A little quilting, anyone?
I'm sorry if my last post was depressing. Truly we aren't doing so badly. It was kind of a small dip in the grand scheme of things. I think that's just all part of our new life. Sometimes, rather than wince and try to turn away from the painful things, we just turn into them and embrace the pain and sorrow and go where it takes us. John is way better at it than I am, but I am learning that I can live through the facing of it, and come out on the other side.
We have also had many joyful times lately. At the top of the list for me has been our marathon quilting bee! It has been absolutely wonderful to spread out all of Ellie's clothes. The memories tend to come on strong as I look at certain patterns or touch the soft fabric, but the emotions that accompany them are not sad. And as I look at the beautiful blanket that is beginning to take shape, I cannot help but to see it through Ellie's eyes. I know exactly which squares she would exclaim over, and the look in her eyes when it all becomes too much and she squeals with glee...
I am also loving the process of working with John's aunts! They have added so much in all aspects - creatively, practically, and just in the enjoyment of working together.
Melanie gasps and hides her eyes every time we cut into an item of Ellie's clothing. Then she assures us that she doesn't want to take on something too complicated or precious, but ends up doing a beautiful and precise job of it. She says that this project feels so much like working on the scrapbook that we made just after Ellie died. She is so right! (She also gasped and averted her eyes when we were cutting up pictures and Ellie's drawings to use in the scrapbook.)
Belinda will take on any challenge, and faces the most difficult and intricate task with reckless abandon... and succeeds. She says that this project feels to her like the way that the family came together to help us with Ellie's journey through cancer. Everyone was so supportive and giving of themselves in their own unique ways. She is also so right!
Loretta keeps an eye on everything from the practical components involved to the overall artistic effect - as well as everything in between. She is our "quality control" and makes sure that everything is done right. (She is also relentless when it comes to tidying up and organizing the bits and pieces. I am so tempted to stealthily sprinkle parts of the scrap bag around the room just to time how long it takes her to restore order.) Loretta has not stopped moving long enough for me to find out what this process reminds her of.
I, as the fearless leader, mostly just try to keep them from running a muck! (Don't worry, I have only had to take out my stern voice a few times, and kept Belinda in line just today with one scathing glance. I feel such a sense of power.) I have been more involved in the layout and decision making process, which is funny because everyone gives an opinion and then looks at me and says "you decide, it's your blanket!" I think that they have just been trying to keep me so busy that I won't touch the thing until they are finished. (We won't talk about what happened with the original pieces I cut and put together. I believe that I have told you before that I am not known for my perfectionism.) What they do not realize is that they are playing right into my master plan. I find all of this part very tedious, and am quite content to "let them" do it. :-) I'm looking forward to the next phase of the process. We (and by "we", I mean they) finally have all of the squares to the point where we can add batting and begin quilting them. I am so excited about this! We can spend the whole winter working on the beautiful stitching.
John has enjoyed taking hikes with his cousin Nick and Nick's wife, Celena. We even let Belinda out of the sweat shop yesterday to go out with them. I will be sure to give you some pictures, as they have taken in some breathtaking sights.
Thank you once again for standing with us through the ups and downs. We love you all.