It was my husband’s idea. Make a quilt out of your mom’s shirts. Brilliant.
As I was cleaning out her room, I couldn’t bear the idea of just dumping all of her things at the Goodwill. There’s nothing wrong with the Goodwill. I actually ENJOY shopping there. I just couldn’t bear the idea of her things, clustered together now, being diluted into the masses of clothing and house wears, like her ashes being scattered to the winds. Ceasing. Dust. Gone.
My mom wore a type of uniform. Ballerina flats. Knee high stockings. Slacks with an elastic waist. Jersey tops with a little bling. Flowers, beads, sequins. Just a touch. She never wore shorts, dresses, or skirts. She knew what she liked, what felt comfortable. She was not a slave to fashion.
She had dozens of these shirts. I washed them and placed them in the dryer. She NEVER did that. She didn’t want to shrink her shirts so she air dried them all.
I boxed up all of her shirts and hauled them down to a local quilt shop. A quilt shop filled with ladies all about my mom’s age. They welcomed me with open arms. I spent every Wednesday morning for the next several weeks hanging out with the quilt ladies (and guys) working on a quilt for each of my children made from my mother’s shirts.
I found it to be a type of therapy. The quilt posse made fun of me, gave me nicknames, taught me their skills, shared their space, hugged me when I needed it, made me one of them, shared their stories of loss and redemption. It was exactly what I needed. They helped me take a tragedy to our family and make something beautiful. A keepsake. Something for my children.
There are still some shirts leftover. The quilt ladies/guys say I should make a quilt for myself. I will. I wanted to finish the ones for my kids first. Sometimes I borrow theirs. It’s enough for now.