Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stuck between quilts and a hard place...

I found myself this way when I lost my friend to breast cancer in december. In fact, I learned a valuable lesson...never machine quilt a customer's quilt when you are grieving! I am in the process of picking out stitching that I didn't see through my tears that the bobbin tension was way off..whhha....and doesn't it sound so "trite" to try to explain to an unhappy customer that "the week I quilted your quilt I was sitting at my friend's bedside while home hospice came in and out....and I watched her slowly slip away"....I should have waited to quilt that quilt. But I digress...
I have a massage client who has become a good friend who is now in the same process of dying from pancreatic cancer. Hospice started the past couple of weeks. I went to see her a couple days ago. She is in good spirts, is still walking around, but she tires so easily. I talked to her daughter, and she said hospice has confirmed that Marie is not long for this world. She is not in pain, meds are taking care of that, but it is going fast.
I want to make her a quilt...I've been pulling out parts of stuff all morning trying to figure out what I can put together for her. Or do I need to worry about it? I feel like I should have given her a quilt MONTHS ago.....I really think it will be her hubby who will need the quilt after Marie is gone, but.....
I don't have any quilts far enough along to just "piece more blocks and get it done" I've got a dozen of this variety, a dozen of that....I was just playing and I kept getting pulled away by work and family, now I need a quilt and some serious time to put it together.
And here this week I was piecing on a quilt for my sister's baby-to-come....and I should have been working on a quilt for Marie. AUUGH!
Does anyone feel overwhelmed about who needs a quilt and how to get it to all fit together around the rest of life that needs to be done too? I've got my little log cabin quilt in the machine, and I can't quilt a gift-quilt until I spend several more hours finishing this one before I can even load anything else in the machine...so what to do first? finish the logs and then piece a quilt for Marie? Do I have time? I seem to get paralyzed when life gets this way.
Most of all, I'm going to miss her terribly. I'm not ready to grieve again yet. Losing 2 good friends 3 months apart to cancer is just so hard.


  1. Oh Bonnie, I feel so sorry for you, but even more sad for Marie's family. My husbands oldest sister died at 42 from pancreatic cancer - it is just so sad. I can't even suggest what to do, because I think you need to just do what you feel is right for you.

  2. Give her a quilt you just recently completed -- maybe the crayon box one. She already knows you care. There is nothing to say to make you feel better, losing a friend or a family member is never going to be easy. Hugs and prayers.

  3. breath. rest. grieve. and make a quilt for Marie's husband while you grieve... It'll be therapy for you, and remind him that he's loved while he grieves too. Marie already knows you love her. *hugs*

  4. Why don't you put a quilt together someday from blocks that you have already begun, that you are fond of, but incorporate some clothing and/or photo blocks that her family would appreciate into it?

    To make something now might put you through even more profound sadness. Are you able to visit and sit with her, even while she rests? I'd say that you might even hand sew a block while you are there - but - that block would be a sad reminder and why bring that upon yourself? Visiting with her might give her a lot of comfort that you'll be able to look back upon. I'm so sorry for all of you.

  5. Bonnie. Love your blog. Read it daily.

    I am an oncology nurse. What your friend needs right now, is the people she loves to spend time with her. Don't worry about a quilt. If you really want to give her one, give one that you have done already. Don't spend your time quilting her a quilt when you could be giving her your time, support, and love.

    Later, make a quilt for the family. One that would mean something. Like, if she loves flowers, make a quilt of only flowered material....you get the idea. The family will cherish it and you will cherish the time spent with your dear friend.

    May God's peace and love be with you and Marie....darlynn

  6. I have to agree with the last comment. Don't get frantic about making a quilt. Much better to spend time with Marie, to relax and be calm. A quilt would let her know how much you care for her, but your presence will do the same. I'm so sorry.

  7. Dear Bonnie, You ask if anyone else is in a similar place and I have to tell you...I am exactly there. I have put off making a quilt for someone I care deeply about that has been battling an incurably progressed variation of multiple cancers for more than 5 years. She has, amazingly,kept going. I last saw her in Jan. when I went 'home' to Alaska for my dad's 90th and I gave him and my mom, quilts as gifts. This dear friend loved those quilts sooo much...I swore I would start one as soon as I got back to Oregon. I didn't. I have made and given away 10 quilts when I should have made that one. I didn't because I didn't want to admit that she was, indeed, now ready to die and I didn't because I didn't know if I would get it done in time. Two sides of the same coin. The gift of you is the true gift. YOU are the quilt of love that surrounds and comforts her now with your own unique gifts. Do any of the above, they are all wonderful suggestions, but being soft, and loving, and giving and warm is what she needs, now. Be in this moment and not one of guilt and rushing...and I will try and do the same for my friend and my own feelings about my 'could have' and should haves.' We can't undo, we can't take back, but we can be what we truly need to be, right now, for right now. Know that we share and we care...deeply, for where you are right now~~

  8. I can't say it better than the ladies who posted previously. Spend time with your friend--that's what you'll remember later, and it will be a better memory than of the quilt you struggled over. How about asking her to help you pick fabric or colors for a quilt you'll make for her husband when she's gone? She might enjoy that, and I'm sure he'll enjoy the quilt all the more knowing that she had a hand in it.

  9. I agree--she needs your time right now. She's lucky indeed to have a friend like you. Take care of yourself, too.

  10. I hear ya, or should that be I read ya! Life events paralyze us at times. We become overwhelmed and nothing gets done. Perhaps, if I can make the suggestion, you can offer to gently massage her. Touch is so important and I'm sure she would appreciate receiving you wonderful gift of love.

    If you find that once you get a bearing on it all and decide that you still want to make a quilt, may I suggest that you look at simple and quick patterns like the Yellow Brick Road from Atkinson. A large lap takes 12 FQ if I remember correctly. Please don't forget to take good care of yourself. It's easy to forget ourselves when life is chaotic. Keep well and happy quilting!


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