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Mosaic of Memories

by Marty Wellington  
3/27/2007 / Short Stories

My mom wasn't supposed to die. She was only thirty-seven. She was a health nut and ran marathons for goodness sakes. I just didn't get it. How could this have happened to our family?

After her death, my dad crawled into a secret place and my younger brothers and sisters looked to me to be "mom." I didn't like it, not one bit.


I kept all my mom's running awards. Her life was stored in our attic--a sacred place of reflection . . . and sewing. I retreated to that special place when times got tough. Memories of her teaching me to sew, fabric pieces pinned and stitched together, creating garments of love--these are what comforted me. Scents of my mom's life wafted out of the wardrobe and storage boxes when I sifted through her possessions. It was like a sweet breeze from my childhood.

I'm proud of her--my Mom.

As the years passed I was compelled to preserve my mom's memory so she would no longer be relegated to the attic. As I rummaged in the boxes once more I discovered her marathon t-shirts, 4-H volunteer shirts, and other clothing that reflected her active life.

With care, I cut apart her t-shirts and her favorite Adidas shorts. Her prom dress and silken blouses gave up their wholeness as I trimmed each piece for my mom's patchwork quilt.

I hand-stitched each square together creating a mosaic of memories, a testimony to a life lost. Drawing strength from the familiar whirr of mom's old Singer, I pieced together her life, mirrored in the words and clothes that she loved.

I'm proud of her--my Mom.

The first corner held a floral green fragment of her prom dress. I could still hear its rustling around the dance floor. The opposite corner held a flannel square from her last nightgown. Dancing pink roses and twisted pink ribbons lay hidden in leafy vines.

There were other patches: blue and red plaid flannelmy dad's shirt that mom wore in the garden; blue chiffon from her honeymoon nightgown; the 1980 Boston Marathon racing tank; a pink t-shirt from her Relay for Life run. Each piece carried a special memorya unique event in her life.

The center square showcased my feeble attempt at hand embroideryher name for all to see. Not "mom" or "mother." It read simply: "Karen Davidson--A Life Well Lived."

I'm proud of her--my Mom.

I'll never forget the day I shared the finished quilt with my family. I gathered them into our family room, seating them on the floor. In a circle, we cried and laughed together with my mom's life spread among us. My dad's rough fingers etched his "Karen." On the sofa, near the fire, he slept that night wrapped snug in memories.


It's been twenty years since I made the memory quilt. I'm the same age my mom was when she died. I got all my siblings through 4-H, sports, drama, and high school; some through college. We worked hard, just like mom would have wanted us to.

I'm proud of them--just like Mom.

All this time, I've been stitching my own quilt. It's pieced together with family time and love. A mosaic of memories, much like my mom's, but vastly different. I've sewn up the past.

My heart is aching to move forward with my own life.

Now it's time to sew up my future.

Marty Wellington is a proud mother of three daughters who thrives on communicating God's intervention into our lives through short stories of faith.

(c) 2007 Marty Wellington

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