May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Thursday, August 18, 2011


After Eli's diagnosis I turned to the church for help. More so for validation of my beliefs than anything. I needed to know that God was my Father and that he would care for me as a parent and that he could not be the one to have caused me so much pain. I found comfort there that day and I was also surprised. My priest called me holy for enduring to have endured and continue to endure such suffering for my tiny children.

As I grieve another death today I find myself thinking of these words differently. In my mind I picture a quilt, the most beautiful heirloom quilt built one square at a time over countless years. Each square is a memory, a story. Then I imagine one of those squares being violently torn from that beautiful quilt leaving only frayed threads behind and effectively destroying the quilt's carefully constructed framework. When I see that blanket it is impossible to see beyond that ragged gaping hole. The quilt cannot mend itself and it cannot be fixed without adding foreign material, things it has not known and is not comfortable embracing.

I imagine this is what grieving that death might be like. Having a person whom you have carefully constructed a life around, a person who is a constant presence in your life, your thoughts and your heart violently and suddenly ripped away. That hole must be all consuming and may even make you want to get rid of the quilt altogether. I imagine it would be something that I would put aside because I did not know how to even begin to mend such a precious item, nevertheless where to find suitable material with which to mend.

My losses have been different. My time with my sons was spent rubbing, talking and singing to an unknown being in my belly. I had only short minutes and hours in which to memorize the colors of their hair, their eyes, the feeling of their bodies and their sweet baby scents. I grieve the loss of what could have been more than what was. Yet I am holey. The holes in my quilt are tiny but significant.


  1. Absolutely beautiful. Mandy, you are an amazing woman and such an inspiration. With each post you give me so much to think about. I love the way you write and express yourself. I never thought of my life as a quilt, but your vision is exactly right. I too am holey and have still to find a foreign material to fill the holes with. I am taking the steps to find it. The first step is releasing the feelings from the grief, anger and memories all trapped in my head making it unclear to find that material. That is why I started to write in my blog... to vent it out. There are those moments when you think you see the light there, reaching out to you and feel slightly hopeful and see glimpses of who you used to be. Then, bam, out of know where you end up right back in that hole again.

    Thank you for your kind words yesterday. They mean so much to me. It was difficult to admit my anger and loss of faith. Venting is part of my healing process. Throw it all out and then start to pick up those broken pieces and somehow mend them back together.

    I too have decided to find a new church. I need to sit down with a new Pastor and tell him where I am and how I'm feeling. Right now, the thought of reaching out to God gives me anxiety attacks and I feel like a boulder is sitting on my chest. My heart just started racing, just typing those words, augh!

    I had something happen two nights ago after I posted about my faith. Nothing like that has ever happened to me. It was a definate sign and definately making me think. I'm going to post about it. I know God is waiting for me, waiting for me to process this and return to him and yes that is comforting.

    Much love. Valerie

  2. I think you are onto something with this quilt.

    I actually thought of a specific quilt while I was reading this. One of my very best friends died a few years ago. Since then, his mother and I have become very dear friends, and one day while I was home on leave, she gave me his favorite quilt. It was an old, worn out quilt that he had carried around pretty much his entire life. If he stayed somewhere, he had that quilt in his Jeep.

    It was beautiful. And even though it was worn out and becoming threadbare in a lot of spots, I still kept it on my bed. One night Bryan was stretching and put his foot through a threadbare spot, ripping a hole about 8 inches long. I kept it there, until it started ripping even more. I finally stitched it back up, but it's so worn and fragile that I'm almost afraid to use it anymore. It doesn't take much strain for the threads to start pulling apart.

    A lot of people think that I have "moved on so well" and "pulled back together so nicely". I guess the front I've grown accustomed to wearing makes it seem as such from just a glance. But the people that actually know me really well, or that take the time to notice my sadness a little more, know better. It's a lot like that quilt. Just walking by it, it's still so beautiful and seems so whole again. But when you get close to it, you can see the unraveling threads, the tiny little tears, and you can see it literally falling apart under the stress and pressure of being used.

  3. Thank you both for sharing your experiences and relations to this post.

    I read your blog Valerie about the wind chime and it is very touching. I believe in such signs and I am so glad your little girl was able to send one to you. These things don't just fix themselves and they certainly don't do so very quickly.

    Nika, I absolutely love hearing about your friend's quilt. How precious that you have it and have loved it so much. Things are not always what they seem, but can still be beautiful.

    I think that grief, as ugly as it is, can be so beautiful. The expression of such deep love is a testament to the depth of our own hearts and the importance of those who have left us.



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