Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Letter To My Son

It took me over a year, but I’ve finally finished a special quilt that I’ve been working on.  It was a present for my mother. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for the past 7 months, I’ve been immersed in caring for both of my parents.  But, that’s another story for another day...

Those who are regular readers of my blog know that my brother passed away from complications of scleroderma in November, 2010.  In June of last year, I decided I wanted to learn how to make a portrait quilt and took an online class from Marilyn Belford through Quilt University. I had never taken an online class before, but it was a great learning experience, and Marilyn is a great teacher. I selected a picture of my brother as the subject, intending to finish it for Christmas and give it to my mother then.  Then my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in September, and I ended up in the hospital for Christmas (I’m fine now). I blew through the Christmas deadline.  The next deadline was my mother’s birthday in May, and I’m glad to say I finished it (enough).  Enough…you know…not completely done but done “enough” to give to her for her birthday and then take it back to finish it.  I’m glad to say that I have actually finished it.

This is the picture I used for the quilt inspiration
Giles_Marc-boat small

The first step in the process was to make a line drawing from a blown up picture

The audition process.  Marilyn was very tactful when she said my facial fabric choices were great if I was going for a “impressionist” look.  I had to change my direction.

The finished quilt
Mark quilt

Here’s a close up
Mark quilt closeup2

My mother wrote a letter to my brother on the first birthday after his passing.  It was a beautiful letter, so I decided to use the letter for the label on the back of the quilt.  I framed the letter with a wood-patterned fabric so it looks like a picture frame. 
Mark quilt letter label

I named the quilt “A Letter To My Son”.  We had a party in the nursing home for mom on her 79th birthday in May, and I gave her the quilt. She loved it..
Moms 79th birthday quilt

For those who would like to read the letter, I’ve reproduced it below.  Be warned, however, that there might be some tears involved.

A Letter to My Son

Written by Judith Reid on July 18, 2011
Tribute to Mark Reid
July 18, 1956--November 30, 2010

Dear Mark,
So…how is it? Eternal Life – so far, I mean. Are you surprised to be there as we are for you to be there? Not that we are surprised you are in heaven, mind you, but surprised, shocked, and saddened that you are there so soon. It doesn’t make sense to us who are left on this side of life. Does it make sense to you from there? You had too much life yet to live, and in the midst of our disappointment, your earthly life was cut too short. There were too many family photos yet to take with you in them; too many conversations yet to have; too much life to still enjoy. You were multi-talented being a carpenter, building a house, which together with Ruth, was made into a loving home. Also, you were a mechanic and a gardener which you so much enjoyed doing. How much you both enjoyed and followed NASCAR and boating with friends. Your move to Ft. Myers, Florida was so enjoyable with meeting new friends and visits with old neighbors from Michigan, which was short-lived due to your illness.

What wonderful life lessons you taught your children to carry into adulthood and how proud they were of their Dad and how much they loved you. They are forever grateful for the delightful and precious relationships they had with you. You and Ruth have raised them very well with a wonderful married relationship. What a great gift you gave us and yourself by packing so much life into so little time. We were so proud when your first born daughter Amanda became our first grandchild and Grandma & Grandpa Reid had their first great grandchild.

Please allow us some time, and some space, to cry, grieve and mourn in our loss. For you were vital and full of life for your family, your friends, and your community. That which you gave was reciprocated, as evidenced by the outpouring of love and care of others during your celebration of life. You were a wonderful loving son who was deeply loved and you will be in our hearts forever. We miss you, especially your phone calls, your smile and that tinkle in your eye.

Love Always,
Mom and Dad

Hope you enjoyed the quilt show.  Take care.


  1. Wow. Your portrait quilt alone is quite an accomplishment, but taken together with the meaning behind it, it is just amazing. Your mom's letter is truly touching.
    Thanks for sharing this. I hope your Mom and Dad are doing well.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. It is absolutely stunning and while your Mom is enjoying this, I am sure your brother is looking down and smiling.

  3. You did a beautiful job with the memorial quilt and putting it together with your mother's letter is just perfect. Thank you for sharing. Bernie

  4. Well yes, that made me tear up....the quilt is amazing, you did a most wonderful job on it, I can't imagine how difficult that was...the letter made me tear up too...big big hugs to you and yours, sweetie!!!

  5. Well you were right about the letter. It's heart wrenching. The quilt is an amazing tribute and absolutely stunning. What a beautiful gift for your mother. I'm hope the journey you took making this brought you solace.

  6. Your quilts is wonderful...tears here over that letter!


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