We celebrated Christmas without her with good food and some gifts and a wicked game of floor hockey in which the kids wiped the floor with the parents. We read a poem about her spending Christmas with Jesus this year, the words making us all cry and feel little jealous that she is in heaven and we were in Rockford. So we cried a little but we laughed a lot too and then there was this moment when from under the tree emerged nine lumpy packages wrapped in silver and red and with the names of nine beloved grand babies on them. And inside we found one for him, backed in green since she knew it is his favorite.
And one for her, covered in hand-appliqued flowers since she was too little for Mumsy to know what she really liked, but she took a guess at flowers and got it just right.
And one for her, in vintage fabrics and a braid pattern that reminds me of Laura Ingalls and bordered with Daisies, which have to be the happiest flower. Have to be.
And one for him, crawling with bugs that she’d picked out to pay homage to the frights he used to give her, walking up doing his tongue smile, something slimy in his dirty hands that he wanted to show her. Something he found behind the cottage or by the dock.
She got as far as choosing the fabric, painstakingly. And then she realized she was going downhill too quickly to ever see them to fruition. And in walked a group of quilters, dear patrons of The New Ewe
taking the fabrics and the patterns and doing this for her. For them. For us. Believing that she would be more peaceful in the end if she knew there were women in Hastings piecing and stitching and praying for her babies. And she was. And so, nine months later we find nine lumpy packages under the tree that made nine children miss their Mumsy a little less. Nine quilts for nine grandchildren who will never feel her arms around them again, but will lay in bed each night wrapped in the love born on these gifts.
There are pictures and thank you cards ready to go in the mailbox, but how do you thank someone for giving you back a piece of someone you’ve lost, really? Surely Hallmark doesn’t even have a card for such as this. So in lieu of anything that even comes close to being enough, we offer thanks overflowing and prayers of blessings and the promise to pay it forward somehow, this huge kindness.
This is me being real. Overwhelmed by these tiny stitches painstakingly made by people who have never even met our kids. Pretty sure nothing under our tree can top this gift, not even the big ones. Nothing can top this gift. Except Jesus.