Thursday, February 14, 2013

Disappearing Act

It's been over two weeks.  A lot has been happening.  I just haven't found a moment to write.

I had a nasty cold that knocked me on my keister.

We had a major project at work that had me working long hours.

And my mother-in-law is in the hospital.  It isn't good.  "There's nothing more we can do" and "hospice" are the words coming out of the doctors' mouths.  I can barely hear them because inside, I am screaming "NO!"

She is in constant pain as her body betrays her, so the right thing to do is to pray for comfort for her in her last days, and peaceful acceptance for the rest of us.  My mind knows that.  But my selfish heart wants her to keep fighting. Her children need her.  MY children need her.  I need her.  For the 19.5 years that I have known her, she has been a rock, someone you could always go to for wise advice or a listening ear or to take action when action needed taking.  She is the glue that holds the generations together.  When she is gone, there is going to be such an enormous, ugly gash torn out of the fabric of our lives.  I can't even conceive of how our lives will change - not the day to day movements, but the foundation on which our family existence sits.

We dropped everything and went up to Pennsylvania to see her for 5 days last week. I brought with me the "Chicken Soup" prayer quilt I had started for her last time she was in the hospital a year and a half ago, but never finished. (I'm not going to restate the symbolism or the process for this quilt, but you can read about it at that link if you care to.)

I had tried to do some free motion quilting on it and hated it, so put it aside when she got better.  When she went into the hospital this time, I pulled it out and frantically started pulling out all those ugly stitches to put in the kind I know, the kind that soothe me, the kind that allow me to say a little prayer with each pinch of fabric.

When we got to the hospital, I laid the unfinished quilt over her, and she raised her head, smiled, and said, "Plaids."

I chose the homespun plaids and stripes because they remind me so much of her.  No nonsense. Sturdy.  Useful.  Nearly every shirt I see her wear is a plaid or a stripe, as is much of her furniture.  She kept the quilt over her in the hospital, and I worked on it while I visited her.  But then I realized, as slow as I quilt, I'm not going to finish it in time.

When we came home, I brought it with me to attach a binding, and I'm sending the unfinished quilt back up there to her.  The prayers are still in it, even if all the stitches aren't.

Meanwhile, the day to day movements of our lives continue.  Valentine's Day. I didn't think much about it until the kids came home buzzing about it yesterday.  I refuse to buy anything, but here was a good opportunity to use up some of that Halloween candy that lingers in my home.  The kids missed the bus, but they finished their Valentines - Dum Dum Butterflies and Pixie Stix Cupid's Arrows.



Plus, I stayed up late last night to make my 3 Valentines some mini cheescakes.  No photos yet because I need to buy some fruit to garnish the top.

Tomorrow is the last day that the Blankie Depot is accepting quilts for Hurricane Sandy relief.  I got three more in the mail this week that my guild helped to finish



Plus, the Star Quilters Guild in Roanoke, VA got 3 in the mail.

Same border, but this is a different quilt!

I still have about 5 tops that I have finished but haven't quilted yet.  I'll get them done eventually and send them to eQuilter Quilt Relief - 5000 Quilts, as they are still accepting donations.  THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who contributed.  Check your mailbox in the weeks to come for a little something from me.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.  Oh, and I did find the time to send the giveaway winnings out - the winners were Vivian from NC (no blog) who won the book and Jane from Jane's Fabrics and Quilts, who won the scraps in the polka dot Chinese takeout container.

21 comments:

Michelle said...

I will be praying for your mother in law and for your family to find peace and comfort.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I feel your pain and I will cry some tears - we went thru this with my Dad. Brought him home with hospice - I cannot praise those people enough as they not only took excellent care of him, but looked out for all our well being. Take some time to breath my dear - we will wait.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I feel your pain and I will cry some tears - we went thru this with my Dad. Brought him home with hospice - I cannot praise those people enough as they not only took excellent care of him, but looked out for all our well being. Take some time to breath my dear - we will wait.

Suzanna said...

Sending love to you and your family...your mother in law is so beautiful and she will always be with you...

Auntie Em said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your mother-in-law is ailing. I'm sure it's a great comfort to her to have your quilt to wrap up in, finished or not, the love is there.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

feel your pain, when my mom goes I have a feeling the family will be drifting apart - we are such a large family and she is the glue that holds us all together.

JaneB said...

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Love lasts. It's a wonderful quilt.

ms. mindless said...

I remember when I got to meet Wilma when I traveled with you to New York for a tournament back in 2004. She was so kind and generous and such a nice lady. You are all in my prayers right now.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Erin, I'm praying for your MIL. I can't imagine loosing mine (or my mother).

Julierose said...

SO sorry to hear about your Mom-in-law...it is so difficult to see someone fade away..my thoughts are with you..keep on stitching..Julierose

quiltfool said...

Erin, my thoughts are with you and your family. Just as wise words are given to you, so will you give wise words. Generations are like that. Lane

wackywoman said...

Oh Erin, sending big hugs and many prayers for you and your family.

Janet said...

You have been so busy! Happy Valentine's Day and lots of prayers and wishes of love for your mother-in-law. It is sad to love one who is so much a part of you.

treadlemusic said...

So sorry to hear of your sweet MIL's failing. It is so very hard for those who stand by and cannot do anything to alleviate the pain and suffering. The quilt may never be completed but will always be a very tangible precious memory of your love for her. May the Lord bless you and uphold you...hugs, Doreen

Julie Fukuda said...

My heart goes out to you and your whole family and prayers are on the way. My own precious Mother-in-law passed away under a quilt I had made especially for her. Her influence has shaped my life so she will always be with me.

Shay said...

Oh Erin. I can feel pain in every word in this post and I wish I was closer so I could give you massive hug.

Thinking of you and your family.

xxx

Loris said...

Such a sweet Mom-in-Love. God hears ours prayers as we ask for her comfort and peace.
Your quilt efforts have surely blessed many! And your Valentine efforts are too fun. I'm sure they brought a lot of smiles!

Becki White said...

Erin, hugs and supportive thoughts go out to you, your husband, your sons, your mother-in-law, and the rest of her family. The unfinished quilt is beautiful and comforting, a constant reminder of the love that surrounds her.

jirons42 said...

I am so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I just lost my best friend who was also the foundation of her family. The life lessons she taught to us over the years are what sustain us as you MIL's will you.

Ellis2Roam said...

So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. She sounds like an amazing women and you are so lucky to have experienced her love and warm. Will be thinking about you and your family in the days ahead.

pragmaticpatchwork said...

Thinking of you, without knowing you, while looking forward to reading you again. My father died, last December, resting on a quilted cushion I had made. It doesn't make it any easier, but we can take small comforts in little things. JJ