Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Quilting as prayer

My mother-in-law, Wilma, is an amazing woman. She is kind and generous, brave and fierce, gentle and loving, funny and intelligent. I love her dearly. Unfortunately, she has been battling cancer for years now - breast cancer, uterine cancer, colon cancer. But, like I said, she's brave and fierce, and she's been doing an amazing job at keeping cancer at bay and living her life. We found out this weekend that her current threat is not responding to treatment and she's going to have surgery. Today.

I'm thinking positive thoughts. After all, she's fierce and brave, remember? Last night, I just felt like I had to do something, so I went down to the sewing room. At first, I thought flannel, something cozy for her lap while she is convalescing. I started picking out fabrics, but they were all so bright and saccharine. When you are sick, you don't need candy, right? You need chicken soup. I made a pot of homemade chicken soup on Monday. My kids have had the sniffles and coughs for two weeks now, and it was raining, and it just seemed right. So I set out to make a chicken soup quilt for Wilma, nothing fancy, no measuring, made from basic ingredients plus leftovers from other projects, but made with love, made with prayer.

Out came the shirtings and the homespuns and a baggie of HSTs that I got from someone down the line. I put my heart into it and I put her heart into it. I made a ribbon to symbolize her fight against cancer. I left an opening in the border with some HST arrows to show the way for that cancer to get out, out of her body and out of her life.

With every stitch, I thought of all the memories we've made over the last 18 years - the family gatherings, the vacations, the births and birthday parties, the board games, the movies, the sitting up late into the night talking. With every stitch, I sent positive, healing, loving thoughts her way, willing those doctors to fix what is wrong with her once and for all, willing her to have the strength to fight and persevere and triumph. With every stitch, I prayed for 18 more years with her.