Monday, 15 April 2013

The Room, The Quilt

Two up, two down. A terrace home, two downstairs rooms and two upstairs rooms. The upstairs rooms are the main bedroom and a back room. The back room creates the memories for me. Then and still.

Then, we were newlyweds and visiting Ireland. My husband and I would travel from San Francisco to his home in Ireland. A welcome pint in a local pub and a full grill made by his mother Nodie awaited us, while, at the house, the back bedroom awaited our belongings and exhausted presence.

The years fell in and we were married and moved to Ireland, where full grills and pints would be standard occurrences. The room became a temporary home. During the night, we snuggled, though uncomfortably, as my 6'3" husband, my 1yo daughter, and me with a growing baby bump slept in the room's small double bed.

Over the years, the back room sat touched and untouched with a vacant bed, a lone nightstand and a cupboard overflowing with bedding and linen. On more than one curious occasion, I would thumb through the paper memories found inside the nightstand. Vintage photos, random notes, odd receipts and miscellaneous papers fill in my blanks of their family memory.

In 2006, as Nodie turned 70, I combined vintage photos with the present day and created a colourful memory quilt for her birthday. In the months and years to follow, I remarked quietly how the quilt sat folded safely and tidy in the back room linen cupboard. Time to time, I would steal a peak and finger the photos stitched in the quilt wishing the quilt were used and not stored.

Today, the bed is replaced with a hospital bed, the nightstand is overflowing with medication and Nodie, weak and frail, sleeps for long stretches under her memory quilt. As I sit with her one early morning, now thankful for the quilt’s defined and divine purpose, sadness fills the room. I struggle to reflect on the memories the back room holds, and in this moment, nothing can disguise her pain and our sorrow of what’s to come.

It is nearly certain that Nodie, who, for a lifetime, has made this house a home for so many of us, will die in this room. Here. In the back room belonging to us—where adult children returned, grandbabies napped, grandchildren played, and visitors like me, welcomed and comforted.
As she lay beneath her children and grandchildren, each a single deminsion stitched into the quilt, I again finger its patchwork and my mind understands. For years the quilt was kept safely stored away, while this room made memories.

Today, the quilt and its memories wrap Nodie resolutely, much like the room and its memories cloak me. For this room and this quilt memorialise a lifetime.


kunal bhatt said...

A very touching post. Made it real hard to hold back my man-tears.

Sending you and your family good thoughts..


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful touching post. x

Nanci said...

How lovely you write. I just found your blog while surfing. You are making wonderful memories and made me think of the back room at my Nana's house.