If you have lost someone you loved, or when you do as we all must do, you will know what I mean by savoring. You savor before they die or while and after the things you can do for that person, each a little offering of love. The last time I changed her diaper I stroked her silky, still legs. Oh, more! Each snap on her sleeper after we pressed her footprints, all mine. The way her father held her jealously during those final hours. I understood.
After Eleni passed I treasured each task left to me as her mother, most especially any task in her nursery. On a quiet Saturday I shut myself in her room slowly unpacking her dresser, choosing these clothes to save forever and others to pass along to some other child. Soon I had a pile of clothes too stained to keep, but too precious to throw away. They are ones that remind me of particular times. They are each a memory.
I am glad that a project came to me quickly then. I composed the clothes in neat rows and captured some needed colors from the other piles to fill the gaps. I'd been wanting a new pillow cover for a living room throw pillow anyways. What a nice way to keep some memories of her nearby.
I'll be patterning this pillow project after my "Joy" pillow from years past. I'll applique a rectangle of each piece of clothing on a plain background in a 4 x 5 grid layout. Some of the rectangles will become reverse applique letters; some will remain whole.
These knits won't fray when raw edge appliqued like quilting cottons do. I'm also cutting with my pinked rotary blade, for a decorative and more durable edge. My husband and I are setting off this weekend for a 15th anniversary getaway. I want to prep this all today so I can take it along, a compact hand sewing project. Ah, yes, the makings of a good trip!
But I find it slow going, cutting up these clothes. I stare at the doggie pajamas I bought midway through our pregnancy, when all was perfectly well. How could that be? The green polka dot shirt she wore only once - the last time I took her home from the hospital - takes me back to that moment of shy hope coupled with foreboding. Of course all the stories come back, as they should.
This is a project for remembering.