Thursday, November 29, 2012

With Heavy Heart ---

I just received a phone call from Rosemary –who I had a great time running around Lansing, Michigan with and who chauffeured me to the home of Claire and Ray Vlasin.  I wrote my first of many posts about Claire and her quilts just this morning.

I’m now feeling like I shouldn’t have waited this long – I should have posted them immediately after my return ---unfortunately Claire will never see my posts.

She passed away last evening.

Rosemary and I had a good cry ((At least I did-)) while she gave me the facts as gently as she could, imparting what she knew so far.

Claire had been ill for some time and was dealing with on-going chemo.  But it was a problem with a heart valve that was the final straw.  She ended up in the hospital on Tuesday.  Wednesday evening she and her husband and life-long love, Ray shared a meal in her hospital room and watched a basketball game together.  I’m sure it was an MSU game --- basketball is HUGE at MSU, and MSU fans are huge basketball fans.

After Ray left for home ---Claire quietly slipped out of this world in her sleep.

I only was blessed to be in the Vlasin home for a mere 2 hours.  I could have easily stayed 2 weeks!

I had planned to share Claire’s quilts one at a time during this coming week ---and I feel that she would still want me to.  I only feel bad that I waited so long – what with Thanksgiving, and the basement re-do, and wanting to post my days and class slide-shows in order –and then the Mystery and a pre-scheduled blog hop ---I wanted her quilts to be the icing on the cake of that trip, and they were.  They still are.

And so, in honor and memory of Claire, I’m going to start in a different order than I had planned. 

What I hope is that you will view these photos with very few words to follow them ---in a moment of silence.  Please keep the Vlasin family and those who knew and loved Claire in your hearts for they are surely grieving the passing of a wonderful lady.

This wool crazy quilt was a special anniversary gift from Ray to his lovely bride Claire as a surprise:

MI_Nov2012 363

Wool Crazy quilt on top of tumbling blocks on top of another quilt I’ll share later--

MI_Nov2012 364
Bottom left corner detail.

MI_Nov2012 365
Bottom right corner detail.

MI_Nov2012 366

Left side detail.

MI_Nov2012 367

Close up of center block with cute kitty.

MI_Nov2012 369

Upper left corner.

MI_Nov2012 371

Upper right corner.

As I think back to my time with Claire – I remember seeing what she was currently working on.  A paper pieced block in bright 1870’s Pennsylvania Dutch colors and civil war era reproductions.  She was a girl who loved her quilts, adored color, enjoyed digging into her scraps -- a girl after my own heart.

bonnieclaire1

In so many ways I hope that my life emulates Claire’s ---piecing and quilting in found moments of every day until I slip away in my sleep leaving behind such a legacy to be remembered by generations who come after.

I remember it being mentioned that arrangements have been made when the time comes for Claire’s quilt collection to be donated to a museum.  Such a gift she was and still is, and still will be.

Much love to you Claire- God Speed, my new friend --

69 comments:

Margaret said...

Read your earlier post with delight, and now this. So sad to hear about the loss of your new friend. Clearly she was a special lady and will be deeply missed. Hugs to you and especially to her family and to her dear husband at this time.

quiltfool said...

Bonnie, no regrets. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of this special person who I would otherwise have no way of knowing about. She may not see the posts, but we will and they are a tribute to a loving couple and what they did together...including basketball. Be well my friend. Lane

Kate said...

Bonnie, perhaps you could print out the posts and send to her husband so they can be kept with her collection. A beautiful part of the history of her and her quilts. Kate

rondiquilts said...

I had just read the earlier post and now this. So sad. Sounds like a wonderful couple. So glad your paths crossed. We never know what is right around the corner. Blessings to her family.
Rondi

elively said...

Thank you for bringing this special couple and their quilts to us. It is amazing how quilting brings people together. I know she would have been pleased with your kind words in your previous post and she would have been so happy to share her quilts with your readers and friends. Bless you and thank you.

Diann Smith said...

Sympathy to Ray and his family and joy to someone who was able to live her quilty life and have such wonderful support from her husband. We will enjoy seeing what pic. you took and seeing the quilts .A sweet couple, wonderful story of long lived life in quiltmaking , and how great that she was able to preserve her quilts in such a wonderful manner w/ her husband's help.

ga447 said...

It just stabs you in the heart hearing news like that. Quilters are such brilliant, talented soulful people. I am so glad you shared her with us. God Bless her and family.

Liz in KY said...

I'm glad that we'll still get to know Claire a little through your pictures of her beautiful quilts. Please thank her family for sharing her with us in this way...

Ana said...

I had just read the earlier post, went to get some coffee and came back to see your next post. What a wonderful memory you will always have and that lovely picture you posted of you two beautiful ladies smiling! Peace be with Ray and his family. Quilt on in Heaven Claire.

Leslie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about her passing. I really enjoyed this morning's blog post. Unlike your typical quilt posts, this one seemed to convey the love these 2 people had for each other. It made me think about life.

stitchinpenny said...

A loss to the world. Truly good people are few and far between.

Sheila said...

I am so sorry to hear of your friend's passing. So tragic.

cityquilter grace said...

oh bonnie, my condolences to you. seeing her quilts up close was meant to be, i can see that now. we never know when entertaining angels unaware. what a blessing you didn't miss...

Cynthia in urban Oregon said...

Leaking eyes . . .

NancyinSTL said...

My deepest sympathies to you, Ray and all of those who knew and loved Claire. I am so looking forward to seeing all of her lovely antique quilts.

Valerie said...

Bonnie, I'm so sorry to hear this. We just never know how long we have with anyone, do we? I'm sure your posts about her quilts and collection will be one of many tributes paid by friends and family she has obviously touched in her life. Sending sincere wishes for peace and comfort to her sweet husband and family and friends.

Jennie said...

Bonnie...I am so sorry for Ray and all those dear to Claire. I will pray for God's peace to envelop them in the days to come. Such a loss for the quilting community, but what a beautiful addition to heaven she shall be. What a gift that you were able to share some time with Claire.

SubeeSews said...

Tears here too. What a wonderful story and collection. Their home looked like a museum!!!!
I am heavy with sorrow for your short friendship with Claire and Ray.
I know you asked for few words but I could not help myself.
XOXOXO Subee

Tami C said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to Ray and his family. It was wonderful that Ray and Claire were able to share their love of quilting with each other. I'm glad that you will be share your new friend with us along with some of her beautiful quilts. Please don't feel bad about not getting around to sharing the pictures just yet. It will be a joy to see them no matter when!

Sandy D said...

I read your first blog about Claire so I was surprised to hear of her passing.Your friend was in your life for a few hours but still long enough to be able to call her your friend.My sympathy to Ray and her family and to you.

ria vogelzang said...

I'm at a loss for words.... Warm feelings and deepest sympathie goes out to her husband Ray and his family, and to their friends.
Her beautiful quilts leave an impressive legacy; sure to be enjoyed by all of us and many to come.....
Love, Ria.

Needled Mom said...

She sounds like an amazing woman and her quilt collection is just incredible. I wish her family well and I will keep them in my prayers.

Freda said...

The quilts are gorgeous, Bonnie. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

Freda said...

The quilts are gorgeous, Bonnie. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

Sharon said...

Truly heartbreaking. Read the other post earlier today and now this. So sad. But what a legacy she leaves behind. This is why I feel so strongly about quilting. It is my passion and I hate to let a day go by without some form of sewing. My family doesn't understand this. They probably never will. My thoughts will be with her family and with you.

Anne said...

Claire was such a neat woman. I loved looking at all the quilts on their roll. What an awesome donation it will be. Prayers go out to her husband and family. I love the pictures of the crazy quilt. Thank you for sharing her with us. Look forward to seeing her other quilts.

Nann said...

Oh, Bonnie -- as others have said, your previous post introducing her was such a joy. It is wonderful that you got to meet her.

sandra said...

I also feel sorry for Ray and Claire's friends and family. She sounds like she was a very special lady. Her legacy will live on in the quilts she has made, the quilts she has collected and the friends she has made through quilting. And in her family too of course.This story certaily has made me reassess my priorities in life. You were fortunate to meet her even though it was for a short time. Remember the time you spent with her when you feel sad:)

Sue Monsey said...

Like many have already said, we enjoyed your first post and were saddend by this one. We are all so lucky that you were able to meet them both and share in this wonderful gift to the quilting world.

You were meant to meet her ... my prayers are with her husband, family and friends and to you also. Friendships sometimes are measured in years and sometimes in just moments.

Looking forward to seeing pictures of her collection.

Janet O. said...

Read your previous post just before leaving to renew my drivers license, then came home to this. Such a tender thing. I am glad arrangements had been made for her collection to be preserved. Blessings on Ray and all who loved her, including you!

Limbania said...

My deepest sympathy to Ray, Claire's family and friends and to you too. Thank you for sharing her treasures with us. Wherever she is, she is happy and proud that you are sharing her legacy. Thank you!

Sharon said...

Thank you for sharing Claire and her talents with us. I'm sure she will live on in the hearts of her loved ones.

Sue's Stitchin' said...

We will all think of Claire with each picture you post. She will live on forever in your blog.

SUPERQUILTER said...

I was so happy to read the story of Claire and Ray this morning. It was meant for you to share their story for all to love their quilts. It is a deep loss for her family and for you. May God Bless her family and you for being able to share her story. Thank you.

Gale/Oklahoma

Deanna Davis said...

Condolences to Claire's family, and a huge thank you for sharing their lives with you so that you could share her with us.

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

how sad - I'm glad that she was able to share her quilts and the stories with others and thanks for sharing.

gmp said...

Like so many, I read your rearlier post, and was amazed at the story about this amazing couple. They say that everyone comes into your life for a reason. Even though only briefly, you will always carry your memories of the time you spent with Claire and Ray. Thoughts and prayers to her family, friends, and May she Rest In Peace in Heaven, and may there be many quilters there to welcome her. So sorry for your loss, Bonnie.

diana569 said...

Your meeting with Claire and Ray was not by chance, and thru you we were all able to meet Claire and Ray, to see Claire's wonderful quilts and had a breif glimpse into thier lives together. What a beautiful tribute to Claire. My prayers go out to all who knew Claire and thanks Bonnie for sharing your visit with all of us.

Deb Marshall said...

My sincere condolences...

Debbie Lou said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your new friend. It sounds like she was a very dear and special lady. Her legacy will live on and be enjoyed by all for years to come. Thanks for sharing their story. Hugs!

45th Parallel Quilter said...

Truly a beautiful couple and my thoughts and prayers are with her husband at this time. Some people come into our lives and briefly stay ... others come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts ... and we are never, ever the same.

Godspeed Claire ....

Becky G said...

What a gift your visit must have been for them both... no one could have appreciated what they have done together more than you would. Plus, your your warmth, enthusiasm and knowledge will leave fond recollections for Ray, I am sure.

I can think of no better gift in one's last days than to be able to share one's deep love, commitment and life's work with someone who can understand and appreciate the care, resources, thoughtfulness and time they have spent creating and preserving those hand crafted treasures, so cherished and wonderful. We can hope the memories Ray's carries of your time with Claire and himself can bring him some consolation.

I chose to believe that meetings such as these are gifts from God, perfectly timed.

Thanks you so much for sharing these photos with us. May you too find comfort in your recollections. Peace, b

Myrna said...

My condolences to Claire's family and to you, Bonnie, on the loss of your new friend. She may be gone from here, but she'll continue to be with you as you share her legacy of quilting. I believe she's seeing your posts about her and saying "Thanks Bonnie."

Mary said...

Hugs and prayers your way, and to the family. It must have been God that lead you to Claire, and now you can honor her memory with such a special tribute! I bet Claire is smiling, and loving the fact that you are sharing her legacy with the world!

Sally simplestitches said...

Bonnie I am a firm believer that God puts us places for special reasons. You were ment to meet Claire and Ray and share their love of quilts with all of us. There is no greater blessing than to be able to pass your passion on to others and it is very clear that Claire has done just that. Job well done Claire. Job well done Ray. And well Bonnie job well done. You could have said "sorry but I am just to crammed to go visit" but you didn't. What a gift. Thank you, thank you thank you. Rest well Miss Claire your beautiful gift lives on.

Julie said...

I am so sad to hear this. How wonderful that you got to meet this wonderful lady and hear her tell you about her quilts. I am thinking of Claire's family, and sending up a prayer for them.

SweetAmbrosia said...

A beatiful life well llved is the best gift we can give our Creator/God. As a Christian, I do believe Claire knows of the joy she has given you, and that you are sharing with us.
BLESS YOU BONNIE
JUlieinTN

marilyn said...

So sorry for your loss....a loss for all of us really. The quilts speak for themselves and for that gracious couple. I know she will
be remembered.

Sandra B said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. Hugs for Ray and his family. Sometimes we only have to meet people for a few moments and they truly bless our lives. Thank you for sharing the time you spent with Claire and Ray on your blog so we could also get a glimpse of the wonderful life and love of this couple and their beautiful quilts.

CathyQuilts said...

So sad. I know she's no longer suffering but the ones left behind are.

Carolyn Edwards said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your new friend and a friend to the quilting world. Her life will bring joy to many for years to come. My heart goes out to her dear husband and family.

Beeshebags said...

My thoughts are with everyone who has been lucky enough to have been touched by Claire in some way, whether it was her loved ones just for knowing her, recipients of her quilts of love, or people she has shared skills and knowledge with. Sadly another 'good people' taken too soon.

Hugs
Naomi

HelenMarie said...

So sorry for your loss. She will live on i the hearts and minds of friends and family and in all who see her beautiful work.

Kelly said...

Being in the Lansing guild with Claire, I had no idea she had passed away. I appreciate your kind post as I expect does Claire, Ray and the whole Capital City Quilt Guild.

(And you are right about MSU and basketball.)

TLC said...

What an enormous loss. She has left a great quilt legacy to remember her by that will happily live on as a treasured collection.

Andee said...

I am sure she is seeing these posts from the great fabric store in the sky! Hugs to you and her family. Her collection is spectacular!

Material Girl said...

Thoughts and prayers to Claire's husband Ray and their family and all those who knew and loved Claire, and also to you Bonnie. What a special lady and her collection of quilts are beautiful, and you are a very special person for taking the time to post the pictures and all about your visit with Claire and Ray and her beautiful quilts for all of us to enjoy. Hugs to you Bonnie!

Deb Lindley said...

Beautiful in EVERY way...Thank YOU for sharing the story Claire and her gorgeous quilt legacy.

My Best to Claire and her family,
~Deb

Farm Quilter said...

Prayers for Ray and all who knew and loved Clair. Amazing the impact she had on you in just two hours...I wonder if we are all mindful of the impact we have on others, how we could enrich their lives in just two hours, like Clair did with you? A wonderful woman who will be missed by many.

Carol Sc said...

I just received notification of Claire's passing through out guild e-mail and was going to e-mail you --- I'm glad that Rosemary called and you two could share the memories of your visit. Claire was a very special lady and always so sharing of her talents ---she will be missed. I know she enjoyed your visit and will enjoy your sharing of her quilts with all of your readers.

Irene Onderweegs said...

You're blessed to have known such a beautifull person. Give my condolences to her husband.
Love from Amsterdam,
Irene

JaneB said...

Oh my. I saw the earlier post and this is just so sad. Such a lovely woman and a gifted quilter. It is great that she had a partner in life that shared and supported her passion. I am so glad to hear that the collection will be preserved intact. I have to say that if someone is writing a script for me, this is the way I'd like to live until I'm gone, at home with the people and things and activities that I love until the very end. Condolences to her family and friends, including you, who have lost a person "with a great smile and a twinkle in her eye."

Rose E. Glasses said...

Bonnie,

Thank you for sharing your friend's life and loves. You spoke well.

My Sympathy,
Denise

Vic in NH said...

My condolences to you, Bonnie and to Ray. What a wonderful woman she was and she left a fine legacy in both her quilts and her friends.

Anna said...

SO sorry Bonnie, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and to Claire's family during this difficult time. May God give you all peace and comfort and know that she will be quilting in Heaven!!!

B Tennison said...

Bonnie,

I know that this hurts a lot for you but I am glad you got to spend some time with her. Love and prayers to her husband who obviously loved her quilting too. Not always the case for some of us. Looking forward to the purples. I have so many pretty ones of them.

Barby, Mountain Home, ARK

lisa0116 said...

Well, you got me bawling now. I just read your first posting about her and her husband last night and come on this morning to read she has passed. It is oh so sad for those left here but great for her. She is now with her maker. Things happen for reasons. It was meant for you to be where you were when you were so you can share Claire with the rest of us. Thank you!

Mary Ann said...

Truly saddened to hear about the sudden loss of Claire. What a wonderful email you sent about going to her home and being able to spend some time with her and seeing all her wonderful quilts. This will be a nice tribute to her that you are showing us the quilts you were able to photograph. My sympathy to you on losing your new friend.

Jilly said...

Beautiful quilts. May Claire rest in peace.