Just finished the top layer of a quilt I've been working on since my mother died. Using her old bedsheets, it was an opportunity to remember how her bed was my nest growing up--a place we played, a place of early morning snuggles before getting ready for school, and a place to discuss old ideas in new ways. These old and nearly tattered sheets hold memories and feelings. These sheets hold home.
But the pattern matters almost as much as the fabric. With a path down the middle to represent the path of life, there are many different sizes of paths leading off to a variety of sized places. As I made this quilt, I couldn't stop thinking about my mother's life and I remembered how when she was dying, I learned how little I actually knew about her. She had a life quite separate from me! Of course she did, but until I could see the scope of her life, she was always just Mom to me. I began to imagine what those large and small paths leading off to tiny and big places would have been for her. Hawaii? Egypt? Costa Rica? Motherhood? Cook and baker? Lover of birds? Leaf collector? Aficionado of the colour blue? I can only imagine.
But in my imagining about her, I think about me. Where do I find meaning? How do I want to spend my time? What matters most to me? How would I tell the story of my life? What pattern would I use? What colours? Where is my path? What are the threads?
I begin to see how stories continue, how the same thread appears and disappears over and over again. How something old like bedsheets still have meaning and hold the power to reshape thoughts.