With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to publish this post as a tribute to my wonderful mom who left us all too soon, but lovingly left an unforgettable legacy to her family and friends.
Mom was always my biggest quilt fan… she has had me make at least one quilt a year for the past several years for either herself or someone in our family.
She loved fabric almost as much I do and we had a fun times shopping at the quilt shop or pouring over bags of fabric that she or I had purchased.
The day mom passed suddenly, there were quilt pieces spread on the work table in my sewing room…pieces of the quilt we had planned, cut, and pressed together. I had begun sewing the pieces and was looking forward to surprising her with the finished quilt. Ironically, I had another quilt on the work table that day; it was a memory quilt that I was making for a customer from the clothes of a mother whose daughter had also lost her mom suddenly.
The day after my mom's funeral, a dear friend suggested that I write about what our family had just been through because it could possibly be helpful to someone else who was experiencing a similar loss. She planted a seed that I couldn't stop thinking about. I did want to help others, and I also realized that I needed an outlet for my grief. So I decided to write about portions of our family's experience with the prayer that it might help to comfort someone else who may be grieving.
February 1, 2017, 6:00 am
"I can't believe this is happening..." I've said those words at least a dozen times in the last eight hours. Yet, as I stand by your bedside in the early hours of the morning, holding your warm, soft hand, I am in a state of shock as I hope against hope that the doctors are wrong about the severity of the brain aneurysm that has left you unresponsive. I never in a million years thought I would be the one to hear the words "I'm sorry, but there is no hope that your mother will survive." My heart sinks at the thought.
In this moment the room is silent except for the rhythmic sound of the ventilator and the beeps and clicks of the monitors and IV machines. Dad stands on the other side of the bed holding your other hand. We are both thinking the same thing, "This isn't happening... somebody please wake me up."
My mind wanders back through the previous day... my normal, happy, routine day. I started to call you twice, but then I got distracted, busy with something; I can't remember what was so important. Why didn't I call? When I went to bed earlier tonight, I realized that I had let the entire day go by without talking to you; which is a rare thing.
"I'll call her in the morning." I thought.
Then the phone rang and my normal, happy, routine world shattered, never to be the same. I begin to weep again at the thought of not calling... of not hearing your voice one more time.
Doctors and nurses come in and out of the room regularly to check your vital signs, to draw blood, and conduct tests. Again, I hope and pray that they will offer some encouragement that you will recover... but they only offer their heartfelt apologies. Friends and family come to give support. Many people text and call. The entire scene before me seems like a dream... and I'm waiting, waiting for someone to wake me up.
We sing one of your favorite hymns, "Above the Bright Blue", with tears streaming down our faces. Someone leads a prayer, and I hear my own sobs in the room as if it were someone else's and not my own. A scripture is read to remind us of the hope we have in Christ. Yes, when there is no more hope in this life, there is hope beyond... the hope of heaven for the children of God.
The nurse, a social worker, and a grief counselor are here to prepare us to say goodbye. How can that be? I am trying to be strong for Dad...I am heartbroken at the sorrow in his eyes. I want to be strong for him... but I am terrified.
The room is quiet now. Angels silently linger around us... we continue to hold your hands as the precious life leaves you... I know the angels will carry you to Abraham's bosom, just like we read in the Bible.
As the warmth leaves your hand, I realize that you are leaving us...
It is time for you to be with the Lord... safe in the arms of Jesus.
Yet we remain to grieve and to live on this side of eternity, without you.
I miss you mom, and I love you more than I ever knew possible.
But I know that you are happy and at peace. Thank you for being a faithful, loving mother, and friend, and thank you for always being there for me.
When I came back home after the funeral, the first thing I did was to go up to the sewing room and touch the pieces of Mom's quilt, our quilt, a part of her that will remain in me as long as I live.
In closing, it has been three months since mom passed; the quilt is packed neatly away because I still cannot bring myself to finish working on it, but I hope to find the strength to finish it for my dad’s birthday in September.
I will never look at a quilt in the same way again. They are truly memories bound in a special and unique form, one that can be held and treasured.
Thank you for reading and I hope this post has been an encouragement to your day.