I’ve been living in hell this week. While driving from Northeast Ohio to Western North Carolina two days before Christmas to see my 101-year-old mother and visit with my brothers and sister-in-law, I received a call from my SIL telling me we might have to move Mother from her assisted living facility to a nursing home. Damn!
You see, my plan includes: Mother living as long as she wants—in perfect health the whole time—and then just dropping dead, painlessly, of course, from a heart attack or other instant condition. So far my plan isn’t working so well. In fact, we’re way beyond it being possible.
So, starting at about 3:00 yesterday afternoon, I started tearing my mother’s ALF apartment apart and separating things into nursing home, charity, and Ohio. I took a little break last night to catch “Into the Woods” at a Hendersonville theatre, then continued packing until 11:30. This morning I was back at it. Breakfast at Dixie Diner, quick trip to spend a few minutes with Mother, then Wal-Mart to get packing supplies. Wal-Mart? On the day after Christmas? When the place is filled with frantic shoppers looking for cheap wrapping paper? That was a big Oops!
Throughout the day, I dropped some bags of clothing at the Rescue Mission, dropped a lot of things at Goodwill, visited Mother again, and stopped by my cousin’s house to drop some things off. In between those errands, I talked to clock people and movers and kept putting more things in the car.
But let me tell you the best thing that happened in the day. I was walking down the hallway in the ALF. The door was open to one of the apartments I passed. I glanced in and then stopped dead in my tracks. This woman was a quilter. A big-time quilter! I could see her inside watching television, so I knocked on the door, introduced myself, and we talked quilts for 20 minutes.
What a wonderful break in a perfectly awful day. Her collection—”I’ve given most of them away already”—included whole cloth and tree of life and adaptations of standard patterns and works she had designed herself. The small quilt hanging on her door (see picture) was her adaptation of a Christmas card she received years ago. It was precious and priceless.
The quilts are machine pieced and hand-quilted and have entailed thousands of hours of work. Her small bedroom contains a single bed and a table with her White sewing machine. She told me it’s a “Jeans” machine. She saw the dealer demonstrate it at a show. When he sewed directly from six layers of brand new denim to one layer of chiffon without a hiccup, she was sold.
And here she is in an assisted living facility, legs gone below the knees, getting around in a wheelchair.
She smiles. Why shouldn’t she smile? She’s surrounded by beauty and creates more beauty every day.
You and I should be so lucky!