. I’m so sorry that you discovered the news about Wink in such a shocking way. Her work has inspired so many people and I hope it will continue to do so for a long, long time. HUGS.

  23. Sadder than sad … and also but for the grace of … go I.

    My heartfelt condolences to Marinke’s loved ones and to those who loved her.

    Gentle as you go,
    Marny

  24. My heart goes out to you. I suffered depression for 7 years and have been free of it for 7. I know I could not have gone through it, intact, without the support of my daughter and my new found faith. Seven years on I am aware I have walked on the brink of becoming ill again on many occasions but by the Grace of God I have not. However, I know many who are ill but not living in fear. Depression is an evil illness, it steals lives…the years lost to the illness, not to mention what else is lost. However there is hope and in that hope there is no fear.

    • Thank you so much for your powerful message. I’m so sorry that you suffered with depression for so long and so, so glad that you’ve found a way through to the other side. It’s an inspiration. HUGS.

  25. dear Kathryn,
    I’m from the Netherlands and my English is not very well. Not good enough to express all the feelings I feel since I heard the news. Thank you very very much for do that for me (I believe for all of us).
    I didn’t know Marinke in person, but I got strength by just looking at her beautiful, colorful designs. Like her I use happy colors to push away my emotions. I always feel connected with the group on internet and the people there who crochet their way trough live (do you understand what I want to say?) And now… I’m sitting here, in tears, and I want to thank you again for writing down everything I feel.
    Later this day, when I’m home from work, I will crochet a lot of Wink’s mandala’s and hang them all over the city I live, as a tribute, not only for Marinke, but for all of you.
    lots of love, Nicky

    • Thank you Nicky. That’s a wonderful way to celebrate Wink’s work. Feel free to send one or more along to the #MandalasForMarinke project, too, if that’s something that interests you. I’ll be sharing them to raise awareness about depression. So glad that you sent your message and really feeling connected to your words. HUGS.

  26. Dear Kathryn,
    I only recently came across your site and Marinke’s through Lookatwhatimade website, while googling “Sophies Universe CAL. This crochet community does feel like a real family and I just wanted to say although I haven’t been on here long I feel your loss and am sending love and thoughts to Marinke’s family and you all too.
    Kind Regards
    Jeanne

    • Thank you Jeanne. I loved the Sophie project that Dedri did at LookAtWhatIMade and was happy to be able to share the work that one of the participants, Flo, did on that project. I love our community so much. Really appreciating your message.

  27. Such sad news – so many people are affected by depression, and it is so little understood. I have made lots of mandalas, inspired by all the beautiful work online, but my own designs. Can I send some of these?

    • Yes, I’d be happy to take the mandalas that you’ve already created using your own designs. Send them along! They will be used in the project to help raise awareness about depression!!! <3

  28. Hi Kathryn, I didn’t know Wink but you have written a beautiful post about someone who sounds like a beautiful, creative soul. I would really like to be involved in the Mandala project as I think it is a very fitting way to remember and promote the role that crochet has in helping many of us through difficult times and calming those noisy, destructive thoughts. Many thanks, Mary x

    • Thank you so much Mary. Your contribution will be welcomed! I am glad that I’m able to continue letting people know about Wink’s amazing work even though she’s not here anymore. HUGS.

  29. Learning about Wink’s death was a shock. All the more, I thank you for a heartfelt post Kathryn. I have read (and reread) every word you wrote and every single comment underneath.
    And for all that heartache, shock, and fear there is so much tenderness, love, and support among all of you that I am deeply grateful to be part of this community.
    Hugs, Carina.

  30. Thank you for sharing. She was a dear girl and a friend to me and many people she never met. She will be deeply missed. I will participate in the memorial Mandala project gladly. In honor of my crochet friend Marinke.

  31. That’s exactly it, fear. You expressed exactly what I’m feeling since I read her sister’s post yesterday. I came across Wink through her testimony on Crochet Saved My Life and it made me feel happy to know I wasn’t alone. I’m going to force my wrapped wrist in a mandala for Wink and see if I can process this. Can’t wait for the new hooks. Must do this now. Thank you for organizing it.

    Hugs,
    Gillie

    • Thanks Gillie,

      I really appreciate your message and want you to know that you are still not alone. We are here as a community and I am here personally if you ever want to reach out. Huge hugs your way.

  32. I’ve left my message over at Wink’s website, so over here I just want to comment over your message.

    You say “I’m feeling a huge connection to my crochet community and wanting to reach out to each of you because I know that this news might affect some of you in various ways as well. “ and it’s just how I feel too.

    Let’s hold ourselves together, let’s celebrate each other and the wonderful, close, community we are. For every comment, Like, Heart, Follow… I leave around, please know that you all are affecting my life beautifully and giving me endless joy. Thank you!

    Love & Light

  33. Mieke Jansen-Kuite

    Wow…this is so beautiful, so touching! As one of her non-crocheting friends I did not share her beautiful life-saving craft, but I applauded it and watched as her unwavering creativity took flight in this world and saw her star rise and rise! I saw how much she meant to so many people and what it meant to her, and I am so so proud!!
    The world lost a colourful beautiful creative extremely talented human being, but at least we know what the next life (whatever that means to whomever reads this) is covered in rich-coloured crocheted mandalas, blankets and decorations! It’s gonna be an even lovelier place because she’s there! And you know she’s teaching everyone up there how to do it 😉
    I hope you find a good place for this loss and thanks for this beautiful article! Loved to read it!

    • Thank you so much for your message Mieke. I am so sad for your loss. I loved watching her work grow and grow and know that she has inspired so many, many people with it – those who crochet and those who do not. HUGS. <3

  34. Thank you for this beautiful post. You’ve put into words the whirl-wind of emotions I feel too. May Wink’s soul rest in peace. Her cyber presence will be sorely missed!

  35. What a touching and beautiful tribute. Thank you for highlighting Wink’s work, triumphs, and struggle with depression (and your own). As someone who is relatively new to crochet, I had not yet gotten to Wink’s designs and story. She seemed such a bright spirit. I had no idea what a mandala was but I am looking into doing the project for Marinke.

  36. This whole thing is surreal. About eight years ago, I lost a co-worker to suicide only a couple of months after seriously considering my own. I knew him. I didn’t know Wink and yet, everything I feel is the same. All of the questions that will never have answers, the emotions that you think are foreign at a time like this, and the constant “what if’s”. Everything you said above is so spot-on true that it’s like you stole the words right off of my tongue. Depression (which it seems so many of us in this community are personally affected by) is a horrible and all-consuming force. I loathe it and power that it can have.

    Thank you for what you wrote and for gathering us together in such a Wink type of way.

    Let’s shine Wink’s light to the world.

    • Thank you for your message. It’s strange to experience this loss of someone we don’t “know” and yet know well in so many ways. As you’ve said, the impact is, at least in some ways, the same as the impact if it’s someone we know in person. So many of us are reeling for grief. I appreciate every message that brings this community together. HUGS <3

  37. Sharon Stradley

    What a wonderful tribute you have paid to Wink. I knew her only by her beautiful designs , many of which I have used, purchased, or pinned to Pinterest. I am so deeply saddened that Depression has taken yet another gifted and talented person. I applaud her for the battle that she fought! If you have never had Depression, consider yourself very blessed…it is HELL on Earth! I have started my mandala, and will feel honored to send it in to the project. God Bless You and Wink!

  38. Hearing of Wink’s passing has affected me as well–she really did touch so many people! I had no contact with her directly, but followed her blog and thought she was just such a “cool” person. I also have depression/anxiety, which is right now “thankfully’ controlled with medication and change of lifestyle but every day is a struggle to get out of bed and get going–once I get out of bed I’m usually “ok”. I have been a crocheter for 20+ years and I completely understand the idea of “crochet (knitting, art, creativity) saved my life”. I don’t know what I would be like if I didn’t have creative outlets…Thank you so much for this post and I am going to participate in the Mandala project you are doing. Thank you sooo much for doing this!! I am inspired to get back on my blog–which I have put on hold for over 2 years when I had a very hard setback with my mental health. I have been unable to feel like I have anything to contribute to the world…maybe I do…Also, I want to just reach out about a project I heard about recently “the semi-colon project” I am getting a semi-colon tattoo this week actually. The semi-colon being the symbol where an author could choose to “end the sentence” but instead chooses not to. The project is specific to suicide and prevention…Thanks again!!

    • Thank you for writing in. I’m so glad to hear that this might have inspired you in your creativity again. It can feel so hard to get motivated to craft just for ourselves but much easier when it’s part of a community project. I love participating in collaborative projects myself for that reason and am hoping that this one is helpful for many people. Every single thing that you make or say does have an impact on the world even if you aren’t sure that it does. HUGS <3

      PS - Someone else just mentioned the semi-colon project, too. I hadn't heard of it until now. Looks great!

  39. I sit here with tears running down my face in sadness for Wink and her family.
    I pray that anyone who is suffering from depression or anyone who is considers suicide will please reach out.

    I know this must have hit you hard Kathryn giant hugs

  40. I began crocheting again last year in part to find a way back to creation and beauty after two years of trying to support my daughter as she tried to work her way through a serious mood disorder. After suffering for three months with catatonic depression, my daughter was finally diagnosed at 16 & 1/2 with Bipolar II. Things seemed to get better for a while, and we wanted to believe they were better, but she was never able to find stability. The depression is so bad, that she has a hard time seeing the danger of mania, and often courts it. This march, at our wits end, we sent her to an amazing program in the wilderness, and with almost 24/7 therapy, in the wild with the most compassionate and knowledgeable care staff I’ve ever seen she made great strides- and she didn’t want to leave. But she couldn’t stay cloistered in the wild forever.

    She’s 18 now, in a transitional program for young adults. She is still fighting depression, and a burning desire to self-medicate her way into mania to escape her feelings. The suicidal ideation seems to be in remission, but I am afraid every day. Your blog, and your success in your battle against depression have been one of the things I’ve held to for hope and therapy during this time.

    When I got the email from Wink’s sister, I came to your blog- I guess because I felt you were a comrade in this battle, though you’re on the front lines and I’m farther back. My heart breaks for the loss of her light, for the loss her parents, siblings and beaux will carry for the rest of their lives, and for fear this foreshadows a similar loss for us.

    Thank you for organizing this project, and speaking this truth so well and so constantly. I’ll be sending you a Mandala, for Wink and for Kate.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story and your struggles here with us today. Every voice is so important in raising awareness about the issues associated with depression and related mental health issues. I’m so sorry for what your daughter has gone through and so glad that she has found the right types of programs to support her as much as possible. I’ve heard amazing things about wilderness therapy from people who do it. I’m currently volunteering doing animal assisted therapy which is in the same field and I’ve seen first hand the benefits that it brings to people. Wishing you so much positive energy on your ongoing journey. Reach out anytime. <3

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  42. It’s so hard to see so many people suffering. Depression is so difficult because not everyone shows their feelings. I know myself that when someone asks how are you doing I answer fine even when I’m not. I applaud those who reach out,anytime I can help out my friend I am here for you hugs and LOVE to you Katherine and all. That Wink has touched . God Bless and love to all

    • It can definitely be really difficult to reach out when you are in need. And then the longer you go without reaching out, the harder it can feel. It’s so important to do it, though, and to be there (when you can) for people who do reach out. <3

  43. Georgia Beckman

    God bless you for your beautiful tribute to Wink. As a fellow sufferer of depression, my heart goes out to you. I also am in remission; I’m in a good place right now. Please know, I will be praying for you. Praying that you stay in a safe place & can find the strength & peace to keep putting one foot in front of the other. <3

  44. Thank you for all you do — this post being just another of the many ways in which you console, minister and do the necessary work of healing. What frightens is when someone who beams so brightly, who transmits joy, who inspires, is actually in the dark and struggling. What promises should we exact from ourselves and each other not to go there — the place from which we cannot return? There is the fear of a symmetry that suggests that success must be met with loss, that the rainbow is followed by rain. And if we let go of symmetry and leap for sheer joy, what if we don’t land? Then we must grow wings and fly. So thank you for grappling with this, for thinking out loud, for affirming the struggle that doesn’t end, but does get easier with wing-building tools.

  45. oh Kathryn. You honor her in a lovely way. I wish i have more english skills to express my feeling. :'(
    I’ll pray for your comfort! Big hugs @corazonalsol

  46. Hi Kathryn, I just saw this…catching up with posts from the past few days. This is completely heartbreaking. I too struggle with depression and it pains me to think of how she must have been feeling to do this. I will be sending a mandala to your project. It shows how important what you do is, Kathryn. You’re real, brave and bring together such an awesome community of people here. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. It’s tragic.
    Love, Cari

    • Thank you for your message Cari. I wondered how you’ve been doing, thinking about you often as I was posting in the Ravelry group. Thank you for all you’ve done for me including this lovely message of yours. Hugs. <3

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  49. Bless you, Kathryn, for posting this amazing tribute to our Wink. Her suicide makes the tenth one that I know of in the last several months. The epidemic grows each day and as so many commented above me “all we can do is support our people and love them as best we are able.” Depression gets so many.

    Each suicide is a Bombshell that destroys so much in its path. Please don’t let this one bring you down too. We must stay strong and try to make it thru-one day, one hour, sometimes one minute at a time. Feel the hugs and the love flowing thruout the blogosphere over Wink’s death.

    May each step we take lead the way to Peace.

    • I am so, so sad to hear that suicide has been touching the edges of your life in such a prevalent way. Make sure that you keep taking care of yourself. And thanks for the reminder that I do the same here. Huge huge your way.

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  51. The mandala projects is a lovely tribute to a beautiful life. I think we all walk the tight rope at times in our lives never knowing what is going to tip the balance one way or the other. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thank you for honoring Wink

  52. Your beautiful words touched me greatly. Thank you for taking the time to write so beautifully what so many of us are feeling. I was sitting at the computer trying to read your words through my tears when my husband walked in. He stood beside me with his hand on my shoulder and listened while I read to him.
    Our loving son-in-law took his own life and left a void in our family and my youngest nephew also lost the fight against depression. I am on medication myself and can relate to this illness. Marinke came into our world, shared her talents, touched our hearts and then left us….but she will never be forgotten. Thank you Marineke – rest in peace now.

    • I am so sorry to hear that you lost your son-in-law this way. It’s a tragic, tragic thing. I imagine that each time someone else in your life, even your online life, loses the battle with suicide that it impacts you again in that same place in your heart. I am so glad that I was able to write something that you could resonate with. Knowing that makes me feel less alone in it all. Huge hugs for your message.

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  55. Thank you Kathryn for your post.
    I only really got to know Marinke during CAL 2014. I got in touch with Marinke after there were negative comments on the CAL. Since then we spoke frequently via messenger or Skype. Over the last couple of months this was a daily chat. I last spoke with Marinke last Thursday.
    Your post was beautiful. I told Marinke she was my Crochet Queen, my hero.
    I cannot believe that she has gone.
    Nicola x

    • Thanks for your message Nicola. I am so sorry for the hole that Wink’s suicide has likely left in your life. I’m glad, though, that you were able to connect with her recently and to let her know that she was a hero to you. So many hugs your way. <3

  56. What a loss to the crochet community, she was such a wonderful person. I had often wished I had met her in person not just through her blog.

    Depression is such an ugly thing, but more and more its becoming recognized as a true disease by the medical community. I have several friends who have PTSD, depression and bi polar depression. I feel very lucky to know them and be there for them.

    Bless each and everyone who suffers from Depression; may they find help they need before they do the tragic things in life.

  57. Hours before I read your post, I posted one of my own. Your eloquence is admirable, and you stated everything so much better than I ever could have. I had never read her blog before tonight, but I had seen some of Wink’s work. There is a palpable hole in the crochet world.

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  60. Hi Kathryn, I too was very shocked and saddened by the news of Winks death. I wrote a post on Instagram/ trillspatch. I have lived with a depressive disorder for 30 odd years. Now 67 I can look back with thanksgiving that I had amazing help and support through many ordeals. It is so important to have the best help possible and not yo be afraid of taking necessary meds, and to enjoy the better quality of life they can offer. I will look into the other sites you mention. Crochet is great therapy. See my mandala on IG. Love Trills xx

    • I am so glad that you were able to get that support that you needed through all of those years. I was afraid of meds for a really long time and when I finally took them realized that for me they have a huge positive impact on my ability to function and thrive in the world. <3

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  64. Thank you for the wonderful heartfelt tribute to Wink. It tears me up to know that depression came back and took her. Just a few days ago (7/2/15) I contemplated doing what she did. Fortunately I had an appointment with my psychiatrist the next morning and she adjusted my meds. Not that I feel much improvement yet, but what I do feel is hope. How I wish that I could give her that hope. Sad, sad, sad what depression can do to a person’s being. Wink is missed so very much.

    • I’m so glad that you had your appointment with your psychiatrist. Make sure that you are practicing good self-care, reaching out to people as needed, letting others know that you are feeling this way and searching for hope. Huge hugs your way. <3

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  97. Kathryn want you post really it home because I have been dealing with depression for a very long time I have try to comment suicide about 14 times because I felt that is want I should do I have talked to a lot of doctors a they have put me on meds but it seem to work for awhile and then it started over again they told my mom I was a very highly depressed it has really took a tow on me for awhile now because my brother just died 8 months now and they said he took a accidale over dose of morphine. I have been crocheting a lot to keep think about stuff I want to say a prayer for every one that is dealing with depression before you do anything just call someone and talk to them. Kathryn I like to join in with you guys that are make them things for Wink I have never meet her but I came across this page and I felt the way she did so I would like to join you all if you tell me how to do it. My real name is Elizabeth but every one calls me Liz
    Hugs to all
    Liz

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  112. Depression is an all consuming illness. I have had CFIDS for many years and take 2 anti-depressants. I am 73 and a retired high school educator from the Black Hills of SD. Truly I am blessed to have lived to long (73), and try to keep as busy as I can with crafts, etc.

    If you have not been able to overcome depression, find a DR> who can help you. There are meds on the market that act quickly. I have tried the natural and organic way, and it did not work for me.

    My depression is caused from CFIDS, as I am such a high achiever. I knew more about CFIDS before the medical community became aware. If you have a DR who does not believe in CFIDS – report your DR to the CDC and any other medical group who supports this diagnosis.. Fortunately, when I became aware of my condition, I was able to locate a DR who listened to me.

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