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 goodbye...day by day...moment by moment...to 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
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 them....no matter how hard it is to see them this way, or having to do so much care giving because of it.
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 us...in 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!