Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Every Stitch a Blessing, Every Stitch a Prayer


This is not the blog post I'd hoped to start the new year with. My dad’s health has been declining since Christmas and sadly, he passed away last week. Dad had Lewy Body Dementia, a cruel combination of symptoms similar to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dad died peacefully in his sleep while in the care of hospice. He didn’t suffer, he didn’t linger and for that we are grateful. He was a devoted husband, a great dad and grandfather and an all around good guy who will be remembered for his cheerful and fun loving spirit.


People handle grief in different ways. For me, it 's natural to turn to needle and thread for solace. During the mid 1990’s, my needle got quite a workout when we lost several family members and friends within a few short years: a beloved aunt and uncle, my dear brother and his partner, a favorite grade school teacher, and the owner of the quilt shop where I worked. In the midst of it all, I also received my diagnosis of MS.

It was tempting to wallow in self pity during those years, but I had to keep it together for my health and family’s sake. In true “fake it till you make it” fashion, I turned to quilting to cope with my grief and loss.




I worked intuitively, without a pattern or color scheme, randomly pulling fabrics from my scrap basket, giving them a casual trim with scissors, and putting them in piles of lights and darks. When I had enough pieces to run through the machine, I sewed them into "liberated" log cabin blocks.



What began as mindless stitching soon became a prayerful experience. Snip, sort, sew. Snip, sort, sew. The quiet focus and familiar rhythm helped soothe my broken heart ~ a testament to the therapeutic value of quilt making.