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.


  1. Diane, I'm glad the end was peaceful as I know there was a lot of heartbreak over the years with his disease.

  2. I am so sorry. No, as much as we try to prepare for that moment we can never really get there until it actually happens. I am so glad the end was peaceful.

  3. I am so very sorry. Why does life have to be so hard? Sending hugs your way.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, Diane. You and your family are in our prayers.

  5. My deepest sympathies on the loss of your beloved daddy.

    Doing SOMETHING that you could control surely eases the mind when so much bad was happening seems perfectly logical to me--and such beauty in your happy blocks.

  6. Sending hugs and prayers for you and your family . . . losing someone you love is never easy.

  7. I was so saddened to hear about your dad. I also had no idea of how many losses you suffered in such a short time.
    Quilting can be such a comfort in those times.
    Your log cabin is wonderful!
    how funny that these old projects have come back to us at the same time.
    thinking of you and your boys (men)

  8. I just happened on to your blog. I suffer from a chronic pain condition, my two daughters also. My last doctor appointment ended with a prescription for me to "quilt more." She said, "everyday." She knows that I am better if I do. Sometimes that means looking at quilts on the Internet.
    Take care of yourself and know that others are thinking of you. Peaceful wishes.

  9. I just wanted to say that I am sorry about your dad. Our family just had a loss this past week (2-15-13)my sons grandmother, she was diagnosed with cancer on 1/23 and was gone only 3 weeks later...what a blessing that it was a short time for her! I can see from the picture that you posted of your dad that he looks like a very war and kind man. I too lost my dad almost 11 years ago...cant believe it has been that long! I amm glad that you have "quilting therapy"! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your famiy~God Bless

  10. I just ran across your blog. And wanted to say you are in my prayers with the loss of your dad. My dad passed in September 2012 with Lewy Body Demntia; and Alzheimers with neoprathy. He had a long stay in a nursing home for 21/2 years and his peacefull passing was almost a blessing from such a cruel disease. I miss him terribly as I know you miss yours but rest in the assurance he is no longer confused on in pain or trapped in a wheel chair. Blessings to you and your family.

  11. I stopped by your blog to see your log cabin quilt and find that your father has passed away. A sad time for you. My mother-in-law had Lewy Body disease also. She passed away about five years ago.