|John and Jeanie’s Quilt|
When Mom and Dad both retired, Mom only continued her sewing. She had sewn for her children, for grandchildren, for friends, for the Crisis Pregnancy Center, and who knows what else. Upon retirement, she decided to take up quilting. Of course, she was a natural at this skill. She practiced by making her and Dad a lovely quilt, and then took up the goal of making each of us five children and spouses a quilt. These gorgeous works of art were each sewn entirely by hand with no sewing machine used. She had us each pick our pattern and our colors – there I went again, having to make this difficult visual choice! Mom never wasted a minute in any day, and before long she was completing our individual, personal, gorgeous quilts. Dad took her to countless stores and quilt shops, patiently waiting over and over again as she selected just the right fabrics. Each stitch was a labor of love……….each completed quilt a perfect picture of her devotion to her children. I keep my quilt hanging in our kitchen area so that we can see it every day and enjoy its beauty, and bask in the warm memories that it evokes.
stayed when visiting; and she made a memory quilt that has special fabrics and mementos from each of us children and our children.
|Bob and Jan’s Quilt|
|Jimmy and Kathryn’s Quilt|
Mom has Alzheimer’s now and lives in an assisted living center. Tomorrow she will celebrate her 86th birthday. Dad knew that Mom was showing distressing signs of forgetfulness before he passed away nearly four years ago, and he worried so about her. He would be happy with her living arrangement now and with how well cared for she is. She doesn’t sew at all now. She’s even forgotten how to put her jigsaw puzzles together that she loved so much. Sometimes she doesn’t remember all of our names, and definitely not the names of all the grandchildren and great-grands. But she is sweet and she is happy and she still seeks to serve others.
|Bob and Mary Beth’s Quilt|
|Gary and Patty’s Quilt|
And just as our keepsake quilts will always be an heirloom to pass down to our children, even more so are the pieces of our lives that she shaped and fashioned together with her tireless love and effort. She took care of us, providing the atmosphere of a happy and warm home to treasure as she sewed and cooked and played and laughed. She made sure that we had family devotions every morning before school because Dad was at work and so it was up to her. She took us to church when Dad was working late, and didn’t just drop us off – she was there, too, worshipping and serving. She showed us how to love and how to work and how to pray and how to laugh and how to persevere through hard times. She exemplified great care in how she took care of her mother for 14 years, as well as her mother-in-law for part of that time. And she loved Dad, totally. She never left his side, especially for the eight years that he fought cancer. Even when they no longer could share their bed they had slept in together for 59 years, she slept right beside his hospital bed, her arm and hand resting on him between the bed rails.
These traits of our mother are the stitches that are sewn into our very being. The pieces of our lives were begun by her, thought-out and cut, measured and pieced, day by day. As the years marched on, the shapes of our lives began to unfold. The beauty of the various patterns began to be seen. These are the treasures that are eternal. These are the heirlooms that have more value than any quilt will ever possess. And while our mother may not remember much anymore about the details of the past or the present, we have the evidence in our lives of her love and her faith…………a beautiful quilt of a life well lived.