This was not a good year in my life. My dad had been diagnosed with cancer in July of 2003. It was a late diagnosis and much of the time during his treatments, he felt awful. For those of us who love a cancer patient, it is an agonizing process to watch, fraught with overwhelming feelings of helplessness. Struggling to bring some cheer into the situation, I decided to make my dad a really bright quilt because he loved bright colors. This was to be Burl’s Sunshine Quilt. He got to see the top completed but he never got to use it. My mom, my sister Ruth, my aunt Emma and I all worked on hand quilting it. My mom has it now. You can see from the photos that I have made two new discoveries–1) string piecing and 2) rectangles are easier to sew than triangles! This pattern is called Woodpile–it resembles Log Cabin.
At the same time I was making my dad’s quilt, I was working on another Woodpile quilt for my friend Ava, also dealing with cancer. She was doing well at the time and made a special trip from St. Louis to visit my dad in hopes of letting him know that things could get better. I knew her favorite color was purple but I asked her preference for some additional lights. She picked light green, blue, pink and gray. My mom and I delivered her quilt shortly after my dad’s memorial. I left my favorite little Abyssinian kitty in the second photo (sorry about the overexposure) because we also lost her in 2004 due to kidney failure. Like I said, not a good year.
Although I was 54 when my dad died, I look back and realize I was quite depressed for a big part of the year. He was a wonderful and very accomplished human being who never sought the limelight for himself but made everyone he met feel special. My sister and I were lucky indeed to have him as a father and my mom hit the jackpot when she fell in love and married him. We all still miss him. But my mom has been a role model of courage and strength. It has been amazing watching her reinvent herself as a single person after having been happily married for almost 55 years.
The one good thing that happened to me in 2004 was retirement. I was fortunate to walk away with a small pension and very expensive group health insurance which I was nevertheless very glad to have. My records show I made one more quilt–for my college friend Fran. It was completed and delivered to her in Tennessee but the last phot0 I can find is on the floor ready for basting. 2005 is a better year but unfortunately I became even sloppier about taking photos. Next installment soon.