on finding solace through sewing

goodbye, mel:  october 6, 1952 – saturday, september 8, 2012

i am devasated but also relieved to let you know that my mother passed away this evening.  she was home, with us–the cats were locked up–and she let me have control of the remote, so we were watching my absolute favorite, season 3 of leverage.  we should all be so lucky to face what she faced with the grace, dignity and bravery that she found for herself every single day for the past three years.  (almost to the day.)

my mom set this “today i feel” refrigerator magnet 3 years ago and never let anyone change it.

we were able to tell her how much we loved her, and how proud we were of her strength, and at long last were able to convince her to relax and let go.  i’ll miss her (i already do), but in so many ways i will forever be grateful for what her illness taught me about her, and about me, and about how alike we are.  we were never “gilmore girls,” but in the end i have no regrets about how much i was able to share with her before she left.  wherever she is now, even if she is nowhere, she is more comfortable than she has been in months and for that i can only have relief and gratitude.

most especially, i need to acknowledge that without my mother i would never have gotten interested in sewing, which has given me more pleasure and more new things to learn about than anything in my life, including my beloved photography.  i first bought a machine the weekend she was diagnosed, because it was something we could do together while she was sitting down.  i think it is fair to say that i cottoned on to it far faster and far more obsessively than she ever imagined, and i even think she took some pride in how much i try to learn about and accomplish with my sewing.  just a few days ago she insisted i bring out my chanel-style jacket to show off to some of our family visitors, and for the entirety of her illness she surrendered her custom-made dining room table (with custom-made protective pads) to my sewing needs.

i’ve been doing a lot of sewing this month to keep my head clear and have been consistently grateful for the release and outlet it provides.  my therapist compared it to meditation, and that is how i hope to continue approaching it.

and yes, i did get to show my mom my peter max-inspired screen prints.

and yes, she thought i was completely insane.  but it made her smile.

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17 Responses to on finding solace through sewing

  1. P says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your mother. She must have gained so much being able to spend time with you, and you with her. She sounds an extraordinary and inspiring person. You don’t know me but my thoughts are with you.

  2. Christy says:

    So sorry for your loss. Wishing you and your family the best in this tough time.

  3. prttynpnk says:

    What a beautiful and moving post. I’m sorry for your loss, but really touched by how much grace you are showing thru it.

  4. Kimbersew says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is an honor to be with people at their passing when it can be done well- or maybe always. It is so clear how much you love her. blessings all around.

  5. kristinm100 says:

    Oh, I am so, so sorry. And I totally agree with Kimber – it is an honor to be with our loved ones at their final transition – though such a sad one in many ways. xoxo

  6. giecam says:

    What a wonderful way to connect and remember your mom. I’m sure sew bloggers and blog readers across the world will be sending their thoughts your way right now.

  7. Grace B. says:

    So sorry for your loss. I wish you and your family all the best in this troubled time.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Sewing is indeed very therapeutic. Keep on sewing. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  9. Oh Devra…what a lovely tribute to your mother and the relationship you shared. My deepest sympathies to you and your family during this time, and may sewing always bring you fond memories of the time you shared with her.

  10. cjgal says:

    Your mother sounds like she was an incredible woman, I’m so sorry that you lost her. I recently lost my dad (in January) and I know the devastation that you feel. For me it truly helps to remember the best of times and laugh about them. I am happy that she has given you such great sewing skills,I hope that you can find some peace in the gifts she has left in your life. Take care, I’d be happy to talk to you if you need an ear.

  11. anothersewingscientist says:

    We aren’t all lucky enough to be able to spend time with our loved ones at the end – too often it is unexpected and we miss our chance. I’m glad that despite the suffering she must have endured, you got to spend those important moments together. Stay strong (or break down as needed), but remember we’re all thinking of you and looking forward to more of the creativity that your mother inspired in you.

  12. Devra, I am so sorry to hear about your mother! It is so touching and inspiring to see how you’ve been creating those small connection pieces, so part of her can always be with you… I am thinking of you and your family.

    Many hugs,

  13. oonaballoona says:

    i bet you made her smile constantly.

    sending my love…

  14. Meg says:

    my darling friend, I am sending you hugs and love and thinking of you and your family now. I’m glad you and your mom were able to share a love of sewing, and that you got to make her smile with your creations. Like Oona said, I bet you made her smile constantly. Let us know if there is anything we can do here to support you, and we are always here to listen and love if you need it.

  15. Sally Thompson says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. How wonderful that your mom was able to impart a love of sewing to you. It will be a very giving gift. Your mom was only 4 days younger than I am. Her spirit will continue through you, I’m sure. Wishing you much peace.

  16. StephC says:

    *hugs* I’m so sorry for your loss. Sewing can help, and how lovely that you learned from her. She’ll always be there, in every stitch you sew.

  17. Oh Devra, I’m just catching up on blogs right now. I’m SO sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. She’ll always be with you, in your heart, and your sewing will be a lovely, silent tribute to her existence.

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