Reliving the Last Day

Today was really hard.

It was Nathan who put together that it was four weeks since mom died.

It was me who realized we had relived the day, almost to a perfect parallel.

We spent last night with his parents. We chose to stay home to catch up on rest and writing and other work. I was wearing the same comfy clothes as that day.

Strangely, we even had the same lunch. Nathan had been hungry for that meal, and bought us the stuff for it yesterday, and I made it for lunch without realizing we were reliving the whole day.

We worked side by side all day, quietly, me cleaning house and doing chores while he finished his day job work, and then both of us writing in the afternoon.

It was about four pm when I realized I couldn’t breathe, and I had broken out into hives all over my body.

I knew I had been sad, and I knew I had stirred emotions by going through some of mom’s things. But I had tried to pace myself, just sorting into piles and not doing any pieces that felt too hard. I wasn’t pushing. I even wrote like a crazy person, writing and typing faster than I can make sense and publishing it anyway. I was getting it out, expressing me, processing, all the things a good therapist would do.

But I didn’t realize we were reliving that day.

I didn’t realize that it was our first Saturday home, our first day of rest, since the day she was killed.

There are so many firsts to survive.

I concentrate on my breathing, or else there is no air, and focus on the present. Nathan tells me I am safe, and holds me, and we pray, and we know mom is okay.

Mom is okay.

The accident is not right now. It did not happen today. It is already over.

It is already finished.

Once I realized what was happening, I knew it was not the time to go through things or work hard or push myself. It was the time to just be, and feel, and finally rest.

Time to rest, even though the silence is deafening.

When I want to mourn our lost child, I want to reach out to my mother.

When I want to mourn my mother, I want to feel the baby move in me like a parakeet.

It is cold, and I am cold, and it hurts, and there is no air.

Except there is Nathan, who is my husband, who is good and gentle and kind.

There is air there.

He plays violin for me, piano for me, sits in silence with me… until we can breathe again.

Tonight I needed to fight the loss, stand up against the grief, and do something to put my face in the wind and confront the storm. I needed to create instead of only hurting, and do something instead of only crying.

Trying to balance breathing with functioning, acknowledging both grief and moving forward, I went back to the garage and got one specific box. When we packed mom’s things, we discovered she had (of course) saved every bandana her poodle April had ever been given at the groomer’s.

So I washed them and sorted them into piles of color and theme.


They are already all cut into the same size triangles, so that makes it easy for quilting!

I paired them up to make squares:


And got them into sets ready for webbing and then to be sewn together:


It will not be a pretty quilt masterpiece of artwork, but it will be a mom quilt. My friends helped me with ideas, and one friend even suggested using another old fraggledy blanket of mom’s as batting, with a sheet for backing. So many ideas! I am so grateful for good friends, especially on these hard days, even when my best to give is not very much.

I held the threads in my hand for a long time. I wasn’t ready to just toss them. There was color there, air there, love there. Each bandana is a memory, and each thread is a story.

I really miss my mom.

And I am really sad about the miscarriage.

But I know my story, even when all I can see is a handful of threads, and I know everything is going to be ok.

That’s creation. That’s restoration.

That’s a life, like a quilt made of memories.


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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Reliving the Last Day — 3 Comments

  1. What a lovely idea! And how cute your mom saved all those bandanas. When the quilt is finished and you snuggle inside it, it will be like you are wrapped in love.