I had read many times that grief comes in waves, but was still taken by surprise when a second wave began to wash over me right before Easter. It was as if we had lost Gwen all over again. A Good Friday service left me in tears and on Saturday morning I tackled the dreaded task of sorting through my baby’s clothes.
It was a bittersweet experience. Of course it made me miss her even more and declare to the universe over and over that no parent should ever have to do this. But I had to smile a few times remembering how cute Gwen looked in these pajamas, how I had made her those shorts out of a thrifted skirt, how she and Elisabeth had picked up that outfit at the semi-annual consignment sale they never missed. And how on earth had she accumulated 59 shirts!? Hmmm, I don’t guess we can blame that on her. Putting this task behind me was a great relief, but left me feeling overwhelmed and heartsick.
Consolation came quickly. Later that afternoon while I was making pies for Easter dinner, a member of my study group at church showed up at the door. It was Nancy, who came bearing a wonderful gift- the memory quilt they had made for me! You have seen a pic of us working on it and now it is finished. (That’s Nancy in the back on the right looking like she is threading a needle.)
Needless to say, I just about dissolved out of gratitude for the timely delivery. Right when I was at a very low point, here came a reminder that we are not alone in our loss and that we have the support of so many friends that loved Gwen and miss her too.
So- wanna see it? Of course you do!
Fabulous, isn’t it? Here is a closer look:
You can tell that a few scrap baskets were raided to provide all those borders. People who attended Gwen’s memorial service wrote messages:
Parts of a prayer from the service were written across one row of blocks:
The back of the quilt was meaningful as well. At the service, my pastor friend Mary Allison said that Gwen was like a butterfly- uninhibited, graceful and happy. So my artist friend Martha appliqueed a big batik butterfly for the back.
Martha does beautiful work. Look at these perfectly spaced hand stitches!
I’m guessing that another pastor friend, Anne, made the quilt label. The words were a perfect choice. I have found consolation “bound up” in that quilt on several occasions already.
Thank you ladies for this magnificent gift. I will treasure it forever.