Sunday, September 28, 2008
Happy Birthday Mum!
Today is my mother in law B.'s 86th birthday. For her 85th birthday last year,I made her these quilts. The quilt is a pattern from Fons and Porter magazine- July/August of 2007. I believe that the name was Summer Star. The matching dolly quilt is a half size block and I added prairie points to make is large enough to cover the doll.
My husband took the quilts to her as she lives on the West Coast(about 1000 miles away) in a care facility. It is a wonderful homey place where she is well cared for and her needs are being met- You see, she has Alzheimer's and needs a protected environment. Alzheimer's is a dreadful illness that robs loved ones of the person - not in one fell swoop but by taking them by inches at a time. It is difficult to stand by and watch the changes.
However one comes to appreciate and value that she is able to live in a comfortable and caring environment. Mum is well liked by the nursing staff,often spending time with them while they are having coffee. Some days she is bright and connected to this world and other days it is as if she is visiting another place. As her children, we miss the vibrant bright articulate woman that she was. She was a devoted wife,loving mother,friend to her in law children, family oriented and oh so many more things. B.loved to paint,sew, make bread, share recipes,listen to classical music and read. She grew up on Canada's eastern seaboard and loved things from the ocean. B. collected rocks and shells,things from the natural world, books and for a time,fabric. B loved baskets and boxes and put her collections in them so that they could be lovingly displayed. She enjoyed puttering in the garden and was very fond of violets and pansies. B loved soft blues and green and the pastel colors that sooth one's soul. She experimented with painting on silk and created lovely watercolor pictures. B. made some lovely artsy quilts for her oldest grandchildren. She and my father in law had a rich life together- even after he suffered a major stroke because of her steadfast support and determination to help him recover. Dad often attributed his recuperation to her assistance and caring. He passed away quite suddenly last fall- we miss him still. My inlaws were devoted to one another and,as the Alzheimer's progressed,my father in law held fast determined to care for her in spite of her growing needs. Through it all, Dad was her grounding wire. As a family, we were able to help provide support, especially my husband's sister and her family who shared a house with them. While the Alzheimer's continues to steal away her language,it can't take away the many gifts that she has blessed us with through out her life. Now we treasure her moments of clarity and the small pleasures she finds in her daily living environment.
My husband will be going away next week to visit his mum for a few days. He is looking forward to enjoying some time with her. Here's to you Mum- I hope you are having a wonderful day!