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Last week, I was completely distraught about packing up my mother’s clothing and personal belongings. Bree, who has lost a parent as well as her baby daughter Ella, left a very thoughtful comment about how she had a quilt made from her father’s shirts.  The idea immediately appealed to me — makes the task seem a little less permanent, because I know that I’ll be able to still keep her favorite clothing close by.

So I popped an email to the local quilting guild, and asked if perhaps there was a member who would be willing to help us make 3 quilts — one for each of my mother’s daughters — and that we would of course pay whatever was necessary. The next day, I received this response from a lady named Sue:

I am sorry for your loss.  Eight years ago I lost my son and used his shirts to make comforters for my daughters, using  the scraps to make one for myself.  Having the comforters is a great source of comfort for us, as we can  feel his love for us when we wrap up in them.  I would be interested in speaking with you about the project.  I am not interested in being paid — just would appreciate it if you covered my cost (for any supplies that have to be purchased).

I immediately welled up with tears… although any quilt made from Mama’s clothing would be perfect, the fact that this lady has also suffered a heartbreaking loss just seems so appropriately aligned.

Today, Jennifer and I met Sue for the first time. She’s a lovely lady, probably around Mama’s age. She brought the quilt made from her son’s flannel shirts — it was beautifully made and so soft and worn, like a hug. On the back, she had the story of the quilt, a tribute to her son’s life, printed on a piece of fabric and sewn into the seams. Her 24-yr-old boy, her oldest child, was killed in a boat fire — although it’s been 8 years, she talked like it was yesterday. It really was the perfect hand-crafted memory.

And tomorrow, I’m going to spend the day in Townville going through Mama’s things. It’s been a week since it was originally scheduled, and I’m so grateful that I’ve had those days to process the idea instead of just jumping in when the task was so raw, like a fresh wound. Being the planner/organizer that I am, I’m glad to have this goal of picking out the “quilt clothing.”  Of course, the emotion surrounding this project is still very palpable, but I’m trying not to let myself anticipate or envision the actual process. It’ll be hard enough to actually do it without imagining it for days ahead of time.