The Unfinished Quilt

Eighteen years. Eighteen years without my mom.

Yet, pieces of her live on. I see a few of her features in a couple of our children. I see her in pictures scattered here and there. I see her hands when I look at mine. When I see the quilt she labored over for my high school graduation gift, I remember.

At some point after a death, the deceased belonging need to be gone through. Given away or kept. My dad asked for my help to go through her ‘things’. He was ready. Yet, in some ways, I was not.

A few long forgotten items in the “give away” pile ended up in my van to find a home in my house. Some ‘things’ are still in their new home. Yet, some ‘things’ never made it past our porch. For those items, home was our porch. I’d walk by the items every day until one day I was finally ready to let go and allow someone else to find joy with a few of my mom’s treasures.

I had forgotten about an item until today. I was with my dad and he began talking about the cross-stitch squares my mom never finished. Those squares were going to become a quilt.

Many years ago he asked if I wanted those squares. Immediately I said no even though the squares she had finished were very pretty. My mom, bless her heart, tried to teach me cross-stitch. It was a battle no one won. Sewing, of any kind, and I are like oil and water. It isn’t pretty.

Since I didn’t want the unfinished squares, my dad found someone in his church to finish the rest of the squares. Another person in the church patched those squares together with other material. Now it is in the quilt frame ready for the church sewing group.

His church’s sewing group quilted on it today. The group invited my dad to see, what they called, the beautiful quilt but other plans detoured him today.

When he told me the story of the quilt and how he still would like to see it, a need arose within me. The need to see, for one more time, something she touched long ago. Something she enjoyed. Something to remind me of her.

Calls will be made soon to find out if there is a way to see the quilt before it is finished and put away. In the end, it will be given to a local auction to raise money for a cause. Oh, how I would love to have all the money in the world to place the winning bid and bring that quilt home.

I teared up as dad told me of all the hands who knew mom, and even those who did not, coming together to finish what mom had only just begun with those first cross-stitch squares. I imagined her friends touching those floss stitches she sewed. I imagined how many people sat around the quilt frame talking as they sewed. Perhaps even praying with each stitch for the person who would wrap up in its warmth. It touched me.

Eighteen years later. Eighteen years and something as simple and as sentimental as a quilt can turn all my thoughts to her. Maybe it is because Mother’s Day is this weekend. And, maybe one never stops missing her mom.



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