Immortalized

I don’t know the women who crocheted this lace doily and antimacassar, but I think I understand something about them.

A century ago, maybe she saw a doily pattern with a wheat motif in a magazine and made it on a lark—the same impulse that has led me to make a quilted pin cushion, add a mosaic to a small box, decorate a shirt with reverse embroidery, and so many other projects. I was curious about the process and making stuff is fun. Most of the time I’m only trying to please myself, so it doesn’t matter if my creative ventures are one-and-done. 

Whoever made the antimacassar might have been more invested. Perhaps she spent weeks one winter, creating the elaborate design, a piece she’d be proud of. She could have spread a towel across the back of a chair to keep off her husband’s macassar hair oil when he leaned back for a snooze. Instead, she made something pretty. I understand the impulse—if you’re going to see it every day, why not have something pleasing? Maybe detailed crochet was her art form, like pottery and quilting are mine. 

When I told a friend about a minor project to machine embroider some muslin towels, she said, “You’re so creative.” I balked, “There are so many people who are wildly creative and talented. I’m a dabbler.” She insisted, “Say yes. And thank you.” My friend is right about me, but sometimes it’s hard to own this urge. Easy to downplay or dismiss creativity that’s expressed everyday things. 

I squint into the future and imagine someone picking up a quilt or ceramic bowl I’ve made. She or he might find a different purpose for it—cut the quilt into placemats, hammer the bowl into bits for a mosaic, or some other project I can’t even imagine. If my things get repurposed, I won’t feel disrespected at all. They were fun to make. They pleased me. They don’t have to last or be cherished like museum pieces. Maybe like me, this future creator will wonder about the person who originated it.

In the pottery studio, when I spread the doily and antimacassar onto clay and transfer the lacy patterns with a rolling pin, I’ll admire the craftsmanship, patience, and skill needed to make them. Those women and their work will be acknowledged and celebrated in mine. Immortalized.

A dish I made with another doily

At The Funeral

In January, a time before the corona virus, I sat with three friends from my writing group. Our other group member was up front, a part of the funeral party. Her mother had passed away.

We had done this before, sat together for a funeral. Then it was one of our own group members who had passed on. This time, it wasn’t a sense of déjà vu as much as it was a strong sense of community, of being with your tribe, your writing family. These people who read and commented on your stories, knew your family and your journey through life. We’ve been together for over fifteen years.

I had Kleenex scrunched up in my palm. Tears would come from who knows where, but they would come.

It touched me that we were supporting our friend and supporting each other. Several of us had taken the day off from work. Being present for one another was important. Sacred circles show up for each other.

The church was full of people of all ages and races to honor this woman of 89 who had passed away. A testament to her and the family she raised.

My shoulder brushed my writing friend sitting next to me. I dabbed at the corner of my eye. Being at funerals often connects me to other griefs and in that moment, I keenly felt my estrangement from my siblings. My bond to my sacred circle of writing friends made me feel the distance from my siblings even more. My Kleenex became soggier. I pushed my glasses up.

How Great Thou Art, chorused through the congregation. I imagined my feet reaching to the earth’s center.

While in prayer, I let myself grieve the alienation from my siblings. I was doing what I believed.  I was honoring myself, my partner, my children and my beliefs. I was honoring the essence of who I am. I stayed in this revered place with the universe. Wrapped myself in love. Cloaked myself in love. I was in a blessed place in this church, in this pew, and with these people. I felt love all around me.

While in communion with the Universe, I added a prayer, Universe, please help me find my memory stick. I had been putting blog posts on the stick and had yet to back it up. I knew that I should. Every writer knows that. The memory stick had blog posts on that I might publish after more revision. I’ve learned that the best time to write a blog post is when I have the greatest feeling. The memory stick was holding a lot of me. I had been looking for the stick for days.

In The Garden filled the place of worship. When I raised my eyes I could see clearly. I felt liberated. The veil of sadness had lifted.

At the podium, our writer friend was reading a story that she had written about her mother. A story that was familiar to the sacred circle. She was full of light and joy. Her gift bringing forth laughter.

Following the recessional, we said goodbye to our friend and decided the rest of us would gather for lunch. We needed to be together a little longer before we re-entered our daily lives.

Opening my car door, I moved pieces in the basket in the back seat that held loose items in the car. There was my memory stick. Thank you, Universe, I breathed. I am loved.