My great-grandmother made this quilt. She would have been my grandchildren’s great great great grandmother. I remember her, she died when I was eight years old. I’m sixty-four now.
The quilt is obviously old, there are holes in it and ragged edges but to me, it is a piece of history. The quilt pictured was made for my brother. I have one just like it in pink. I treasure them. As a quilter myself, I know how much effort went into cutting out and stitching together all these hexagons. It was a labor of love but no one else cares. To the rest of my family, it’s an old quilt that is falling apart.
I think about how much meaning we project onto physical objects. They can represent far more than just the physical object. The quilt represents my great-grandmother anticipating the birth of her two great-grandchildren. She lived into her nineties which was quite a feat back in the sixties.
I have told stories about her to my children but it’s not enough. They are busy making their own memories with the people in their lives.
It’s hard for me to think about that quilt getting thrown out after I’m not around to protect it. I’m trying to learn to let go but I have a soft spot in my heart for people who take the time to make beautiful things for others.
The spiritual life is about letting go. I realize that my great-grandmother is a part of me and maybe I enjoy quilting because of her. I don’t need to worry about the quilt, I can continue to enjoy it, look at it, give thanks for it, and then let it go. It’s not the physical object, it’s the memories that are important. They shape us.
Instead of trying to pass on the quilt, I want to pass on the gift of creating. I hope one of my grandchildren will learn to knit, sew, and quilt. I hope they will know the joy of giving a handcrafted gift, one that will be treasured.