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If you can't find a copy of the May/June issue in your area, please email us and we will let you know where to get one.
Loss is an inevitable part of life, and when we lose someone we are close to, it always seems to leave a big void in our hearts. There are many ways to cope with grief - but none of them will ease the pain completely.
The best advice I was given a few years ago was from a grief counsellor who told me that each death is different - different circumstances, different relationship with you - and because each situation is unique, there is no 'right way' to grieve. The best we can do is find a way that helps us remember the positive things about our relationship with our deceased loved one, and by doing so we can keep a part of them - and how they affected our lives - with us.
Shortly before I began work on the May/June issue I received an email and picture that really spoke to me of healing and remembering in a positive way. Lena - our cover artist - lost a daughter to cancer. A daughter she had spent many happy times shopping and quilting with. In her grief, some friends suggested she make a challenging quilt to have something positive to focus on and take her mind off her loss for a while.
The making of this quilt became a tribute to her daughter - and a way for Lena to cope with her loss. Not only was the quilt itself a work of art worthy of a cover feature - it was the story behind the quilt that I really wanted to share with all of you.
To lose someone we love is never an easy situation, but if we can find a way to pay tribute to them by creating something that we can use to share memories with others, or just look at and remember better times ourselves, it will not only help the rawness of our grief to heal - it will also be an inspiration to others who will or have faced loss and grief.
We may not all be quilters, and the loved one we have lost may not have quilted either, but there are many creative ways to establish a tribute. Plant a special flower or tree, buy a special outdoor bench or create a place outdoors where you can enjoy the beauty of nature and remember happier times outdoors with that person. Write a journal of memories that you can share with others who knew that person. Take a trip somewhere you both wanted to go or went together in the past, and dedicate that trip and time to the special memories you have together.
When my mom passed away almost five years ago, I made a commitment that I would take a train across Canada from Halifax to Prince George to relive and journal her life after immigrating to Canada as a refugee following WWII. I wish I could have made the trip with her to relive her stories first hand, but she shared many of them with me over the years, and the biggest honour I can do for her is to remember those memories and share them with others.
Lena has inspired me with her decision to make something beautiful to remember her daughter by, and even though she now has another daughter undergoing cancer treatments she continues to be optimistic and positive, and already has found ways to create memories that will endure whatever battles lie ahead.
Some may view gardening, painting, sewing, knitting and all such hobbies as frivolous and costly, but if they become a means to lessen our grief in the dark times of our lives, then it is time and money well spent!
|Meet our Cover Artist: Lena Szmadyla|
"My Journey to Peace - Piece by Piece
Some of my quilting friends formed a Tula Pink Butterfly Club and invited me to join them. The project was a daunting one but they encouraged me with “yes you can do it”.
I needed a challenge to focus on at this time, to distract from me from a restless heart and soul while pining for my daughter Judy, who lost a long battle with cancer. Judy and I quilted together, shopped for fabric treasures, attended retreats together and enjoyed many visits when I flew to Mission, BC to spend time with her and her family.
So we all got our Tula Pink Butterfly pattern and began our projects. I based my colour choices on Judy’s favorite colours and incorporated some of her fabrics into the pattern. The very top two big circles were her fabrics and I expanded from there.
We met once a month at Quilting from the Heart in Camrose and brought our finished sections to show off. I found the project challenging but I persevered and began to feel an acceptance of her loss and just cried when I had to rip a section apart and redo it. Tear by tear the butterfly began to emerge and wow -- “look Judy, see what we have done?”
The background mottled yellow is the sunshine Judy brought wherever she went and the butterfly is her spirit, bringing peace to my heart and soul. The quilt will be hung in my sewing area where we can continue sewing together!
Upon the completion of our projects Ardelle (Quilting from the Heart) hosted a "Show and Tell" tea party for all of us with butterflies that we set free.
Thanks to all my quilting friends for lending me a “wing” when I needed it!
- Lena Szmadyla