My grandmother - who fought and won the battle with breast cancer over 15 years ago - is now fighting with something new. A different kind of cancer has reared its ugly head and it is far more devastating and there are less choices being offered. It doesn't look great.
After hearing that we didn't know how much time - months or less than a year - she might have left with us, my mind immediately went to fabric. She's not across the country from me, but it is a considerable drive, so popping in for frequent visits has never been realistic and I wasn't sure when I would be able to see her next. I didn't want to run the risk of starting a brand new project and not know if it would reach her in time, so I was looking at what quilts I had in my house. There were only two choices, and really only one option - my Paintbox quilt.
I love this quilt - it is the very first project that I made with only myself in mind and I loved every step of its creation. I really think that this is project that encouraged me to join a guild in the first place and also to feel like the modern movement of quilting was where I really fit in.
Here's where I share with you the ugly part of my thoughts - I did not want to give this quilt up. These were selfish and ugly thoughts that came from a good place of being proud of what I had created and the hope that I would pass it along to my girls and have them love it as much as I did. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I fought it. The part of my brain that excels at creating excuses and justifications went into overdrive.
And because it was so difficult to part with, I knew it was the perfect present to send to her. It was so hard to part with because it was so closely connected to me and what better gift could I give her if I couldn't be there in person? Because I wasn't sure when I'd be able to make the trip, I sent it along with my mother on her first trip up north after the diagnosis. I heard almost immediately from her (and then later from my grandmother) that it was love at first sight.
When I was able to make the trip up about a month later, I got to see that she put it on the couch where she relaxes when she's feeling good. I couldn't get over how perfectly it looked there and I knew that I was right in ignoring my most selfish reasonings (like I needed another reason to know this). Nothing else would have belonged quite as well in her world.
Love is the reason that we make all of our quilty creations and is the reason why I'm so grateful that I gave away mine. Hug all your loved ones a little more tightly this season and - if you can - drape them in some fabric.