Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Quilts

I try to get over to Children's Hospital about once a month, to deliver quilts to them. Yes, I am still sewing them. Since Maribeth moved, it's pretty much just I who have been sewing them. Summer has slowed me down a bit; in the fall, I am guessing that Rita and I will spend some of our rainy days sewing together. I love to work on the quilts; it's therapy for me, and I get a lot of pleasure knowing that they will bring comfort to families who have just received the worst news. I LOVE selecting the fabrics; I also love pinning them together, and sewing them, at our dining table.

There's a little bit of irony in this, because this dining table is a gorgeous, old, ornately-carved Italian (probably walnut) piece, with a matching buffet, that was a wedding gift from my great-uncle and great-aunt to my grandparents (Nana's brother & sister-in-law gave it to Nana and Coco in the early 1930s). It has six leaves (yes, six) and can seat about 16-18 people. That's a pretty substantial wedding gift, as far as I am concerned. The ironic part is that my grandmother NEVER COOKED. She had live-in, household help. We always ate dinner formally at their house, and this table was set formally. It was treated with care, and was kept immaculately. I have memories of many years of meals at that table. I am thankful for it, and appreciate the amazing artistry, craftsmanship and beauty that it represents.

It has never been a craft table before, but it is now!

Anyway, today, David was going to take my dad to the Apple store to shop for an iPod for Kappa. David loves that store, and he and Kappa both love gadgets, as well as any opportunity to do things together. Mom and I decided to go with them, as the store is near the hospital, and we would make a quick "quilt drop." So we caught the ferry this a.m., and David took Kappa to lunch, and iPod shopping. I took Mom to a different restaurant, and then to the hospital.

My mom was what used to be called a "candy-striper" (a volunteer) at this hospital when she was a teenager. We have a photo of her in her uniform. Her mother (Nana Emilie) was on the board at Children's Hospital for about 25 years. Mom & Dad were frequent visitors to the hospital & Ronald McDonald House when we were living there; they were not squeamish about being there. They came about once a week, and stayed with the kids, so that Gregg and I could go out for dinner, alone together. My sister, brother and sister-in-law also did this regularly for us; it was a gift beyond price. (Note: if you are a family member of a child who is a patient, this is a gift that you might consider offering. Parents need to be able to share a quiet, delicious meal, enjoy a few moments' peace, and be out of the "hot seat" for a bit. It gives time to regroup, re-connect, and refill your resources before going back to the work & worry of caring for a sick child.)

I digress; the point is that my mom is a big fan of the hospital, and doesn't mind visiting. She is also great supporter of the quilt project.

My mom does not sew; I myself have only learned the basics, and that, fairly recently. Mom does, however, have an eye for design, color and beauty; she is compassionate, a good listener and is a very generous woman. She loves to shop for fabric with me, and she has donated a lot of fabric to the project. She was happy to come with me today to give the quilts to the hospital.

We met Julie (our ChildLife Specialist and friend) at her office, and gave her the quilts. Here is a photo of Mom and Julie together.

Julie is expecting a baby soon -- Hooray!

After a brief visit, we went to pick up David and Kappa. On the way to the car, we stopped in the 5th floor hallway to admire the plaque that tells about Katie's endowment:

That's a great honor to her memory.
Thanks to all of you who have helped to make it possible. We love to see the many ways that Katie is remembered, because she was such a light in all of our lives. She gave us so much joy and love in her 12 and (almost) a half years.

We also ran into Amy, one of my favorite ICU nurses, in the hall on the way out. It was great to see her; she's now in a different department, so I have to find her next time. We love you, Amy!

6 comments:

Magnoliawhispers said...

Hello,
I am Tom Kline's step-mom. I recently read your blog through a link in his.
I lost my 13 yr old son in a tragic accident 16 yrs ago. I would like to correspond with you. My email address is: jackandjan2@yahoo.com.
It's a difficult journey and 16 yrs later I can thank God for all I've learned. Jan Kline

suz said...

Karen,
The dining table sounds so beautiful. What a great piece that holds so many memories.
The quilting project is just great. You are so nice to do so much for others, what a blessing you are for the other parents.
Your mom is so pretty, tell her I said so. What a great job she has done too.
Love Katie's plaque. Take care,Suz

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Karen,
I know it's wonderful and cathartic for you to deliver those quilts. And what a great treat to run into Amy, the ICU nurse you were so fond of!
Even though my son J has been out of the NICU for over 12 years now, I still hold that NICU staff in SUCH high regard... the neonatologists, NICU nurses, respiratory therapists, etc. To me, they were like angels. Very special people work in the pediatric ICU's!

Anonymous said...

Wish I lived closer so I could donate fabric - I still have a lot as I used to sell it at my store. Where would one send $$ donations for fabric, or do you already have as much as you'd need?

Like mother, like daughter, like granddaughter - very beautiful women. I loved the dress!

L in Alaska

karengberger said...

Dear L in Alaska,

Thank you for thinking of this; we would always be grateful for donations of fabric (or funds) to the project. I don't have a formal set-up for it, as I run it out of my home. If you want to find my email, it's on Katies' Caringbridge site (you'll have to look for it, as it's not on the welcome page; it's purposely sort of hidden). Or you can put yours in a comment, and I will send mine to you. Thanks again for thinking of helping!

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