Sorrow and bereavement touched our extended family this weekend.
For comfort, I burrow into this friendship quilt that I made eleven years ago, some time before the events occurred that culminated in the past couple of days’ sadness.
The quilt is queen-size, draped now on my new double bed made from an old twin-size bed of Canadian pine.
The old bed, almost fifteen years old, was widened from 36 inches to 54 fore and aft over the weekend by a master furniture craftsman using sixty-year old tanguile (lauan) wood left over from when the racehorse stables beneath our little apartment were destroyed.
It is a reused and recycled bed. The quilt is recycled too, made with scraps of fabric left over from other projects. Both are made with organic materials – wood, cotton – and time – years and years of time.
Quilts, like furniture, are built artifacts.They are constructed. Each element is cut with allowances to permit joining; careful attention is given to shapes, patterns, and the way they are put together.
Sometimes mistakes are made in cutting the quilt squares or the wood for a bed leg or post. Adjustments must then be made – a tuck in the sashing here, an additional inch of wood glued on there.
Life is like a quilt, or a crafted bed. We build our lives by hand, with materials organic to our individual journey – tears, laughter, sweat, mistakes, sorrow, joy. We reuse and recycle experiences and feelings. We make decisions that may be right or wrong. We learn from them; sometimes we do not.
For a quilt, the finishing touch is the tag at the back. On it are written the name of the quilt, the date it was finished, and other information that the quiltmaker wishes future owners of the quilt to know. It tells the history of the quilt and the maker.
This weekend’s sadness stems from events that occurred mere months after I finished this quilt.
The quilt was done long ago.
The bed was done this afternoon.
The story begun in sorrow eleven years ago ends now, also in sorrow.
Let it be done. Let the lessons be learned. Let life go on. Let years roll by that will cover over the heartache and allow the moving on.
I burrow under the quilt and hope that happiness returns soon.