Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Sign from Up Above

A little over a year and half ago, my cousin Preston was diagnosed with Lymphoma at the young age of 29. Throughout his battle he constantly stayed positive and continued to laugh and touch people's lives.

I had wanted to make Preston a quilt when he was readmitted to the hospital last June, but I didn't have the chance. I was at a quilt retreat when I got the update that the cancer had spread to Preston's spinal cord and I was devastated. At this point it was clear that he would be unable to recover and it was only a matter of time. Feeling incredibly helpless and sad for Preston and his family, I had no words, so I decided to make a quilt.

His sister, Lindsey, was by his side during his treatment and was just as courageous as her brother. She kept his friends and family updated on his status and relayed messages when Preston lost his ability to speak. I was in awe of Lindsey's strength and was touched by the love she had for her one and only sibling. Again, no words, but I could quilt.

On the day that Preston passed away, Lindsey wrote a poem for her brother. He had asked that his ashes be spread in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, under the northern lights. With my Bernina embroidery unit, I created a label with Lindsey's poem and appliqued it to the quilt.

I was pregnant at the time and in the process of selling our condo and building a house. For any quilter who has ever put their house on the market you know how inconvenient it can be to get ready for a showing with just a minutes notice. So I sadly packed the incomplete quilt away and vowed to finish it after the move.

Fast forward to June 2011 and we're moved, but not unpacked completely! I did unpack the quilt in progress and put it at the top of my to-do-list. I finished the quilt and happily took it to the post office.

I had asked my Uncle David for Lindsey's address so that the package would be a surprise. She was in the process of moving so he gave me her mother's address instead so that it wouldn't get lost in the transition.

Two days later I got the sweetest note from Lindsey that brought me to tears!

"Dear Amanda,

This may be redundant because I just sent you something in the mail, but after I dropped the envelope off I realized I wanted to thank you RIGHT AWAY!

I was at my mom's house watering her plants and I almost missed the box! It was sitting in the bushes by the gate! I planned on taking it back to their house until I realized it was addressed to me! When I opened it I was just stunned. That is the most beautiful and thoughtful gift I have ever received from anyone! Needless to say it made me cry a lot, but in a good way. It's great to have those words on a such a beautiful keepsake. It's kind of neat that I got it on HIS birthday too, when I really needed a "pick-me-up."

Well, I already sent you something in the mail, but I really am so excited about this quilt that I want to thank you immediately. It really means so much to me and it's beautiful. Thank you so much! I'm still in awe of it all! Thank you!

Love,
Lindsey"

The quilt arrived on June 15, Preston's birthday. I think it was a sign from up above!


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