Friday, August 26, 2016

recycled Hearts

I only made one quilt for Eleni.  Though I never did finish it.

making Hearts

Just weeks before she was born, I started making these uber girly hearts to be appliqued onto a candy colored baby girl's quilt.  I appliqued them by hand, relishing the process, and even saved a few for the birth itself.  I was planning another home birth then.  Maybe, in my dream birth scenario, some handwork would be a fun way to channel my excitement during the early stages of labor.

Recycled Hearts

Of course, Eleni's birth was nothing like that.  Afterwards, in my shock, I did finish appliqueing the hearts.  I took many to the NICU for something to do by her bedside as she was always, always sleeping and couldn't tolerate being held for too long.  When they were finished I joined the blocks together and then put the quilt top away.  I hated reminders of life before the tragedy, especially reminders of how I thought things would be.  I couldn't finish the quilt, didn't want it for Eleni, and yet couldn't see myself finishing it to sell either.

Recycled Hearts

I feel that this pregnancy is my last chance to grieve for Eleni with my whole heart.  I know that our new baby will shift my focus and put a new light in our family, which is a good thing.  Of course I'll never forget Eleni, but maybe she'll never feel quite this near.  Of course she won't.  That's the thing about death, it puts real distance between you and your loved ones.  Later when life slows down again, so much will have changed.  I'll be less likely then to think of what could have been and more likely to be thankful for what came to be.  At least, I trust so.

Part of my grieving is to deal with Eleni's heart quilt.  It doesn't belong in a drawer testifying to what wasn't and never-will-be.  I want to give it a life, and not one that is for this new baby I'm having, but rather one that is for Eleni still.  Somehow, still for Eleni.

Recycled Hearts

So, I've decided to tear it apart.  I'm separating out the hearts and making quilts to donate to the NICU that kept Eleni.  When she was there the nurses would wrap a quilt around her mattress, instead of a sheet, to make her bed slightly more homey.  I'm sure they could use a few fresh ones.  And probably some of the moms will appreciate a slightly more modern flare. 

Recycled Hearts

The way the nurses use them as substitute sheets, 32 x 44" is a good size.  These are likely to be used for full term babies not in an isolate, so these are not the kind that cover the isolate to make it darker/quieter.  In my series of little quilts, I'm thinking to use anywhere from 1 to 6 hearts per quilt, to yield a good number of them. 

I made my first today.  It's so simple.  Maybe too simple?  But then again, it's the baby who'll lay upon it that needs all the attention.  I imagine the hearts near her head and her feet serving as bookends to her sweetness.

Eleni is already giving many things to her younger sister - clothes, blankets, toys and bottles.  These hearts she'll give to other babies experiencing a harder start to life than they deserve.  Babies that may not ever be "all right."  I think she'd be pleased.


81 comments:

  1. This is really beautiful and a lovely way for Eleni to live on. We were in a NICU for 3 months and benefitted so much from gestures such as that!

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  2. I think it looks perfect and is a wonderful way for you to put those hearts to good use.

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  3. You are so sweet to pass some of the love on. Eleni is sure to be proud of you, sweet Mama! I follow your blog - it is nice to see real emotion put into sewing. Thank you!

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  4. This is a beautiful post and a beautiful quilt. What a lovely and generous gesture. As always, thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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  5. Such a beautiful idea and task. The babies and mothers will love them. Rachel, you have such a beautiful heart. You always amaze me. You are wise beyond your years.

    Leslie

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  6. Rachel, this seems a perfect way to use these hearts. One of my daughters is a pediatric nurse, most often in the NICU (she floats everywhere), and she has told me how they use donated quilts. Your beautiful work and the obvious love they are made with will be a blessing to many other families in crisis.

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  7. beautiful. so so so so so beautiful.

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  8. Rachel, my heart is full of sadness for your loss and admiration for your thoughtful, loving gesture. I absolutely love the resulting quilt - I want to make one similar for my Mom as a lap quilt. Wishing you a lighter heart.

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  9. I think this is the perfect way to use those hearts. I'm sure Eleni would approve.

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  10. Not too simple - trust your heart. Any thing made in the proper spirit is perfect. These represent love and love lost for you and the stitches on each quilt will hopefully mend the grief just a little.

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  11. A beautiful, perfect, thoughtful and loving gesture.

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  12. I love what you (and also in a kind of way Eleni) do with her heart quilt. I think of it as a way you share the love you feel for Eleni with other babies and their families. And no, your quilt is not too simple it's just perfect the way it is.

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  13. It's like all the love that went into making the hearts will be spread even further. What a beautiful thought and quilt (and quilts to come).

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  14. Such a beautiful gesture and such a lovely act of kindness to do with Eleni's quilt. :)

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  15. You are so very honest and real with your feelings, it is much appreciated.

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  16. this post totally made me cry. what a fabulous way to pass on some love and care. from you, to Eleni, to these new babies.

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  17. Dear Rachel - Whenever we can turn a negative event into something positive, it is good. It was so good of you to listen to your heart and wait - not force yourself to do something that didn't serve you well. This sounds like a wonderful gift for NICU. I hope that you have a lot of healing and peace from this gesture. It is a very good thing!!!

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  18. Oh Rachel, what a fabulous idea and I think Eleni would be very proud!

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  19. What a beautiful way to extend Eleni's beautiful life. Your gift of echoed life and love will be greatly appreciated. I'm sure it pleases the Lord. Bless you Rachel.

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  20. What a wonderful idea, a way to make peace with the past and use it to bless others. The new quilt design is sweet and simple and beautiful, something special for the babies in NICU.

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  21. Oh Rachel, Lovely.
    Wonderful idea. This reminds me of when Lizzie was born, she was 8 weeks early!! She stayed in the NICU for one month. I made loads of little quilts (not this pretty) for the NICU. That was 27 years ago, wow. The docs let me take her home early bc I was a nurse.... I was kind of freaked out, but Lizzie was a little dolly.
    This is such a beautiful gift to the NICU, Those nurses are angels
    I believe you are doing all of the best things for your heart and such an example to your kids, showing them how to work out the tragic emotions of 2015 big hugs

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  22. This is such a thoughtful post! It sounds like a great process to go through for your grief. I appreciate your candidness and the bravery behind it!

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  23. I am so touched by your post today. I am new to reading your blog and don't really know your whole story, but I must say that I am deeply touched by your words and your thoughts and actions. What an amazing gift to give to others who may not ever even know the meaning behind each thoughtfully incorporated heart, but you will know.

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  24. Not too simple. Just right and so, so very sweet. I just had another little girl, she is 2.5 weeks now, and we had to unexpectedly spend a few extra days in the hospital with her is an isolate. I hated it, and was so glad to escape, and I just can't imagine if a nurse would have placed her on one of your sweet quilts. "Bookends to her sweetness..." I can't imagine anything better : ).

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  25. What a wonderful, loving gift from both you AND Eleni. I'll bet she's smiling down on you and the special quilts for other babies struggling in the NICU

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  26. What a wonderful, loving gift from both you AND Eleni. I'll bet she's smiling down on you and the special quilts for other babies struggling in the NICU

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  27. What a wonderful way to honor Elani's life and the people who helped her in the beginning. Nothing can ease the ache of her loss, I am sure, but this process brings such positivity to her short life.

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  28. I admire your giving heart so much. I've learned a lot from reading your blog over the last couple years.

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  29. Thank you so much for sharing. Sending admiration and hugs.
    Neame

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  30. What a lovely lovely thing to do. And as I sit here in tears , having just spent a week in the hospital with my daughter, son in law and new grandson who arrived 4 weeks early, it is my humble opinion that the people keeping vigil in NICU hoping and praying and waiting will be cheered by these little quilts.

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  31. Such a simple yet perfect thing to do. This is a wonderful idea and will be good for you, the wee babes, and a great memory in Eleni's name. The nurses will be appreciative, the wee babes will be comforted and you know that they will all be used for the purpose intended until they are worn out. So many babies will be touched by Eleni's hearts. Love the idea. Spent many hours/days/weeks and months in the NICU with one surviving grandson while the other only survived 72 hours. Thankfully our survivor is now 15 and other than minor health issues is tall, healthy and happy. Quilts add colour and happiness and give hope to the family members as well as the tiny babies and nurses and makes the environment just a little more welcoming. Kudos and hugs.

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  32. Oh Rachel, your big heart! 💗 What a lovely way to grieve and heal, all at the same time!

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  33. This is a great idea! You're a wonderful loving person. Thank you for sharing the grieve and the joy with us! Love from Belgium

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  34. What a sweet and beautiful legacy for your daughter. Peace be with you.

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  35. What a sweet and beautiful legacy for your daughter. Peace be with you.

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  36. I'm imagining all of the love these quilts will share. Our first, a preemie, was in the hospital 38 days, so I can relate to the warmth a touch of "normal" could bring to that experience.

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  37. You're pretty incredible. I hope you know that. XO

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  38. Perfectly beautiful Rachel! A very brave, generous and appropriate thing to do.

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  39. Brava! Es una idea excelente y hará bien tanto a ti y a los tuyos, como a los demás. I'm always waiting for your posts,I like reading them, me hacen pensar, reflexionar y aprender gracias por tu dedicación. Un abrazo!

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  40. You share your heart so beautifully in these posts - it's only fitting that you share Eleni's heart quilt.

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  41. A wonderful gesture and a lovely way to honor Eleni.

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  42. You channel your talent in so many healing ways. I just got dimensions for the isolates and giraffes from our NICU to make quilts as well. Sewing for others is so gratifying and sewing for others I don't know is even more so.

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  43. Thats a very nice way to deal with those lovely hearts for Eleni. My baby was in NICU for awhile, and I liked the soft, sweet flannels they had under him. Just helps to make things a little nicer for those tiny ones struggling. ((HUGS))

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  44. What a gift you are. You inspire me. So grateful for your posts.

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  45. Oh honey. Whoever lays beneath one of these gifts of love will be blessed.

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  46. This was a beautiful post, with a beautiful quilt. I am thankful for your sweet spirit.

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  47. No words, a lovely, beautiful post, Rachael. Thinking of you, always. Sondra

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  48. They will be appreciated by many I'm sure. Your first looks so sweet and I can see a little one's head resting on a heart, so precious.

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  49. God placed in you the pure heart of love, Rachel. You were and are the mom that Eleni needed. One day, in Heaven, I've no doubt the two of you will walk hand-in-hand, and she will tell you these things in her own words. God Bless you. xo

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  50. What a blessing to the NICU. My daughter's two children were each in the NICU for quite a long time. Even though I am a quilter, I have severe health issues and lost my desire to quilt when my husband died three years ago. I also like to knit, so I like to knit hats for the NICU and also chemo hats since I'm a breast cancer survivor, too. My best sewing machine is unable to be fixed, so I have to decide if I want to replace it or use an old, old machine. I think I want to start making quilts again. Last October my adult son came to live with me - to help him, not me. Then in early March his 2 1/2 year old daughter came to live with us unexpectedly. She's had lots of drama in her young live. She is in the heirloom toddler bed and I want to make her a big girl quilt. She is a diva, so I want to make us matching dresses to wear to church. I had no idea that quilts were used in the NICU - what a wonderful idea. I need to tell my quilt guild about this. Blessings to you. You are special in God's kingdom.

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  51. I've shed many tears reading your posts about Eleni, this one included. I picture those new parents seeing their infants " bookended" by your hearts of love. A beautiful tribute to your daughter. And a beautiful way for you to take care of yourself and your grief. (Hugs)

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  52. Your posts about Eleni always make me want to give you a big hug. I know the NICU will love these and appreciate where you are coming from. Praying for you always.

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  53. I think this is perfect. So many emotions in a NICU, anything to make it less impersonal helps. And it helped me knowing someone else was thinking of my baby. The quilts show those moms they aren't alone. Thank you for sharing.

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  54. You are spreading so much love and care by doing this. This is perfect.

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  55. Rachel, that is such a sweet and lovely thing to do with Eleni's heart quilt - I know she is smiling at you right now! And your first one is not too simple - it's simply perfect!

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  56. Rachel, you are making your grieving into something beautiful and giving. You honor Eleni and express your love for her in these lovely quilts. Perfect.

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  57. What a beautiful way to honor her life, and the lives of the tiny people that will rest on these quilts!

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  58. What a beautiful way to honor her life, and the lives of the tiny people that will rest on these quilts!

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  59. God bless your loving, compassionate and generous heart, Rachel. Many families will be touched by your gifts.

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  60. What a beautiful tribute to your precious daughter. You will be blessing so many families!

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  61. The quilts and sentiment they carry are perfect and will touch the hearts of many.

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  62. It's very humbling to read about your generosity and to read all the comments as well about other's experiences with NCIU babies. Champions all of you and inspiring to know that compassion still lives so strongly.

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  63. Perfect as always Rachel, I'm wondering if you'll make one for your new baby as a gift from Eleni xxxxxx

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  64. Beautiful idea and such a wonderful gesture to other NICU babies!! Love your first little heart quilt and I know each one will be special!

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  65. What a wonderful idea. I'm sure Eleni is smiling at this. May it help your heart to heal, just a bit.

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  66. Beautiful way to honor your daughter and your love for her.

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  67. What a wonderful way to honor Eleni while simultaneously giving such a lovely gift for those babies in the NICU. Blessings and peace to you, Rachel. You have such a beautiful heart.

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  68. Surely not too simple, very sweet. I think it is a perfect plan and I believe too she would certainly be pleased.
    love to you and Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  69. Surely not too simple, very sweet. I think it is a perfect plan and I believe too she would certainly be pleased.
    love to you and Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  70. I think this is perfect.
    {hugs} Tracy

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  71. Such a beautiful way to honour Eleni.

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  72. Oh Rachel... this is so very beautiful and a real testament to your love for Eleni. The little quilts are lovely and will be so appreciated. I love your words "the hearts serving as bookends to her sweetness"

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  73. It's a really lovely idea and the little quilt is just perfect. Xx

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  74. A lovely way to use your capable hands during the last few exciting months of your pregnancy. They are beautiful and thoughtfully created - they will be loved xoxo

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  75. Sis I love your heart and the way you think. What a precious idea to do for those little babies and their parents. It's the little things that truly matter in hard times. I love you and pray for you and the family everyday. You are such an amazing woman, mother, sister and friend. Xoxox I love the idea for the series.

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