Friday, September 13, 2019

spare pennies, a finish and a memorial

my "spare pennies" quilt, made from culled and leftover pieces (here and here) from my very first penny patch quilt was completed in march of this year, and as it was at a major life milestone moment for my family, i never shared the finish here on my blog.

my mother, known in the family as "marmee," began fighting colon cancer in april 2016. when it resurfaced in june 2018, she made the decision to transfer to hospice care at home and began a slow decline. we were blessed to be very near her and my dad in her final months. in early march, she took a rapid turn for the worse. the family was able to gather together around her in those final days and hours.

it was a bittersweet experience. i was privileged to watch my mother finish her life here on earth and transition to the next phase. not only did she show her children how to live, she showed her children how to die and move on. we had the time we needed with her to say all the things you want to say and were able to care for her and serve her one last time. i can't accurately describe what happened or how i feel about all of it. but, for me, it was a beautiful transition to where she is now and where we will all go someday. her funeral was a victorious tribute to a difficult life well lived. the legacy she left her 8 children, 8 children in law, and 45 grandchildren is priceless.

during all of this, i was working on the binding of this quilt.

the beginning of the end was on a saturday. from that time til she passed away on wednesday morning, my siblings and i were at the house as much as we could be, a few of us around the clock.

as we sat with her, and with each other, i kept my hands busy stitching.

marmee's death will always be a part of this quilt's story and i love everything that was stitched into this quilt during that time.

i love that the quilt is bright and cheerful, just like mom. it has a lovely spring feel to it, just like the season during which all this occurred.

marmee was a seamstress and cross-stitcher, but not a quilter. i love that my final memories of her involve stitching of my own sort.

i love that this quilt is coincidently the same penny patch pattern as the one i gave her, which she loved and cherished so much.

one of the sweetest memories is me sitting with her all alone on that final saturday night as my dad left to complete an errand. mom was asleep on her bed, her feet resting on the "school pennies" quilt i had gifted her. the bedroom window was open to the gorgeous desert spring weather outside. i could hear birds singing and the breeze blowing. the sun set, filling the room with first soft colors, and then a gentle darkness. i stitched at the binding and quietly sang to her, rather like the way i remember her sitting at my toddler bedside, singing me to sleep at nap time. it was peaceful, restful, and so poignant.

this finish will always remind me of walking my mother to the finish line of this life.

forty-five is kind of early to lose your mother, especially when she is only 65 herself. there are things i want to tell her all the time now, and realize i can't. or at least i can't have a two-way conversation with her about it. but i have a very firm belief of where she is now and what she's doing. she's not "lost." death is not the end for any of us. she's just moved where i can't see her for now. but i can feel her and i know i will see her again in time.

when i started writing this post, i didn't intend to talk about marmee's death much, however, this finish is now inextricably linked to that event, and it all just sort of came out. this is a rather heavy and personal post for a quilting blog, but sometimes our experiences and sorrows get stitched in to our quilts as they intersect with our lives.

that's one of the precious gifts of quilting.


  1. I had to come back and read your beautiful words again, and thank you for sharing them with us. Yes, you precious mother is with you, in this lovely quilt and in everything you do.

  2. Hydeeann, this quilt is a treasure through and through. This tribute to your mom is beautiful.
    Losing your mom so young is tragic and unfair. It must have been painful to see her suffer.
    I love that you could be with her though. Moms are forever. I suppose we are so very blessed that we had such wonderful mothers.
    My mom lived to 93. I was with her to the end, with my daddy.
    Life is a treasure. I pray that we never forget the memories

  3. So glad you shared this precious moment. These are the sacred grounds of life.

  4. I walked the same path with my mom, ten years ago. It was such a precious gift to be there. I didn't quilt then, but, like you, I needed to keep my hands busy, so I knit a felted bag. Just seeing it now brings back a flood of memories and a sense of gratitude that we had that time together at the end.


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