Not going to lie, I knew this day was coming and soon, the calendar was more than enough evidence as I watched the days tick off one by one. The night before, I barely slept just thinking and reliving moments lost to time, but not from memory. Dreams were vivid and jarring when I did finally succumb to the sandman's call.
May 19th, 2015...I wake up and of course FB immediately displays the "So and So's Bday is today!"when I go to check my phone's notifications.This date, of this year, marked the first birthday without my friend. Yes, I did cry, and of course looked through pictures and comments left for her on her page. Anger started to make its appearance with its partner grief, as one would expect while going through the cycle of loss. Needless to say, I was in a bit of a funk that morning. The idea of just staying in bed and sleeping through the day had a very appealing aspect to it, even if it wouldn't pan out in reality.
And while I muddled through my morning, I got a message about a potential order. Not just your typical custom order, but one where there was truly cause to celebrate. On this day, of this year, a friend asked me to make something to commemorate the amazing and admirable feat of his wife beating breast cancer...
Life can be crazy and coincidental like that. There I sat, quite frankly wallowing, when a reason to refocus presented itself. The request alone helped me regroup, and then the ability to brainstorm and come up with an idea helped things move along even more. Reading about her progress and fighting spirit were an inspiration as they shared her journey through the months post-diagnosis. He was, and still is, her biggest cheerleader and fan. So when he said he wanted to give her something meaningful and special, I wasn't the least bit surprised, but extremely touched and thankful to be the person he turned to to help him.
His only major specifications were that he wanted the exact date and the pink ribbon somehow incorporated into the work, and that it didn't need to be encrusted with diamonds (his way of joking about cost). Immediately, I began to think of the great burlap throw pillow trend going on right now. From there, it was a matter of designing the front and back panels and adding in those little bits of embellishment that shift it from a typical throw to a unique and special gift. While I did check with him during the process with concepts and steps completed along the way, he pretty much let me have free rein.
Almost everything put into making this pillow was done by hand, from the embroidery of the date, to the lace edging of the pillow and the crocheted back panel. I even hand stitched the panels together because I wanted this pillow to be extra special due to what it represents to this family. For me, it was well worth the extra time spent working on adding stitch upon stitch, both crocheted and sewn.
Looking back, I don't think there could have been a better way to move on with my own personal grief. Being able to lose myself to the creativity of this project and the special purpose for its creation became a truly invaluable experience for me. This pillow's design and creation got me through that day, and honestly, it will continue to do so because it will always serve as a reminder that even though there are darker times in life, the brighter ones are still there and will outshine their counterparts if you let them. I'm lucky to be able to look at my creations and recall the wonderful stories that go into so many of them. I truly hope that the people who then own them can say the same as the years progress.