Angie in WA State has requested a quilt for her sister, Sherri. Angie wrote to me on April 22:
She has been caring for our mother for over 15 years, since my mom had cardiac triple bypass surgery in 1995. She volunteers weekly at a local grade school, because she cares about education and the future (even though she has no children herself). She also volunteers at a variety of organizations (sponsored by her surprisingly progressive national bank, can you believe that?) year round. (Sherri's page on Kickstarter, where she has helped 25 different projects with funding assistance.)
She is one of the kindest people I've ever known.
The past four months have about broken her. Our mom is experiencing a rapid onset of dementia or alzheimers, the docs can't tell for sure which. This descent into (I have no other word for it) madness has been sudden, abrupt and shocking to my sister and me.
My mother has alienated every other person in the world over the past 20 years, so my sister has basically been supporting mom both financially and emotionally, along with my multiple times a week visits and taking my mom to shop and doctor visits, no one else has helped with this terrible burden.
In the past week, our paternal grandmother and a cousin on our mom's side of the family passed.
It's just been a horrendous, draining experience for both of us. But worst on my sis, whom I've had to watch weep endlessly the past 10 days.
I am certain that receiving a Caring Quilt would bring her such comfort. To read words of caring, even from total strangers, would help re-connect her to the greater world, and reassure her that SHE is cared for, too.
We have weeks, and likely months of more difficult days ahead, trying to find the best medication and living situation for our mother. I am just looking for ways to try and help my sister cope better with all of this stress. I hope that you will be able to help with this.
Mural from the elementary school where Sherri volunteers, it exemplifies the social consciousness that Sherri has supported for many years (diversity, equality, respect for others).
I'd like to ask, when you give messages to Sherri in the comments below, that you hold loving thoughts for all caregivers in your heart. The caregiver's role is so important -- but it is an exhausting job with no time off. And unfortunately, with the state of medical care in our country being what it currently is, the job of long term care for the fragile and ill elderly is more and more on the shoulders of their children. Sherri's painful situation is all too common.
What is a community quilt? It is a quilt containing loving messages from you, transcribed by me in archival ink on muslin, and stitched into a colorful quilt by me and my sister. This is a blanket that radiates love -- and a blanket that can absorb any amount of tears. Sherri can wrap herself up and not feel alone. And with loving words around her, perhaps she will get better rest, too.
It takes time and material to make one of these quilts -- and it is our small living. If you can contribute toward the cost of making this quilt, here is a PayPal link -- or message me for an address if you prefer a check. $15/message is suggested -- but some give more to cover for those who cannot afford to donate but whose messages will be treasured by Sherri.
We are caught up on quilts in progress except for Serpent's Choice's quilt -- for which we still need messages.
These people have given messages for Sherri so far:
2. cfk in the Thumb of Michigan
3. Angie in WA State
6. Kitsap River
9. Pam from Calif
14. Sara R
Need inspiration? Here are some of Sherri's messages so far:
Caregivers are angels in disguise, walking among us hiding your wings. From one who has needed a caregiver, my deepest thanks. Kitsap River
You are not alone in this giving of self,
You are a valuable asset to your family & community,
You are a good Person,
Be at Peace. Pam from Calif
From one caregiver to another we become caregivers not because we have to. We become caregivers because we have so much love to give. michelewin
A wish for Sherri:
Close your eyes when you touch this quilt,
and feel the comfort and loving thoughts
that we're sending to you and your family.
Take a deep breath, exhale, and relax.
Then keep on caring for yourself as well as for others.
Thank you, for all you do. May you be blessed a thousand times over for your gifts of love to your mother. Sara R
Sherri, the care you give is so very important and very often not appreciated. I am so glad your sister shared this story with us so you can experience the magic of this quilt as you wrap it around you for warmth and comfort. maggiejean
Carol in San Antonio's quilt
These are the completed community quilts:
1. othniel (cellulitis and ensuing complications, RIP)
2. exmearden (cancer of heart and lung, RIP)
3. MsSpentyouth (brain tumor)
4. Moe99 (lung cancer, RIP)
5. Michelle Caudle (ovarian cancer, RIP)
6. BFSkinner (lupus)
7. Kitsap River (long wait for kidney donor that ended 2/18/11)
8. Frederick Clarkson (blood clots)
9. Dreaming of Better Days (lymphoma)
10. one bite at a time (lost house and belongings to fire)
11. Timroff (cellulitis)
12. Sol Fed Joe (multiple cancers and health problems)
13. Brubs (AIDS, immune reconstitution syndrome)
14. rserven (gall bladder infection with dangerous complications)
15. grndrush (brain tumor, RIP)
16. ImpeachKingBushII (needs liver transplant)
17. andsarahtoo (lupus)
18. Frank Cocozzelli (muscular dystrophy)
19. luvsathoroughbred (breast cancer)
20. Predictor (stroke and HIV)
21. Austex54 (caretaker to othniel)
22. Theodore Olbermann, RIP
23. cskendrick (antibiotic resistant infection)
24. Keith Olbermann (caregiver to father)
25. Juan (cancer)
26. Ana (a young horse belonging to Juan, hit by truck)
27. MA Liberal’s mother (Alzheimer’s)
28. Charles CurtisStanley (caretaker to Kitsap River)
29. Lorikeet (cervical cancer)
30. Dr. Lori (metastatic cancer)
31. ulookarmless (cancer, heart condition, stroke, RIP)
32. riverlover (caregiver to husband suffering from liver failure, now widowed)
33. Melody Townsel (caregiver to dying father, now deceased)
34. dadanation (AIDS)
35. Dr. William F. Harrison (leukemia, RIP)
36. Larry Bailey (sudden loss of partner to heart attack)
37. ramara (adopted son with fetal alcohol syndrome)
38. Noor B (herniated disk from car accident)
39. Louisiana 1976 (fibromyalgia, severe arthritis, depression)
40. stumpy (MS, stroke, RIP)
41. bleeding heart's niece (cancer, RIP)
42. escapee (failure of corneal surgery)
43. SarahLee (lymphoma, Lyme Disease)
44. Bustergirl (ovarian cancer)
45. mimi's niece (cancer, RIP)
46. ZenTrainer (breast cancer)
47. Miss Blue (severe injury to shoulder, anxiety over coverage for surgery)
48. Granny Doc (bladder cancer, RIP)
49. mango (heart attack)
50. nudger (ovarian cancer, RIP)
51. DaNang65 (heart condition)
52. Lt. Choi (exhaustion)
53. Nurse Kelley (spinal stenosis)
54. Ben Masel (lung cancer, RIP)
55. Otterary Scribe (caregiver, grieving grandfather, grieving widower)
56. Aji (autoimmune diseases incl. fibromyalgia, inflammatory arthritis, & Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus Syndrome)
57. JaxDem (suddenly widowed)
58. DavidW (AIDS and other undiagnosed illness)
59. Jester the Marine (facing amputation of leg)
60. peregrine kate (endometrial cancer)
61. mimi (grief due to family illnesses)
62. alliedoc (endometrial cancer, RIP)
63. labwitchy (diffuse scleroderma)
64. Daily Kos (celebrating community)
65. belinda ridgewood (sudden loss of her mother)
66. princesspat (blood clots, deep vein thrombosis)
67. Scott Olsen (severe head injury)
68. SensibleShoes (caring for sister with brain cancer)
69. Joanna (cancer)
70. cany (grieving caretaker of mother with dementia)
71. Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse (breast cancer)
72. Scottie Thomaston (intense chronic pain from spine, kidney stones)
73. paradise50 (throat cancer)
74. woodtick (caregiver to mother with Alzheimer's)
75. BeninSC (mulitple fractures from bicycle accident)
76. Adrian (colon cancer)
77. Smoh (breast cancer, stroke, depression)
78. slksfca (sudden onset of arthritis requiring hip replacement)
79. arizonablue (grief and exhaustion)
80. Lorikeet (grieving widow - this quilt was a gift from the Rescue Rangers)
81. remembrance (breast cancer) and Glen the Plumber (her caregiver)
82. MassHarry (colon cancer)
83. Regina in a Sears Kit House (severe immune problems from Lyme Disease)
84. nannyboz (grief for father, crippling back pain requiring surgery)
85. raina (grief)
86. earicicle (breast cancer)
87. AntKat (cancers of the throat, RIP)
88. Alma (breast cancer)
89. DarkHawk98 (lung cancer)
90. llbear (brittle diabetic)
91. michelewin (grief and trauma)
92. Dave in Northridge (grieving widower)
93. racheltracks (complications from knee surgery)
94. Ebby (grief and stress)
95. Leaves on the Current (cancer)
96. Carol in San Antonio (cancer)
97. commonmass (grieving widower)
98. Clytemnestra (DES daughter, debilitating abdominal pain and bleeding)
99. Oke (survived life threatening pulmonary infection, COPD, depression)
100. shanikka (diverticulitis, intestinal abscess and life threatening infection)
See also these two thank you posts from multiple quilt recipients:
These quilts are planned:
UnaSpensor (Lyme disease)
MA Liberal (caretaker to her mother who has dementia)
paradox (cyclical vomiting syndrome, PTSD, depression)
Ellinorianne (rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia)
MsGrin (life long heart problems requiring multiple surgeries)
LorelieHI (PTSD, reversals of fortune, depression)
From the first quilt diary for Sherri which was posted on Memorial Day, here is a message from Angie in WA State on behalf of all care givers:
Today is Memorial Day, and usually people think of "Service" as putting on the Uniform of the United States military. But there are many ways to "serve", and in our current version of America, there are millions who are providing "service" by caring for an aging family member. Sometimes, like my sister Sherri, they are doing it for years at a time, with little or no assistance.
So please, be sure to thank all the Caregivers who ensure that their aging and disabled family members are not forgotten, not left to fend for themselves - and most importantly, receive the love and attention which they desperately need at a vulnerable time in their lives. Especially if there is a Caregiver in your family who is shouldering the burden all alone - remember to let them know you value their efforts, and reach out to them and ask if there is anything you can do to help them, as they help someone else.
Boots says, "Thank you for supporting community quilts and for your kind words for Sherri."