Category Archives: Quilting

Processing Pain With Patchwork Quilts

2015 will be a year Eric and I will always remember. It’s a memorable one because we made it through. It was our first year of marriage and we made it through all the ups and downs that 2015 threw our way. We were pretty sure of it when we married each other, but now we know, without a doubt, that we can weather any storm.

IMG_65852015 was the year my mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer. It was the year when my brother-in-law unexpectedly made his journey too, just three short months after mom. 2015 was the year when we found out we were going to be parents only to learn that 2015 was not the right time after all. We’ve experienced three of those losses this year. I had my third miscarriage just last week at 11 weeks pregnant. We heard a heartbeat at 8 weeks and when we went back for our follow-up appointment, the heartbeat was gone. To say that my heart is heavy would be an understatement. The sadness I feel is palpable.

In the midst of all this sadness, during this time of emotional transformation, I’m finding ways to bring myself peace. The incredible outpouring of love and support from our family and friends wraps me up like a blanket and gives me hope for brighter times ahead. Through all of the loss, we’ve also had an amazing abundance of encouragement, friendship, and love. My gratitude for our community abounds.

IMG_6421I’m also finding consolation in unexpected places. It turns out, my sewing machine brings me solace. My mama knew her way around a sewing machine and thankfully, she passed her sewing skills on to me. I often think of my mom when I sew. When my mother-in-law passed away this summer, she left me an incredible gift – her sewing machine. So now, when I sit down at that sewing machine, I feel like I connect with my grandma, my mama, and my mother-in-law. I can feel all of my mamas’ spirits with me.

IMG_6450Like in September, when I sat down at my sewing machine to piece together my very first quilt, I imagined the joy they’d get out of seeing my patches. I shared my newly sewn quilts with anyone who would humor me, but wished so badly that I could show them to my moms. They would have loved them as much as I do. Pouring my love into vibrantly colored baby quilts has become the most ironic and comforting grief therapy. I sit at my sewing machine, surrounded by colors and patterns, and piece together quilts for future babies of friends I love. I think of my moms and wish I could talk to them, cry with them, lean on them. But because I can’t, I sew. I sew and I process the feelings that come over me as I navigate the journey of potentially becoming a mom, a journey that is nothing like I expected. I process my feelings of disappointment, sadness, attachment, and hope with every stitch.

IMG_2228As I thought about what would happen to my outlet when I finish the last quilt I have to make for a friend, I decided my quilting therapy doesn’t have to end. It can be a way to serve. I decided that I will sew these whimsical quilts I love, these quilts that heal my heart and bring me joy, and will donate them to places where they can bring children joy.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.  – Radindranath Tagore

Seattle Children’s Hospital immediately comes to mind, but if you know of an organization or place where my quilts could bring some little ones comfort and joy, please let me know!

* Fox Quilt Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman