Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Deadline and a Setback

Usually, I don’t talk about my Mom. Because I feel sad, helpless and depressed when I do.

She is unwell and seems to have little zest for life.  I do call her once a week and try to cheer her up. Mostly, I fail.  She talks about her ailments, and all things that are not right.  If I make any suggestions (mom, try this; have you considered…; may be you could) they are met with stiff resistance.  I don’t understand, I am told.

10" squares - stacked & whacked
We are very different from each other. Sometimes, that works great – when I tell her a joke and she laughs.  Mostly, we are just so different that I am guilty of not understanding her perspective.
She just underwent major surgery, which was sudden and my sister (who is a doctor) dropped everything to be with her. 
Block Construction

I felt extreme gratitude towards my sister that she could do for our mother, what I could not.  I also felt relief that I didn’t have to put my life on hold and go to take care of her.

Ready to chain piece

She is scheduled for another surgery in June. This time, I will accompany my sister. 
Clip Corners

I love my Mom.  I tell her that every time I call her. But words are not enough.  And sometimes they can do more harm than help.  

Assembly Line
I think it is time to make a quilt for my mother.  It has to be the most uplifting, cheerful and happy quilt. A quilt that is rich and luxurious and "shows" just how much I love her.
Organization is Key

Sometimes I make a quilt with no one in mind.  Just because I have to make that pattern or use up those scraps etc.  But when I making a quilt that I know will go to a particular person, then something happens.  
One Block

All throughout the process, I am thinking about that person.
Seams Well

What they like what they may not.  So many things go through my mind - times spent together, disagreements, laughter shared, lessons learned etc.  

Half of the Blocks

I believe that all those emotions get captured in the fabric of the quilt.

And here is what I fear/hope/expect - that they will know the sum total of my feelings (good or bad) when they receive/use the quilt.
Will the Block come together?
As I cut and sew the fabrics, a million thoughts raced back and forth through my brain.

The other half of the blocks
We have a past and there were some difficult times in there. 
If I blame her for the unhappiness (arranged marriage and associated complications)of my past, I have to also give her credit for the person I am today. 

If I take the credit - my courage, my perseverance - for my current blissful state, then may be I should also take responsibility for the difficult times in the past. 

Layout Process

But I was a different person in my twenties.  Not as evolved. 

In the Dark - Value Assessment
And finally, if the past was different, the present would be different too.  I had to go that route in the past to come to the current destination. Did I not?
Difficult Seams
Since I love my present, I have to accept my past - however that came about.

Purple Border and Striped Binding
So much internal dialogue for just one quilt!!! It is exhausting. 

And it was detrimental.  Very much so. 
There was not enough basting spray left in the can.  The layers did not stick well, resulting in bunching.


Discovered after quilting 25 straight lines.  Had to take it apart.

It took several hours over two days.  I picked apart the quilting just like I took apart our relationship.

Tweezers to remove little threads
It was a slow, painstaking process.

Lint Roller Sheets

Eventually the layers are separated but the backing is destroyed. 

Ripped Backing

Must find another suitable backing.  Baste, Quilt and Bind. And we leave for India in three days.
Can it be done?  Will I be able to finish it?

Can this quilt (and our relationship) be made whole again?  Time is running out...
Hope your relationships (and quilts) are less tumultuous.  As usual, I'd love to hear from you, even if it is disturbing and painful.  
If you don't hear back from me till mid-June, you know it is because I am away.


  1. Life journeys are often hard. I too think about the person when I make a quilt. I hope your mom is doing better. No matter what she says, she knows you love her. Hang in there.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Preeti, the quilt is beautiful, have a safe journey.

  3. You are a wise and thoughtful woman my friend! More people should take the time to realize that the journey to where we are now is all part of life..My son whom I love more than life, has brought so much joy and a lot of pain as well to our lives. But having reached 69 yrs. I would not change a thing..Some people struggle with the changes in their lives never finding contentment. I fear your Mom may be that way. I feel you are doing the right thing. Always trying, but somehow never getting thru! The loss is always "theirs"... We Love you Pretti, for all you are. Your stories, your wisdom and your willingness to share talented ideas:) As i've learned thru my son "We are where we are supposed to be RIGHT NOW"..(AA)..GrammaBabs M*

  4. Preeti - I am an inexperienced blogger the unknown comment is from Grandma Nan from the Forum.

  5. Thank you, Preeti, for including us on your journey of this quilt. You will know what to do when you are with your Mother & Sister. Your breath, your quilt, & your heart will tell you what to do. I, too, think of each aspect of the person for whom I quilt. It becomes a meditation on our lives together. And it always includes such fond memories of my grandmother who taught me to sew. Safe travel, be well, & savor these moments.

  6. Your quilt is very pretty.

    Mother and daughter relationships are always difficult.....I think it is the nature of things. You are brave when contemplating the issues that you have been through with your mother.

    Good luck with getting the quilt completed.

    Safe travels.

  7. Take care, Preeti--you are in my thoughts.

  8. Oh I totally empathize; my Mom died on what will be a year ago on June 5th--ours was also a tumultuous was very difficult at best; as I am an only child everything fell to me and I still think I never did measure up, so to speak. but, such is life and you can only do your best....this is one gorgeous quilt and it definitely shows you care....hugs from another daughter who, despite it all, still misses her Mom Julierose

  9. Your your quilt is beautiful. Safe journey, Preeti. Wishing the best for your mom.

  10. Oh, Preeti, my heart goes out to you! I hope your mom is okay, I hope you are okay, and I hope your quilt turns out! My only "wisdom" is that the backing fabric isn;t completely ruined, it's just going to need to become something else. It will be cut up and used in something different. Maybe there's a metaphor there? Take care of yourself and have a safe trip.

  11. Thoughts, empathy go out to you hope your Mom recovers fast. So hard to deal with i am blessed to have Mom close along with all my siblings. Safe trip quilt looks beautiful . Also known as Ceiliam from the forum

  12. Preeti, I suspect we both have very similar relationships with our Mums and I am in awe of your honesty here on your blog. I wish you safe travels and hope that you and your Mum find peace in moving your relationship forward, big hugs Chris x

  13. You feel guilt about your mom, but I see in the post that you are doing what you are able. Your sister was in a position to drop everything and you were less able. If it had been the only alternative you would have gone. I spend hours on the road to arrive for an aneurysm surgery my mother needed, I was the only one of three children to go, but I understood why my sister couldn't come and ignored my brother because he just didn't come. I think from your post you are venting quite well and doing something important to you yo show your mom that you love her. Love on, live on and keep on quilting.

  14. My own mother has become very difficult in the last few years as well. I hope making this quilt brought you comfort. I appreciate your sharing this post. It is making me think of what I might be able to do for my mom. We will probably never truly understand one another, but I want her to know that I love her anyway. As another commented, you are doing what you can. I think that is all we can do for our parents. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I sure hope you can get your quilt finished!

  15. Beautiful quilt! Your love for your Mom is wonderful.

  16. Tears in my eyes. I can relate to SO MUCH here Preeti, as you know from our talks...wishing you wonderful orange and pink fairies to help you fix the backing letdown...I know they will come, as will the backing and this beauty, this stunning beauty and testament to a real life relationship with all its beauties and letdowns. Wodnerfully written. Big hugs and a mwah for a safe journey my friend. Be well. Namaste

  17. It's such a cheerful quilt, it's bound to bring her joy! I wish you and your mom al the best!

  18. Oh, Preeti, I hope this quilt will be a healing quilt. The process is such a metaphor for your story. We can only truly understand our lives by looking back and accepting both the past and the present. I hope you were able to finish this quilt, that your travels will be uneventful and that your time with your mom will be sweet. But I have to say this--no matter how the quilt is received (because you know, sometimes they are not received in the manner we hope), its meaning for you has already been made in the process of meditation in the making of it. No one can change that. And that is the joy of quilting, even when it's painful.

  19. How symbolic this quilt is. Full of beauty and difficulties. Preeti, thank you for being so open and honest. I understand what you meant when you wrote "Since I love my present, I have to accept my past - however that came about." It is so true... even if the past still hurts. May this trip do much to heal the pain for you, your sister, and your mother. This beautiful and joyous quilt is sure to communicate how much you love her!

  20. I surely appreciate you sharing your personal journey through the making of this precious quilt for your mom. You made me think when you said if we like our life now, then we must accept our past. Profound thought for sure. Got me into thinking mode. I know you will enjoy your mom getting this quilt. Moms know when we love them. Safe travels. Hoping you will have much to share with us when you return. Hugs.

  21. Your mother is fortunate to have a daughter like you---bright, thoughtful, talented, articulate, compassionate. All you can do is exactly what you are doing and be exactly who you are. You, like us all, are a sum of our experiences, the painful and joyous ones. Thank you for sharing this journey, and have safe travels.

  22. Oh my goodness. What an amazing quilt and an equally amazing story. I too had a tumultuous relationship with my mom, but she left me at the age of 21. I know you can get that quilt done in time. Take a breath, find that backing and get her done. Be safe.

  23. We are who we are, we do what we can. If you can't finish the quilt before you leave, you'll finish it upon your return. Sometimes we just have to accept that what is, is. I lost my mom when I was 27, suddenly. And yes, there were tumultuous times. But we focus on the good, and tuck the difficult times aside. Since you can't go back and fix the, why go back at all? Have a lovely time in India! I envy you the trip. Look forward to hearing all about it!

  24. Hang in there. I have struggles too, but she is my mom and did some good things for me. You appear to be a thoughtful person. Follow your heart and do what you think is best for you.

  25. It sounds like this quilt has been a great journey in acceptance. Have a lovely visit with your mom and your sister and thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

  26. It seems a lot of us have had a difficult relationship with our Mothers - whatever the reason it still hurts.
    Guess the answer is - don't expect too much from her. She is sure to know that you are making her quilt with love in your heart, just for her. Best of luck with your visit.

  27. I am like you that I hold deep conversations with myself while I quilt, and when I look back on some of those quilts, I remember the thoughts. I think it's hardest when the questions are so big, and nothing may ever be resolved, and some of that gets twisted up in the thread and fiber. I've buried tears in batting, and love in stitches, and when it's all done, I feel better. Maybe it's exhaustion, but I think it's more. I think it has to do with working through our own expectations. We shouldn't, but we do judge the past by our present expectations. It's so hard to understand our parent's world, their social constraints they lived with--all of it, because it was just so different from our own. I know you're a good daughter, Preeti, and I hear the love in your voice for your mom. That's all she needs to hear from you no matter what words come out.

    I'm so appreciative of you sharing this here. Quilting is real therapy for so many of us. Thank you.

  28. Glad that you found the outlet to share and release your feelings. I hope that your mother is better soon. I understand what you're going through. I wish you all the best. Enjoy your vacation.

  29. Hope your mother gets well soon. You've made a lovely quilt and I hope that you can get it finished before you leave. It's hard when a parent hurts you, but as you say you wouldn't be who you are without the journey. It's OK to love the person, but not not always like their behavior.

  30. When I make a quilt for a family member, I too think about the past with that person. Then with each block I say a small prayer for the future. Lots of prayers and blessings get sewn into those quilts.

  31. You've made a beautiful quilt for your mom, and it is such a testament to how therapeutic quilting can be. Wishing you a safe trip and a peaceful and healthy time with your mom.

  32. Preeti, what a beautiful metaphor, one that many quilters can relate to. Yes, I know what you mean about the difficult relationships, the good and the bad, the hopes and blessings that go into a quilt but also the resentment, the guilt, the regrets. And then, when it is all finished, you can step back and see the whole thing from a distance. It is never perfect, but it is BEAUTIFUL and it is LOVE.

  33. I have never "walked a mile in your shoes" as we say here in WV, because my mom and I are very close. She is my quilting buddy, but I went through a painful divorce when I was young, and I could have become bitter, but today I have a wonderful husband and son and 3 beautiful grandchildren. I would not be here without having been there. Good luck. My husband has struggled mightily with maintaining relationships with a couple of his siblings. Sometimes, as hard as it is, you just have to let the guilt go, do the best you can, and take a little comfort in that. By the way, it's a beautiful quilt.

  34. Aww Preeti,so sorry to hear of your pain. It sounds like you will be ready for whatever comes from your visit. My mother and I never got along. She always favored my sister. It still bothers me to this day (Gosh its been 15 years since she passed away), that when my mother was in the nursing home after a stroke--she always introduced me to people as if I were my sister. I lived in the same town and went to see her every day after work. My sister lived very far away and didn't ever get to see her before she passed away.After the stroke during open heart surgery my mom was never lucid again and we didn't get to settle any differences. No matter how difficult, try to at least get some peace from this visit and start healing before its too late. I pray for you both and hope she recovers well and you have many more years. But, we must live each day as though it will be our last and do what we enjoy and be with those who understand and love us for who we are. Bless you and your family at this difficult time.

  35. Thank you so much for writing this post Preeti. it is so touching. Your words and the quilt come from such a place of deep beauty. I hope that things go well with your mother. I too think a lot about the person when I make them a quilt.

  36. It is a cheerful, uplifting quilt for certain, and the love that you are putting into it will surely come through. It's hard when we can't "Fix" the people we love. Just know that the love you send her way isn't wasted, no matter if it doesn't seem to make a difference all the time. You just keep being loving, and understand that she has to make choices for herself. In fact, I wouldn't even make suggestions or give ideas anymore - it gives her a chance to refute it. Just listen for a short time and then change the subject. But the colors of that are AMAZING. and I love that design - so versatile.

  37. Quilting is so therapeutic for many reasons. It can provide a lot of time to think and reflect. This quilt is beautiful. Wishing you and your family the best, especially peace.

  38. What a beautiful quilt! I'm so sorry you've had such a hard time with it. Families are always so complicated, aren't they? A constant mixture of love and grief. I hope soon there will be healing for all of you.

  39. You could have been describing my relationship with my mom. I have lots of resentment when I think of her sometimes, but I also realize I am so much like the good things in her. Strong, independent, resourceful and determined. And guess what? My daughter is just the same! I won't tell her that in so many words, because she would not want to think we were the same. I don't care if she knows now, because she will figure it out when she's older, just like I did. Safe travels.

  40. this is such a beautiful quilt, Preeti, and such a moving story to go along with it. I hope that you can finish it, and make some peace with the quilt, and with your relationship with your mom.

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  41. I am so in turned with your feelings, but in my case it is backwards. My Mom made myself & my kids quilts during the last few years of her life (colon Cancer passed at 43yrs) I didn't cherish those quilts as I should have,,not realizing how soon she would pass and after how many lashings they would all go through. Now 40+ yrs later I'm learning to quilt but I don't think my children realize that something may happen to myself also, I want them to use the quilts I make for them but to take better care than I did when I didn't know that I would soon loose my Mom so quickly. So I'm trying hard to make their quilts as special to them as possible but still great enough that they will use them. My quilt from my Mom no longer exists from so much usage but my oldest kids were put up when they too started to fall apart after much love & use.