I’m quilting today. It’s a mindless, repetitive process – pin, sew, press, repeat. Soothing.

There’s been a recent death in our family, sudden and unexpected. So much heart hurt. So many details to think about, so much staying busy and busy and busy. Today I don’t want to think or feel. Today I just want to quilt. There’s a release in just manipulating fabric, and nothing else, for these moments.

Right now I have 13 grandchildren. Next month the number will grow to 14, and 15 next year. My goal is to make a quilt for each grandchild (not by hand, on my machine – I’m not that crazy yet). That’s what we grandmothers do, find ways to leave pieces of ourselves behind so our descendants will occasionally smile and think of us when we’re gone. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been reminded how instantaneously that moment of leaving can happen. A person is here, and then suddenly she’s not.

While I’m still here, I want to make my presence felt. I want my kids and their kids to know how deeply and fiercely I love them. I want to fill them up with memories that will leave joy in my wake when it’s time for me to go. I want them to realize that each time they wrap themselves in a quilt made by my hands, it will be a hug from me.

And so today I’m pouring love and tears into every stitch. Right now, the touch of fabric and hum of my sewing machine create an oasis of contentment. Although the ache of grief still lurks in the pit of my stomach, at this moment I’m feeling blessed and grateful – blessed by the gift of family that has been mine throughout my life, and grateful for the joy yet to come.


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