Come Be With Me

“Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.”  — Psalm 23:6

Colored Edges EffectOnce again I was honored with the task of creating the Hospice Memorial Quilt for McLean’s in Simsbury, Connecticut.  Each year, the family and friends of those who passed away are asked to decorate a six-inch fabric square to honor their loved one.  I then take those squares and create a quilt, which is displayed at the McLean’s facility.

On the evening of November 25th, at the annual “Lights of Hope” ceremony, the quilt was unveiled.  Here is my speech which I gave just prior to the quilt being revealed:

First, I would like to thank a few people for helping me to create the quilt. Thank you to Elizabeth Scheidel for the very time-consuming and hard work of the embroidery on the quilt. I used to make embroidered samplers but I switched

Poem stitched by Elizabeth Scheidel

Poem stitched by Elizabeth Scheidel

to quilting because quilting is faster, so I really appreciate that Elizabeth is willing to do all that stitching. I also want to thank my friend, Maria Gerard, who hand-stitched the binding around the quilt. That, too, is very tedious work and it was a tremendous help. Mostly, I would like to thank my husband of 37 years, who supports me through all my volunteer work and other crazy adventures. And by support, I don’t mean just financially. Sometimes other quilters might look at something I made and they express interest in making the same thing so they ask, “how much time would it take?” I usually say six weeks if your husband washes the dishes, does the laundry and cooks dinner. Three months if he doesn’t! I honestly couldn’t do this work without Ted.

When I was first asked to create the Hospice Memorial Quilt about three and a half years ago, I knew I would have to carve out some space in my fall schedule and I knew it would be a fair amount of work. I also knew it would be a challenge as these types of quilts pose additional challenges since my starting point is based on the creations of others – your creations. Because I have little control over what you create, I had to deal with letting go of some control. That’s a difficult thing for artists!

Attendees seeing the quilt for the first time.

Attendees seeing the quilt for the first time.

What I did not realize was how emotionally invested I would become in the process of making these quilts. Like all human beings, I have not been immune from tragedy and loss. In fact, today happens to be the anniversary of the loss of someone very special to my family. As I worked with the fabric blocks, read your words, handled your creations and looked into the eyes of those you lost, I grieved for all of us. In times of my own personal grief, there were days when I wondered how the sun could possibly still rise each day when such a vital person – a friend, a spouse, a parent, a child – is no longer here to feel its warmth and see its glow. Perhaps you have had days like this.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know while getting to know your loved ones through the memories you embedded on six-inch squares, the emotions stirred within me, and through them, I

Finished Quilt and Me!

Finished Quilt and Me!

was inspired. The ideas flowed and the quilt emerged. You trusted me with your special memories and I thank you for that honor.

When working on last year’s quilt, there was something about the fabric I chose that inspired me to write a poem, which I read at the 2013 unveiling ceremony. Though I am a writer, I don’t usually write poems. In fact, that poem was probably the third one I had ever written in my life and it wasn’t something I thought I would make a habit of doing. So, when I was finishing up this quilt, I thought to myself, “I guess I won’t be writing a poem this year” as nothing had come to me. Would you believe, in the very next second, a poem popped into my head? It must be a sign that I am meant to share it.

Come Be With Me

Come sit with me

as we did in the spring

by the budding tree

to hear a baby bird sing.

Come walk with me

as we did in the summer

on the tree-lined path

where the butterflies flutter.

Come run with me

as we did in the fall

shuffling through leaves

where sunflowers grew tall.

Come dance with me

as we did in the winter

by the warmth of the fire

our hearts in the center.

Come talk with me

as we did all year

please know I’ll hear you

when you whisper our prayer.

 

Dorothy J. Szypulski
November 25, 2014

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