When the Heart Grieves

As an ardent supporter of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI , this is one of the quilts that I made during a challenging time, when I still tried to create and donate as many quilts as I could fit into a busy life and crazy schedule.

It was made in honor of my mother who had Alzheimer's Disease.  Alzheimer's is known as the 'long goodbye' as you say by day...moment by the person you once knew as they change into something you've never known before. And worse of all, they change into someone who does not know you. It doesn't matter if you are the spouse, the grown child, a grand child, or a great grandchild. Relationships are often the first thing to slip away and out of the lost memories and it is very hard and very, very sad.

My mother passed away on Sept. 8, 2013. She died after I created, and donated this quilt. So, the wording makes it sound like she is still alive. She is not. Now, we have all lost our last chance to say that one last 'goodbye'.   My mother battled Alzheimer's Disease for 8 long and very, very challenging years. She had already begun her 9th year when she gracefully slipped away and into the deep sleep that follows this long goodbye. And while, we are relieved that her challenges are over, we miss her deeply and we are truly grieving. 

We grieve the loss of our mother, but we also grieve how she was cheated out of those last 8 years when we could have had so much more with her instead of the shell of the person that we worked so hard to physically take of..each of us taking our turn over the years, in our childhood home on our little island in Alaska.

Please consider the purchase of this quilt and help us earn as much money for research funding as we can, before it is too late for me, for you, for any and all of us.

Yes, I know that AAQI's price of $50 may seem like a lot for such a small art quilt. But it still took me an entire day to create and over 8 years to infuse with love. life, and loss. It carries my heart, my mother's heart, and a family's heart in every stitch.

And again, you are not just purchasing a quilt that I have created and donated. You are making a wonderful pledge of support to Alzheimer's Research funding as all profits go to major institutions to fund new or current research studies.

13,891 - When The Heart Grieves

13,891 - When The Heart Grieves

Michele Bilyeu
Salem, OR USA
Width: 12" Length: 9"

Materials/Techniques: Vintage designer fabrics, raw edge applique, machine stitching, oil paint sticks, watercolor paints, inkjet printing, and glass beads.

Artist Statement: Our hearts grieve for the loss of our parents who have passed on and our hearts grieve for the loss of who we knew those parents to be. But we are always, always grateful for whatever time we have been able to have with matter how hard it is to see them this way, or having to do so much care giving because of it.

Contact Michele
Dedication: For my father who has passed, and for my mother who we love and care for by ourselves in our childhood home in Alaska. We mourn the loss of our father, and we mourn the loss of the mother that we once had. We are grateful to still have our mother with spite of all of the challenges of her full time care. It has been the hardest thing that any of us have ever had to do but we do it from full hearts filled with love and not anger.

This quilt has Fast Finish Triangles.

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!


More of My AAQI Quilts Selling in Houston at IQF!

Link For: AAQI Quilt Sales Tally Updated: Houston International Quilt Festival

18 of my small format art quilts are in Houston at the Houston International Quilt Festival  where they can be found on display in the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) booth and are available for  purchase. A profits from the sale of all of our quilts go towards Alzheimer's Research funding.

And my other 2, that have been part of the Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope Traveling Exhibit, will be part of the AAQI December Auction...our very last month for selling these very, very special small format art quilts.

And the best news of all!  We have already reached our $1,000,000 Challenge. Our AAQI founder and president, Ami Simms, set a far reaching goal of earning one million dollars for Alzheimer's Disease research funding. And we have met and are now surpassing that goal!

Our celebrity auction for November 1-10 is going full swing and has already had the most amazing bids, and bidders. Check it out here: Celebrity Invitational Quilt Auction  Several of the quilts are already up over $1,000 and we have days to go until the auction ends. Amazing and Wonderful!!!

Beth Hartford, our amazing AAQI Quilt Registrar, has been kind enough to 'catch' several of my quilts being purchased and actually asked the quilt buyers if they minded having a photo taken to email to me! Loved, loved, loved seeing their lovely faces! Feels good to sell them...11 as of Sunday, the 3nd, and even better to see them go to loving homes!

I am so very proud to have been a part of this amazing group of quilters, to have started my own Liberated Quilting Challenge to members of our online quilters (and this larger group of mine has created 640 quilts for donation and most of those have sold!) and to have spent the past 6 plus years making and donating quilts to this organization. As I wrote in my $1,000 Promise Statement for Ami Simms, the founder of AAQI:

As I wrote back then:

" As a member of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, I was asked by Ami Simms to send a 2" x 6" strip of purple fabric with the name of someone I loved on the back. The name of someone who has, or has had, Alzheimer's Disease, or a related dementia. As I began to write their names on the back, it was like I could hear an honorary roll call being read out loud with each and every name. At first I had a lump in my throat, and then a pain in my heart and suddenly I began to feel tears as they streamed down my face.

Nine names, nine purple strips, nine lives touched and destroyed by the hurricane force of this horrible disease. Nine people in my family alone, in my memory, in my own relating generation, in my DNA, in my own heart. Since that day, six more names have been added to that fate-filled list, including my own mother who now has advanced Alzheimer's, and my father who just passed away with his own early dementia.

Now, there are not nine, but 15 members of my immediate family whose purple ribbons are waving in the ribbons of love in my heart.. and out of that 15....only my mother is (was) still alive, and still facing the challenges of a changed, and ravaged life.

And just as these purple banners wave across the hearts of all of those who view the "Alzheimer's Forgetting Piece by Piece" quilts, and will wave again in the "From Heartbreak to Hope" traveling exhibit in 2011, they wave, too, in all of our lives. My life and the life of my family has been forever changed, and I am so grateful to have this wonderful organization supporting research into Alzheimer's. AAQI has given me the gift of knowing I can make a my life, and in the lives of all who face the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease."

Total I have personally raised so far with my 75 donated small format art quilts: $3,552.25 
(not counting our additional sales coming in from the Houston Int'l Quilt Festival)

1954 -The Heartbreak of Alzheimer's  ($30)
1955 - For Better, For Worse ($30)
1956 - What Dreams May Come  ($30)
1957 - You Don't Bring Me Flowers  ($30)
1958 - Each And Every Day Is A Gift  ($30)
1959 - Love Is All There Is  ($35)
4946 - Liberated Rose   ($45)
4947 - Transitioning Between the Polarities   ($80)
4948 - Alzheimer's: It's More Than Black and White  ($40)
5211 - Mama's Brain Got Tangles...but Mama's Still Inside
5625 - The Butterfly Upon the Sky   ($75)
5626 - The Parasol is the Umbrella's Daughter   ($75)
5969 - Fish Tales  ($79.59)
5970 - Pickled Mushrooms   ($40)
6077 - Within the Depths ($80)
6078 - Far, Far, Away   ($130)
6165 - Twilight Dreams ($60)
6399 - The Alzheimer's Prayer
6439 � Fly Away Home   ($80)
6598 � I Want to Go Home ($75)
6761 - Sparks of Heavenly Fire   ($165)
6956 � The Alzheimer�s Prayer   ($87.16)
7148 � Bah Humbug!   ($50.46)
7322 � Topsy Turvy ($75)
7656 � Remembering Laurel  ($50)
7820 � Laurel Points the Way   ($45.88)
8227 � Rainbow Snout   ($59.64)
8228 � With You All the Way   ($64.23)
8500 � Froggie Went A Courtin�   ($50.81)
8501 � A Heart Filled With Hope and Love   ($85)
8672 - Rock On   ($55)
8673 - Country Cowgirl at Heart   ($41.57)
8674 - Come and Play   ($41.57)
8738 - The Power of Transition   ($55)
8953 - Don't Worry, Spiders ($75.00)
8954 - Let Me Entertain You ($70.00)
9125 - Change and Transition  ($175)
9400 - A Dream Within A Dream ($75.00)
9648 - Changing the World   ($90)
9992 - Tied Together By Love   ($55)
10,006 - One World, One Shared Challenge ($50.81)
10,281 - Longing For Freedom    ($64.67)
10,680 - Ethereal ($55.43)
11,086 - Song of the Hills ($75.00)
11,372 - At Peace In My Garden ($50.00)
11,682 - The Shirt Off Their Backs ($55.43)
11,819 - Bright Heart of Many Blessings ($65.00)
12,230 - Well, Hello Kitty!  ($60.00)
12,614 - Imperfectly Perfect in Every Way! (Houston)
12,976 - Attic Window Posy ($65.00)
13,161 - East Meets West ($50.00)
13,398 - In The Flow ($75.00)
13,704 - I Will Remember You ($50.00)
13,705 - Dreaming of Freedom (Houston)
13,706 - A Walk on the Wild Side (Houston)
13,837 - Strength and Love (Houston)
13,838 - Asian Elegance ($60.00)
13,841 - Beauty Shared Is Love Multiplied (Houston)
13,889 - Wild, Wacky and Wonderful (Houston)
13,890 - We Are All In This Together ($50.00)
13,891 - When The Heart Grieves (Houston)
14,232 - Laurel's Colorful Cats ($45.00)
14,602 - The Senility Prayer (Houston)
14,850 - Thank You, Lord, For Family (Houston)
14,851 - Fan Dance (Houston)
14,853 - Our Family (Houston)
14,929 - Jennie's Roses (Houston)
14,930 - Our Family: A Prayer for All of Us (Houston)
14,931 - Blessings of Faith (Houston)
14,932 - Blessings of Hope (Houston)
14,933 - Blessings of Charity (Houston)
14,934 - Blessings of Love (Houston)
14,998 - Blessings Of The Messenger (Houston)
14,999 - Hope Springs Eternal ($65.00)
15,000 - And The Greatest Of These Is Love ($105.00)

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!