Sunday, February 9, 2014

Home is where our story begins

Imagine, if you will, heading off to work, just like any other day, and later that morning receiving news that a sea of fire had swept up a gully,  devouring everything in it's raging path, including your home and everything that you possessed. To me such a catastrophe is unimaginable, incomprehensible; but late last year a very dear friend and her family lost everything except the clothes they were wearing that day, as a result of a ravaging bushfire.
 
My friend and her husband designed and built their beautiful home  themselves. As a family, so much blood, sweat and tears....so much love and extraordinary amounts of time had been expended into the building and making of their home. I cannot begin to fathom the magnitude of  loss, the grief that they are experiencing.

Our homes are a place where we pen our family's narrative. A story, where page after page, depicts our family life, the toing and froing of daily life, the emotions, the love, the romance, the sadnesses, the arguments, the happy times, the ridiculous times, the quiet times, the celebratory times, all the wonderful memories. It is a story punctuated with illustrated pages of gloriously coloured pictures of personal collections that are assembled throughout each room; the letter that you wrote when you were ten, to your much-loved father who has passed on; the tchotchkes that each child has made and given you with so much child-like love on those special occasions.....Mother's Day, birthdays, Christmas; the presents that friends and family have made you; the funny sentimental things that your children have kept, bringing to mind special childhood memories of the holidays at the beach or the camping trips. The photos of your children, your mum and dad, your wedding; the special jewellery that once belonged to your grandmother, the precious and irreplaceable childish stories and drawings that each child wrote before they learnt 'proper grammar'; the list is endless. These are the things that are irreplaceable, that cannot be brought back. The turning of the pages goes on and on and on, telling the story of the home as a sanctuary from the rigors of the day, the haven where we go, to just breathe and find solace and rest, surrounded by the things, the million and one things, that maketh our homes, home. Our homes are the essence of us, they are in a sense who we are. Our homes are the 'magnum opus' of our family life.

A couple of years ago, before we moved to Tassie, I made a special quilt for my friend's 50th birthday. My friend loves country decor with a li'l bit of lace, a li'l bit of this and a li'l bit of that; so I fashioned a quilt that celebrated the special friendship that we shared. Of course this quilt is no more, it has gone up in smoke, so I thought that, I would stitch her another quilt  that perhaps would cheer her up just a little.
 
My friend's 50th birthday quilt, that is no more.




The new quilt is similar but different. It is fashioned from similar fabrics and bits and bobs.....lovely Italian vintage coverlets, damasks, satins, doilies, Swiss and French laces, buttons, swirls and swirls of ruched ribbons, the odd piece of vintage jewellery et cetera.
 









 This quilt does not lend itself to quilting. All the laces, ribbons, embellishments et cetera on the quilt, are stitched with tiny, invisible stitches through the top layers through to the batting without being visible at the back. To anchor the backing fabric to the batting, I have stitched doilies through to the batting and hand quilted stems and leaves to give the appearance of flowers randomly interspersed all over the back. So in essence, this quilt can be displayed either side. It is a quilt that could be displayed on a bed or perhaps as a throw on a chair.





Since that fateful day I often think of my friend and wonder how she is getting on each day and coping with the magnitude of what has happened and coming to terms with enormity of losing her home. She is a sentimental gal and loved her home. She must yearn to go back home. Her's and her family's life has been thrown into a hellish nightmare from which there is no waking up to the relief that it was all just a bad dream. No, for my friend the reality is trying to each day begin to put some semblance of order back into her family's life and try to make a fresh start. My friend and her family have received the most amazing and overwhelming community support, both from friends and to a large degree, people whom they have never met before. They will rebuild a lovely home and begin to make new memories......but the very thought of rebuilding must be an overwhelming burden and difficult to get one's head around. My friend is a lovely christian gal who has a deep, deep faith in God. I know without a doubt that His closeness in these awful days is precious to her. He and she have walked many a difficult path together. I have no doubt that my friend and her story will be an immense blessing to those whom she meets each day and shares her story.
 
I hope that my wee li'l gift, somehow in a very, very small way, will perhaps be a teeny, tiny paragraph, underscored with much love, in the re-writing of my friend's story; the story of her new home. I hope that my wee gift will help my friend  take a few lighter steps down that impossible path that she finds herself walking along.


I know my friend will rewrite a beautiful story. My friend will slowly begin to write many new chapters. Chapters filled with fresh hope, strength, faith, love, beauty, fun...and yes, even laughter. She will pen her story with many, many wonderful words, insightful words, words of understanding, words of compassion; and, she will begin to illustrate her story, collating the most glorious, coloured pictures, that only she, with her own inimitable style and grace, can do!!

 
 

10 comments:

  1. What a courageous story, told with love and kindness! This new quilt will be a wonderful start to rebuilding her home. You have spoken these words with such love in your voice. An absolutely gorgeous quilt. Thank you for coming along side your friend with open arms of understanding.

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  2. Beautiful quilt, beautiful written sentiment to your friend - I can feel your love for her through your words and pictures of this quilt. I wish her strength and hope for a future built upon newly made memories. What a terrible tragedy to live through.

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  3. What a lovely and true friend, such thoughtful work. Elements of beauty in your quilt but more so in your friendship. What better way to journey into a new home than be wrapped in love by a kind dear friend. All the best to your friend and family

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  4. What a lovely gift to your friend to begin with anew after such tragedy and loss. It is a gorgeous work of art!

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  5. Such a tragic yet lovely post. I'm so sorry for your friend. I saw more fire on the news today and thought of you. Blessings on you for all the stitchy love that you have put into this quilt. She will feel so loved!

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  6. Your quilt is a masterpiece. And such a gift of love. I agree with Carla. Such a tragic story told so beautifully.

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  7. A fire is always a tragic event, but at least no one was harm and that is a blessing. That quilt is a work of art, just so beautiful. I know she will love it.

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  8. That is just so lovely and I am sure both the quilt and your friendship will be very treasured. X

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  9. The tears well in my eyes. A very difficult path to walk but with friends and God by her side it's not impossible. The shaping of character is worth even more. May her story be one filled with beauty and love. Your quilt is part of the rebuilding, starting afresh.

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  10. I can't even begin to properly imagine how devastating that must have been for your friend and even more sad that they'd built the house themselves. Thank goodness they were out at work when the fire came. Both of the quilts you made are so beautiful and I'm sure the second is much treasured. Apart from being an object of exquisite artistry, it's a material reminder of the things like love and friendship that the fire couldn't destroy :)

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