sewing & needlework
wrapped in blooms

wrapped in blooms

It was an ordinary Monday morning, when an ordinary ping on my phone had me tapping an ordinary gmail notification – just like I had a million times before – which led to my phone opening an email with news that was anything other than ordinary. After eighteen years, our women’s pastor and my very dear friend was leaving not only our church, but moving away. I screenshot the email and texted it to the mister. I had a little cry. And then I got to work.

We’ve farewelled plenty of folks from our church friend group over the years, but this one hit particularly hard; it felt like the end of an era. We’d only been part of our church for maybe 18 months when she joined the clergy team, and almost two decades later, that’s a mere blip in the time line. For all intents and purposes, she’s part of the OG circle. She’s been there as we welcomed our first child (and second, third, fourth). She’s watched our babies grow up through creche, mezzies (our preschool sunday school class), into her own big kids Sunday school class; and then into grungy teens rolling into Friday night Youth Group. She’s been there for Tuesday morning young mums bible study and Thursday night old girls bible study. She’s sat beside me as I painted cupboards in our town house, feeding me chocolate and listening to me whine. She’s been there as we cancelled bible study in favour of pouring wine and crying for a dear baby delivered sleeping into Jesus’ arms. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried and we’ve done life, for the better part of two decades, and now she was leaving.

It’s always hard to say goodbye, but as well as saying goodbye to a dear friend, it felt like saying goodbye to the last link to those early days of parenting, to that group of friends who knew us so deeply. Everyone else has long since moved away, friends whose updates are the main reason I can’t make the final break from Facebook. The older folks from those days, who’d nurtured and mentored us, who doted on our tiny babies like surrogate grandparents, their ranks are also slowing thinning out. And now the one last friend from that time was leaving too.

When the emotions get tough, the quilting tools get going. Making quilts for those I love best during hard times is the one constant in fifteen years of creative change. Whether it be a cancer diagnosis or a stillborn baby or a transcontinental move, it comes with a quilt. I knew the bundle of fabrics I had stashed in my drawer would be the perfect choice for this quilt, and for possibly the first time in my life, I was able to chip away at it over a couple of weeks rather that power-sew in like 48 hours and lose my mind and also control of the entire house’s chores.

The end result came up beautifully; conferring with a friend mid-process, we both agreed it was very “her”. In the end, the entire process came full circle. On an ordinary Tuesday evening, an ordinary ping had me picking up my phone and opening an ordinary message; just like I’ve done a million times before. And there was a photo from my dear friend, tucked up under the quilt with a book. 18 years of memories wrapped around her and sending her off into the next chapter with all our love and prayers.

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