Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beautiful Places

To this day, I do not know where I found the strength to move one foot in front of the other. It was as if I was on auto pilot doing the things I was supposed to do. I made the arrangements for her burial, there was no funeral. She wanted her cremains to be buried in my brother's grave.

In fact, she wanted me to steal by dark of night and dig the hole myself and just dump her into his grave. I would have done it...except it had snowed five inches in the Arizona desert the night before and the sandy earth was frozen. So for a mere $235.00 the cemetery was willing to open his grave and place her inside. I paid my money and I assume she is there resting with him as she wished to be.

I tried to do as she wished. I tried to anticipate what she would have wanted. We didn't know she was going to die. It was sudden and unexpected. So when I found myself standing in her home looking at the things she had collected over the years I tried to do what she wanted and what I thought would be best.

My mother was a planner...at least as best as could be expected. She died 20 years to soon...only 61. But she had already seen enough death in her own life that she knew certain things should be done to make it easier on the living.

Her personal affairs were mostly in order. Beyond that, she had made lists of her personal belongings and what and to whom they were to go to. Things like: "Patrick is to get the curved wooden bench," "Lucy gets the platform rocker." This made some things so much easier.

But then there was the unexpected...some good, some bad. The handmade cards from all of us when we were kids...the art we had done in school...the autopsy report from my other brother's death. There were finds that shed light on the life she was living 2,000 miles from me...a life she did not share with me, did not want me to know about. What to do with those things?

It is that way when someone dies. You find out details about their life you may not know existed. You are thrust into the most intimate details. You sift through their belongings with no pretense of privacy. Some things make you sad...some make you happy. Some things you are glad to know...others you wish you did not.

Among many of the things, I found out my mother was cross stitching and quilting. I found a quilt she had been working on that was about 3/4 the way finished. I folded it up and brought it home with me thinking I might finish it someday.

Someday turned into years. I had done nothing and wasn't going to. So I took it to a place where a group of Amish and Mennonite woman make and finish quilts. It took them a year to do the work...but it was worth it. They did a magnificent job.

This quilt now lays atop a bed, a bed that sits in the room my parents shared when I was a child. A room I have done to celebrate the life of my mother. In it are things that remind me of her and her life along with other family mementos.

Shutter Sisters today talks about celebrating the beauty in your own home...so I am celebrating the beauty of my mother's quilt. It isn't fancy or particularly well quilted...but it was her last surprise gift to me. I have created a beautiful room around it...a room where the sun shines bright, the colors make me happy and the memories warm my heart.

What beauty do you celebrate in your home?

click to enlarge
The picture you see in this photo is of my mother and her brother, Tom. I think she must be about three and he about five. I had it printed from one of my grandfather's old negatives I found in an old box of photos.

4 comments:

Patricia said...

What a touching post, Lucy. The quilt and the room are just beautiful.

Epijunky said...

Lucy...

The room, the quilt, the portrait within the moment you captured, and your words...

All beautiful.

Thank you.

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

This post and your room is a wonderful tribute to your Mother.
The quilt is bright and beautiful.

Sue Nicholson said...

I was there with you . . . it feels such an invasion of privacy, almost too revealing and yet running alonside is a fascinating insight in to their life.

The quilt is stunning :-) And the room pays tribute to it beautifully.

Sue :-)

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