Loss and joy and remembrance have been on my mind lately as I have been finishing up a project for Di, my dear friend, who we lost to Breast Cancer in 2016, but mainly for her daughters Ruth and Martha.
For many years, I have been a quilter. Do not be too impressed, it’s just sewing in straight lines over and over again. But I do love wandering into a fabric store and looking at all the wonderful colors and textures and imagining how I would put them together.
During my nursing career, when I was privileged to be there at the end of life, I have sometimes taken a deceased person's clothing and made it into a memory quilt for their loved ones. I knew I wanted to do this for Di’s girls who I adore.
I was in the UK shortly after Di had left us and was helping Ruth and Martha go through their mothers closet to discard the not useful and preserve the precious. While we did this huge task (boy, Di really liked clothes, especially ball gowns, how many ball gowns does a person need for goodness sake!), the girls put aside clothes that held a memory for them that they would like to preserve in a quilt.
I brought these clothes back to the states with me and took on the wonderful and hard task of turning them into several quilts they could keep. A wonderful project. As I made these quilts I thought of Di and what a wonderful friend she was to me and all the wonderful fun we had together: raising our children and sharing our lives and I made every stitch with love and a celebration of her life. And it is hard because you are handling a piece of clothing that was physically close to my dear friend, the smell, the feel, the essence of Di is still there in the clothing and that makes the loss a little more present.
At last the projects are complete and I am very pleased with the result. Di’s favorite color was duck egg blue, and it was a major contributor in just about everything she owned! She liked it in her wardrobe, the color of her walls, all her accessories. Di really owned this power color and she wore it well.
In the end, I made 4 smallish quilts from the stash I brought home with me. My hope and prayer for these quilts is they will bring Ruth and Martha some small measure of comfort. Perhaps they can put a quilt under their pillow or pack in their suitcase when they are going on a trip, or cozy up with them on a cold evening when missing Di is especially acute. Whatever they do, their mother's love and presence will always live on in their hearts and maybe a little in a quilt stitched with love.