I lost a dear friend in a car wreck several years before Lisa died. His young wife was left raising two boys, ages 3 and 3 months at the time. She’s been a great resource for me over the past few years.
One special thing I saw her do was to turn some of Trey’s clothes into quilts for her boys. I’ve thought about that for quite some time – what a great way to preserve memories.
It happened that a friend of mine had a cousin who is a quilter. She hooked the two of us up.
So last winter I split Lisa’s clothes into two piles – the special pieces I wanted to keep, that maybe the girls might want in the future – and those to give away.
The girls went through the give away pile and each chose outfits they really liked or that had special meaning to them.
I tagged each article of clothing with the name of the kid who wanted a swatch of that material in her quilt. I boxed them all up and shipped them to Boston and the quilter began the quilting.
For Christmas, I wrapped up my recently received blankets and put them under the tree. They were the last three presents left on Christmas morning.
I wasn’t sure if they’d really get it – if they’d appreciate all that was sewn into this priceless throw. But they did. Even Michelle seemed to comprehend the significance of this gift.
Much to my dismay, Lisa loved her flannel pajamas. She had three pair of hot pink ones. The quilter took a pocket from each and made it a square of its own.
Each one also had the letters of Lisa’s sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and an emblem from St. Timothy’s School – the place where she worked, the place where they had spent so many happy years together.
We walked through each square on all three blankets. We saw her favorite blue ruffled shirt, the black dress she often wore to church in the winter, and the walking shorts she’d sported with her new Rainbow flip-flops.
Each has a square of the pink silk blouse Lisa wore to fancy events. I remember the white eyelet shirt I gave her many, many years ago. And DJs sports the tan linen overalls Lisa was obsessed with in the spring of 2003.
The blankets will have to be dry cleaned, there are literally thousands of dollars in clothing stitched into these 4′ by 5′ rectangles. But they were made to be used, not to be folded across the back of a chair.
I imagine my girls wrapping up in their blanket with their own kids on a chilly Christmas Eve – thoughts of their mom and dad prancing through their heads. I can envision them using it as a protective shield when some slim-ball dude breaks their heart in college. Maybe it will be a comforting salve when they’re sick, and their dad isn’t around to nurse them back to health.
These special conglomerations of fabric are more than blankets. They’re a physical representation of Lisa’s love that can be wrapped around them at any needed time or place.
I think we all really need one of these.