We spent the day Saturday at my mother-in-law’s home in Pennsylvania helping to pack up the last of the remaining items before they move to Charlotte tomorrow. Although she has not been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her memory is all but gone. She can carry on a conversation in the present, but her mind is somewhere in the distant past and she continuously talks of “going home” and wanting to call her mother because her mother must be worried that she’s not home yet… my mother-in-law is 87. She knows me and Al, and Al’s sister, Cheryl, who has been living with her for the past 8-9 years taking care of her. But she no longer remembers any of her grandchildren or great-grandchildren. She does not know/remember that her husband (my father-in-law) died earlier this year. She is confused by all of the commotion the moving preparation has caused, and by the fact that all of their belongings are packed or sold, gone to the Salvation Army or come home with me and Al.
During our visit yesterday, I took it upon myself to preoccupy her with conversation while Al and Cheryl took the time to pack and load more things into the POD and our pickup truck uninterrrupted. Our conversation went almost immediately to quilting. Mom has been my mentor and greatest teacher of all things quilting. She taught me all the basics, and encouraged me every step. She used to belong to a quilt guild, and show her magnificent quilts all over Pennsylvania, and won awards. She was even featured in a quilting magazine many years ago (we saved a copy).
There were still many quilted wall hangings on the walls of their home, and we chatted about them ~ she did not know what some of them were, nor who made any of them. She did not remember/believe that she ever quilted, let alone all of the things I told her from my memories. We chatted about the quilts she’d made her grandchildren, and the couple that I had made for her great-grandchildren (I didn’t want them to go without). And she asked me if she had made any for me and Al, and, of course, we have many ~ some that she made, some that I have created. She’d made one beautiful one for our daughter, Katie. Towards the end of our conversation on that subject, she thanked me for telling her about all of the quilts and wall hangings she’d made, and the quilt guild etc.
My being a quilter now has prompted me to inherit many of the wall hangings, fabrics and other quilting items I’ve mentioned in previous posts. In going through all of the many, many boxes of fabrics we have brought home recently, I discovered numerous “blocks” that were started and unfinished, that would make beautiful quilts or wall hangings. I will be finishing those blocks along my continued journey into quilting. I consider it a privilege to pick up where Mom left off.
It was with great sadness that we left PA Saturday to come home. We’ve been driving down there at least once a month or more since Al and I married. It will be extremely difficult for us to get to Charlotte… and I will miss seeing all of her wall hangings and quilts around that large house ~ there is no room for that in Cheryl’s condo (that’s why we took most of them). But in my sadness, I can happily say that Mom has been the light of my life for two reasons especially: she brought up her son the right way, and she taught me to quilt. I have been blessed.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon. Until then, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt