This pirate quilt was made for a little boy who lost his Mama in 2009. It was an early October morning when we learned the terrible news. News you just can't accept and times stops. After months of tears I decided to make a quilt for his first birthday, just to honor his loss.
The pirate theme was intended for a rough and tumble little guy, one who I could see running around his backyard with a wooden sword and cape. The quilt quickly took on a dark theme when I chose a deep blue ocean wave batik to fill in the spaces between the squares. I wondered if the dark colors were too dark. But the events leading up to the creation of this quilt were dark (loss can be dark), so naturally the quilt would reflect those feelings, even if I tried to make a bright, cheery quilt initially.
As I stitched, I reflected on our loss. I thought about the sweet Mama who was gone, and how her laugh could fill a room. I thought about the things she loved, worked for, and felt passionate about. I thought about all of the people she left behind and the other little boy that she was with, her other son, who also died. I thought about how much fun it would be to know him and watch him grow. I cried a lot and cursed a lot. And when the quilt was done, all of those feeling of loss and sadness and anger were eased, a little. Making the quilt gave me the time (while sewing) to think about her (and him) and grieve. I got to say goodbye, and thank you, to her in that time and it felt good to tell her that I was making a quilt for her baby. I think she would have loved to know that.
Over 2 years have passed since that October morning. I like to think about the little boy wrapped up and warm under this quilt, just like his Mama would hold him. I would be in a different place with my grief if I hadn't made the pirate quilt. There is a lot to learn from the arts and a lot of healing too.