Quilts and tears


Several months back, we received from Children's Mercy Hospital an invitation to create a quilt square for a memorial quilt that will be dedicated at their 2011 Memorial Service.  The invitation was set aside for many weeks.  It laid on my desk for a while.  Then I moved it to Kristen's room.  Occasionally, I would get it out to check again on the specifications as I contemplated what to do for Kristen's square.

I really hadn't come up with any ideas that I liked.  Then, earlier this month, one of my very dearest friends in this entire world presented me with such a precious gift...and the inspiration I needed.  She used photos of Kristen to create the most beautiful little quilt.  I know she spent hours and hours working on it, and each stitch was made with love.  The moment I saw it, the tears came.  Tears of gratitude, tears of remembrance, tears of joy.

This same friend dropped everything to bring Emily and Grace to Kansas City in May 2009 to meet their new baby sister.  She took the only photo we have of all five of us together.  She was the first person I called when we got the news that Kristen had coded during surgery.  She dropped everything again to drive 4 hours to KC just because I wanted needed her there.  With a smile and determination, she smuggled hamburgers into the PICU for Will and I because she was worried that we hadn't eaten.  She sat beside me as the doctors told us that Kristen had no brain activity.  She shared Dippin' Dots with Emily and Grace as we made our very surreal trip home without our baby girl.  She insisted on driving back to up KC to bring Kristen home because she couldn't bear the thought of strangers from the funeral home doing it.  She is very simply, amazing.  She walks out her faith in everything she does and allows herself to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Though there's certainly nothing I could have ever done to deserve a friend like that, I am incredibly grateful to have her in my life.

It seems only fitting that this dear friend would be the one who inspired me to create this quilt square for Kristen.

Though very simple, this quilt square was not an easy project.  It laid on my cutting mat for days and days and days.  I knew what I wanted to do with it, but I just couldn't seem to get it done.  It wasn't because I didn't have time.  It didn't really take that long to do, and honestly, I probably spent more time moving the cutting mat from one "safe" spot to another than I did getting the square finished.  Even as I ripped out decorative stitches that just didn't look right this afternoon, I shed tears of frustration and sadness at even needing to make such a quilt square.  Still, I'm glad to be able to share my sweet baby girl in this way.

The inspiration gift quilt is pictured below.  We've always (lovingly) referred to all our girls as "monkeys" and joked that Kristen had monkey toes because they were so long.  The monkey print material was a perfect choice.  Thank you, my dear, sweet friend for a gift that does more than provide a physical warmth.  It touches the depths of my heart.

I'm still here...


Wow, it's been a while since I've written much of anything anywhere!  In case you were wondering, though, I'm still here. :)

God's very much at work in some areas of my life that I've neglected.  When the time is right, I hope to be able to share some of that.

I feel like there's been a bit of a turning point in this grief journey of mine, though I've not been able to put it into words just yet.  There was a time that the words to describe my heart flowed so easily.  Lately, they just don't seem to be there.

Even so, I'm still here.  What's most encouraging to me is that I hear those same words whispered to me over and over from my gracious and merciful heavenly Father...
"I'm still here, my child.  I'm still here."