Sunday, June 21, 2009
Hello, dear friends, I have missed you. I know it has been a very long time between posts but there are reasons which I will tell you. Just after Mother's Day, we found out that my father had end stage esophageal cancer and would not be with us very much longer. I spent several days in a daze.....what could I do, was there anything to be done?? There was not, and my father chose to stay at home and spend his last days out of the hospital and doing what he could do. Me, being me, decided that I needed to put my energy and helplessness to work - so I tried an art quilt, an undertaking that both challenged me and soothed my aching heart - I know the pictures are not in the right order but you get the big picture - I put my heart into this, the first art quilt I have ever done. My father did not live to Father's Day - he passed away last Saturday - but he got the quilt, and he got the love and the message, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This is what I said about the quilt in my letter:
This art quilt is the first fabric collage I have ever made – I have done paper collages but never tried with fabric. I wanted this to embody all those wonderful years growing up in Maine. The colors are of the sea – there is music and the line is, of course, from Joan Baez – there are bits of mermaid’s tears, shaped like hearts, and there are Tom and I, in awesome photos taken by you. The whale tail is in remembrance of the baby whale that was beached, and you organized a party of college kids to pour the sea water over her until she could be pulled out to where her anxious mother was waiting for her. Tom and I watched that with awe, and it instilled in me a love for all things great and small in the natural world, most especially by the ocean. Tucked into the heart are some herbs I grew – there’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, and Provence lavender for your beloved and my ancestral France. The snippets of old lace and trim are from the grandmothers – pieces of old linens I had from both grandmothers that I have saved over the years. The driftwood piece to hang it from was beachcombed by me on the coast of Maine. The beach roses were blooming when I found it – the scent haunts me and pulls me – no one really understands that longing, but I am OK with that.
My father was a complex man, and our relationship was on and off because of his re-marriage to a woman who wanted to pretend my brother and I did not exist - but we did, and we are what we are today because of the way we were raised, including the early years with a man who saw life and the world a little differently than most - a professor, a writer, a music man, a beatnik, a rebel, a State Legislator, a photographer, and mostly, my father.
I love you, Daddy - I will miss you deeply for the rest of my life. Till we meet on the other side, Happy Father's Day, Daddy, and rest peacefully. Love, Marji