"I Want to Go Home"
Michele Savikko Bilyeu
Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon
My mother sat in our childhood home on Douglas Island, Alaska. A house she had lived in with my father and raised 5 children for 60 years.
Yet for the last years of her life, for as long as she could still talk, every single day, over and over and over, she would tell us “I Want to Go Home.”
Our lives, like all of her memories, were now devastated by the horrors of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Topsy-turvy, inside out, blown like the hurricane force of our Taku Winds, we would work endlessly caring for her from early in the morning to late at night.
Those endless words floated and sank, sometime hidden, sometimes taking over, like flotsam and jetsam in the waves of our Gastineau Channel.
I would travel from Oregon to Alaska as many as 4 times in a year and stay and help my father care for my mother until neither of us could lift or carry her any longer. Then my brothers would come in and they too, had to take over.
In time we all learned that her world was now our world, both in memory and in our DNA
And it only got worse before it all came to end after the end of 8 very, very, long and challenging years.
I still want to go home. But my mother and father are both gone now. And a brother and his family live in our home. Nothing was ever the same then, and it still isn’t.
But the words are there “I Want To Go Home.”
I cared for my mother in my married home in Salem, Oregon for 9 months while she battled Stage 3b of Inflammatory Breast Cancer and underwent chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation.
She survived the disease and all of its treatments, only to return to Alaska and face the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease. I traveled back and forth from Salem to Douglas Island,Alaska multiple times a year for the next 8 years of her life, caring for her, and loving her, and now..missing her still.
This is my 2015 challenge quilt entry for my Mid-Valley Quilt Guild Quilt Show Challenge. The challenge quilts were on display at the Polk County Fairgrounds during our biennial quilt show and are now heading for the Salem Public Library and then Greenbaum's Quilted Forest after that.
Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!