Journeys and journaling are obviously topics near and dear to my heart. I have spent a life time learning about the paths that lead me to the places I need to be and to the events and the people that I need to experience and to learn from.
This week, I am blessed with the opportunity to head north...north to Alaska...to join with my large extended family in the celebration of my father's 90th birthday and my mother's fifth year of remission from stage 3b inflammatory breast cancer. Magnificent milestones for proud, honorable and steadfast people. My dear parents who have battled so many of life's challenges and obstacles, continue to battle new one, and are worthy of honoring and recognition.
In their honor..two quilts. For my father, the 'Turning Ninety' quilt of a previous post, based on my variation of a 'Turning Twenty' pattern. Using vintage photos and reproduction fabrics from WW2, I honor his service as a Warrant Officer on a ship in the Aleutian Islands and his own journey of five thousands miles to meet and marry his Cajun French penpal, my mother.
For my mother, a quilt filled with memories to fill her heart with love as it gives her a place to calm her hands and allow them the gentle touch of memories. The transferred photos depict our journey of healing and all of the healers who worked with us, along the way. Living with us for nine months, she, my dad and I faced the challenges with her through weekly chemo treatments, surgery, and then daily radiation. I named this quilt, 'Manifesting Miracles'. I was told that her chances for survival had been less than one percent without all three successfully achieved treatments. We faced them head on and beat the odds, together. She was, and is a living miracle.
Little did we know, what I was already sensing. Memories were beginning to be ever more dear and special for as her vision begin to fade with diabetes, glaucoma, and the the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, this simple tactile photo quilt became a place of soft memories and gentle, calming touch for her. She loved it so.
And my dad? Perhaps, he almost loved his patriotic memories photo quilt even more. The years of serving his country with courage and honor, of meeting and falling in love with his beautiful French penpal from Louisiana and bringing her north to Alaska to live and raise a family of five children.
They loved their quilts, stroking them, looking up close at the photos, feeling the different fabrics, the quilting, how it was all pieced made them so happy and so proud that I had learned to do this for them. Knowing just how much I loved them. They were dear and special gifts ..for them, for and from me.
And so, I journal, and so I leave for my journey; to connect with my family, to re-connect with my roots. I yearn to hear the ocean's heartbeat, feel the strong northern winds on my face, walk in the snow and listen to the pull of rich metals in the mountain's depths.
I take my quilts with me, grateful for this new medium of expression and of love, shared. I am so thankful that I learned to quilt, however simply it still may be. Grateful that I have learned so much from all of you and have the opportunity for sharing my experiences and my voice. I will be back in two weeks, stronger and more grounded, filled with new memories, but missing two dear people and two more of my quilts!