It has been a brutal time for my family. I've been wanting to blog about it for some time, but haven't had the strength. All of my energy has been taken by trying to hold others up, and keep myself afloat as well. The blows have been swift and devastating. While we are not out of the woods yet, hopefully we've found a clearing we can shelter in before forging onward.
Death has been an ever present shadow for about six weeks now. One nephew's best friend commited suicide, and my nephew was the one to find him. I can't imagine how aweful that must have been for him. Next my daughter's boyfriend's uncle passed suddenly. He'd been ill for sometime, fighting alcoholism and other problems, but one is never prepared for loss.
The next blow was the most devastating. My oldest nephew's son, two year old Mason, died. Mason had been born premature, with Cerebal Palsy, bleeding in his brain. He suffered from seizures, had physical and mental developmental challenges, but the biggest, best smile you've ever seen in your life. It has sent the entire family to their collective knees. I can't even begin to describe the torment my extended family has been through. For my immediate family, it has been hard enough. We all know Mason is in a much better place, that he is walking, and laughing, and doing cartwheels. But we hurt. The worst part for me was walking into his service, and seeing the quilt I made for him when he was born lovingly displayed on the altar underneath his cremains. I don't think about those quilts much after I make them. I didn't ever want to think about one being used in a child's funeral service. I'm not sure my heart will ever recover from that sight.
And then, three weeks to the day later, my maternal grandmother and the paternal grandmother of my sister-in-law, Mason's grandmother, both passed the same day. And I could not go back to Kansas for my grandmother's service. I did get to speak to her one last time, to tell her how much I loved her, and how much I appreciated everything she's done for me. But I couldn't be there with the rest of my family, going through pictures, telling stories, laughing and crying together. I couldn't be there to see my grandmother in the hospital, covered in the quilt I made for her several years ago. It hurts. I don't have the words for how badly it hurts.
I want to go into my room and quilt. I need to finish a baby quilt for Mason's little cousin, who is almost three months old now. My Aunt Linda has asked for a quilt, that I will gladly make for her. But all I can see when I walk into that room is Mason's quilt on the altar, and my grandmother's quilt covering a hospital bed. And all I can do is sit at my sewing machine and cry. That is the last thing I want to do. My grandmother is the reason I sew. She made my clothes when I was small, the best Halloween costumes. And I want to honor Mason's memory and courage in quilts for babies. But I just can't bring myself to sew.
I don't know how long it's going to take. But I hope soon I can sit at my beloved sewing machine and make lovely things for the people I love, and in honor of the people I love. I ache to create, but I ache more for one last moment with my grandmother, one last shot of Mason's amazing smile.