Shortly after my Father died, my Mother in law asked if she could have some of his shirts for a quilt. I was busy feeling about a million different emotions and my brain was seriously fried from dealing with all the finances, the funeral plans and my giant burden of a Mother. So, I didn’t give the statement much thought, I simply led her into his closet and said, “take whatever you want.”
About a year later she presented me with a beautiful quilt made from my Father’s clothing. It was not only an amazing work of art but a touching tribute to his memory and a perfect portrayal of his spirit. It included many of the Hawaiian prints he often wore, as many large men do, as well as many of his drab work shirts and at home t-shirts. Every side of him was represented.
At first I couldn’t look at the quilt out in the open and I simply folded it up and put in the closet. It sat there quietly while I dealt with my grief. It waited there patiently while I figured out what I was going to do with all these emotions I was left with. Was I going to ignore them forever, drink them away, vomit them into the toilet, cut them out with a knife and discard of them or was I going to feel them as deeply as possible and know that as much as it hurts I can stand it and learn to live with it in a tolerable fashion.
One night as I swam in the oblivion of drunken exhaustion I stumbled into the hallway, opened the closet and pulled out the quilt. I crawled back to the couch, the quilt dragging along behind me and curled up with my bottle of wine. Contentment followed comfort and then deep dreamless sleep. I still snuggle with the quilt every night only now I cradle a cup of tea instead of a bottle of wine.
This morning I awoke to my dogs barking hysterically and the sound of a car pulling out of my driveway. On the front porch I found a huge blue and yellow gift bag, an early baby shower gift apparently from either an early rising shy family member or a kindhearted stalker. The card attached informed me that the gift was from a distant Aunt, a shy early rising Aunt.
I pulled the contents from the bag and found an adorable handmade quilt, blue and white with Hawaiian flowers. I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was looking at. There were shirts, little Hawaiian print shirts sewn into the squares. They had tiny collars and buttons, it was really quite realistically detailed.
It was just too crazy a coincidence. I now had two quilts that had been hand-made specifically for me, one was made from my late Fathers Hawaiian shirts and one was made to look like miniature Hawaiian shirts. One a tribute and one a welcoming gift. One filled with memories both good and bad and one brand new, open to the opportunities of life.
Maybe I am putting too much thought into the whole thing. Maybe my Aunt had this pattern for a while and was simply waiting to put it to use or maybe she had even begun working on it long before I was even pregnant. But I would like to think that my Dad had a little to do with this. After all, he told me to look out for things, to keep my eyes open for coincidences just like this because he would never be too far away.