Legacy of a friendship.

13 June 2014

Last week I lost a wonderful friend. A friend who taught me a lot about life. A friend who was old enough to be my mother. She was the mother of the most amazing woman who was later to become my nearest and dearest friend. It's strange how life takes unexpected turns.

In the build up to her funeral this week, I began to contemplate how such an amazing lady came into my life. I first met her son, whom I still love and cherish as my friend, but when I first became her friend has been lost in my memory. I know that nearly 30 years ago I attended patchwork and quilting classes that she taught, but I knew her before then. 

We shared a love of fabric and patchwork and quilting … and cats. She shared her knowledge, her tricks and tips, and, in our many nights stitching together, the story of and some of the secrets of her life.

A life of struggle, raising four children … alone … after leaving her marriage: unthought of for women of her time. Working as the book-keeper, at one time for Gold Coast night clubs: a woman they could trust in what was a male dominated environment. A working mother.

For years she struggled against an unknown demon that ravaged her body. During the worst of it, she donned the most exquisite berets to cover what remained of her hair. Her appearance was always of utmost importance. An eventual diagnosis of coeliac disease was a relief. With gluten removed from her diet, she began to flourish again.

As she aged, scoliosis continued to curve her spine, but not diminish her spirit. She was diminutive, but strong. She was determined, independent, sometimes stubborn, but caring and thoughtful and loving.

The quilt she gave me last Christmas when I visited her in hospital after she fought off a bout of pneumonia is my tangible memento of our friendship. Made from fabrics purchased when she, her daughter and I wandered the Latin Quarter of Paris nearly fifteen years ago in search of a patchwork shop (One of the few things on her must-do list in Paris.), then pieced and hand quilted.

A quilt where I can touch where her hands have touched. A quilt where I can still see her stitching and hear her chatting. She did love to chat. A quilt to keep me warm and to remind me 

that life is not always easy,

that I am lucky and privileged to have known her 

and to have shared some of her life and her friendship.

A quilt to remind me of her.

Thanks Rae.

I will miss you.

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