When you receive a phone call from your Mom in the middle of the day and she asks you where you are, the news is never going to be good. I told her that I was working at home that day and she then asked if K (my daughter)was in the room with me, I responded "no." She then told me that she had some "not so good news." My heart sank as I knew that "no so good" is code for pretty stinky, really bad news. That is when she told me that our dear friend J had just been diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer.
You see, J is more than a dear friend, she is framily, which made the news that much harder to take. Framily is a friend that is like family. J's husband and my father have been dear friends since 6th grade and I grew up with J and her family. J and my Mom were pregnant together. J and T (her husband) were some of the first people that I told when I got engaged. T gave the blessing before dinner at my wedding reception, they were some of the first people that my husband and I told when I was pregnant with first K and then N. They are framily that I know would do anything for us if we ever needed them.
So when my Mom told me that horrific news, I knew that I needed to sew something and I needed to get it finished quick. I immediately hopped in the car with K and headed to the fabric store. On my way there, my Aunt N called me. She is the quilter who inspired me to start quilting and told me that she wanted to help me with the quilt and told me about a quilt that she made for her sister-in-law. With that J's quilt was born. I returned home and got on the internet while my Aunt headed to her quilt store clear across the country (California...and I live in NY) and I looked at fabric while she looked in her store ((Oops-A-Daisy by Keiki for Moda) . My Aunt N and her quilt group made the nine patch blocks on the front, cut my inner border and made my binding.
Fabric was put in the mail and I immediately started to reach out to J's family, friends and framily to have them send me their left hand print. I set out to make J a quilt with the hand prints of all those who love her and support her...to wrap her in love while she kicked cancer in its behind. The response was overwhelming and I knew that I was not going to have enough fabric. While on a business trip, I stopped at one of my favorite little quilt stores and low and behold, they had just received some fabric from this line in the prior day. The fabric for the nine patches on the back as well as the cute white flowers on the back were added to the quilt.
The quilt was a challenge for me due to the pain that I felt for J and her family with the horrific news. I learned how to applique as I had never appliqued before (and boy did I learn with 47 hand nad puppy prints). It was also a lesson in time management as I had just shy of 3 weeks to complete the quilt. I have to admit that my housekeeping was horrific during that time period, but it was completely worth it to finish this quilt!
There are 47 handprints and puppy prints that were sent to me from all across the country. The out pouring of love for J was amazing. I had never appliqued a quilt before in my short quilting time and took this on knowing that it was for someone who my family loves and is praying for. I finished the quilt in 3.5 weeks, start to finish, which is a record for me. Through every snip of the scissors, stitch that was made (and ripped out- there were quite a few as I quilted half of the quilt and ripped it all out because it was not good enough for J), prayers were said for her healing.
My Dad and his friend, also part of the framily, flew to Florida to deliver the quilt to J in September. I wish I could have been there with them, but know that J was wrapped in our love, support and our prayers.
I thought she was the one who could beat cancer, that she would be one of the 5% that do, but God had other plans, J went to heaven on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. I hope that the quilt can bring comfort to her family just as it brought her comfort during her battle.
We love you J!