Sunday, June 10, 2012

Noelle's Quilt

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A true story based on the loss of a child, written as an adjunct to . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG

When I was a young mother raising six children, all a year or two apart, I sewed most of their clothing. After years of collecting scraps from their many outfits, I decided to make quilts with the leftover material. At the time, with so many children, I was always short of blankets.

The first quilt was quickly claimed by my fifteen-year-old son, Dante, who still treasures his baby blanket. It was made of mostly denim squares, and was bright, warm and practical. Now thirty-four years-old, my son will not part with that quilt.

Twelve-year-old Noelle begged me to make her a similar quilt. Her quilt, howerer, was more whimisical, filled with squares from nightgrowns and tee-shirts to party dresses, reminding me of the biblical, "Joeseph's coat of many colors," and Noelle loved it. It covered her bed ever day, accompanied her to sleep-overs with friends and was a favorite possession until the day she was struck down by a drunk driver on a lovely summer day when she was fourteen-years-old. She died of massive spinal cord injuries, after lingering in a semi-coma for the ten longest days of our lives.

Her quilt was passed on to her closest sister, Kelly. who wrapped it arround herself in an effort to retain the closeness of Noelle. I lost all desire to sew another quilt.

Now nineteen years later, with the loss of Noelle still causing a soreness within our hearts, my daughters and I take out her quilt and reminisce her life.

"Mom, see that square ? It was from the skirt and vest that she wore constantly," her oldest sister Kimber says in a soft, awed tone.

"Look Mom, that piece was from her favorite nightgown," her sister Kelly adds, in an equally subdued voice. "You made one almost like it for me."

I run my hands lovingly across a red plaid square, a piece from matching Christmas outfits that I had made for my three youngest girls, and let my mind drift back in time.

"I can't remember any of these squares," says Nicole, who was only eleven when her sister died. "Except for this one, which you made into those awful jeans that only Noelle liked."
Some of my children were embarrassed, especially during their teenage years, to wear home-made clothes instead of name-brand clothing. But not Noelle. She loved the outfits I sewed and wore them proudly

My sons Michael and Dante do not share these times with us nor does my husband. The memories are too painful for them to recall. Women, and my daughters are all women now, seem to need tangible things to cling to in times of great loss.

As we contemplate the soft, colorful squares of her quilt, we are made poignantly aware that Noelle's quilt, though somewhat tattered with age, holds a rememberance of her life. And we find comfort in this. Noelle is gone from us, but her favorite blanket is quilted with memories of her love, her essence-fabrics woven forever in time.


  1. What a lovely story! I'm a quilter, and I know how much love goes into creating a quilt for someone you love. So your story is especially meaningful to me.
    I'm looking forward to reading more posts on your blog in the future.

  2. Micki, I just loved this little story! I'm glad you wrote it. I think it keeps Noelle somehow alive on this side of heaven. You and the girls, Kim, Kelly, and Nicole share something so personal and private that gives you all strength. It's good, it's unity. It's from God. Even now He can help you all find ways to ease your pain. Please continue this line of blog. I believe it will encourage the weary. Love you my friend!

  3. Quilts are magical! Each square contains so much information, so many memories. There's something about wrapping yourself up in a homemade quilt that gives you that special feeling of being loved
    forever. Beautiful story and, Micki, you are a beautiful writer!

  4. Micki,
    What an awesome and poignant story. Well done.


  5. Sandy N, Sandy H, Deirdre, and Joy,

    Your comments mean a lot to me. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share them.

    Love, micki

  6. Ah, Micki. You got me again. My eyes kept leaking while my insides turned to mush..of the sweet, loving kind. Cannot put myself in your shoes though I am so very grateful to get to walk beside you.
    Love you,

  7. Micki,
    I thought I had replied to this a long time ago but it seems my comment is not here.
    We have a beautiful daughter and cannot imagine life without her love, grace, and compassion for life. I feel the Angels that surround you are lead by your precious Noelle.
    Having made so many quilts for my family and friends, I know the labor of love that goes with each stitch. That spirit lives on beside you with her quilt and so happy you have it so that your happiest moments are always close at hand.
    You are a very special woman and quite sure an even greater Mom-Noelle was blessed with your love. As you gaze into the heavens be sure to smile back-she is surely watching over you.

  8. What a lovely memory that quilt must be. You must feel Noelle so close when it's near. Lots of hugs going out to you from upstate NY.

  9. Dody, Rosemary and Peggy,

    Your comments are so touching that I cannot believe my good luck to have such beautiful souls as friends. Your words inspire me always.

    Love Mickid

  10. Micky, this is such a great memory! I love it! I was moved reading it and I would have loved running to you to hug you!

  11. Dearest Micki, I am so moved by this posting I cannot even say anything to try to make it better. I have one daughter and what happened to you is every mother's nightmare. How many nights, when our daughters and sons are out, do we worry about something of this magnitude happening to our children. My heart goes out to you and to the rest of the family. But how wonderful that you have that quilt and can cherish each beautiful memory attached to it. God Bless you Micki, your friend, Mary Firmin

  12. Thank you, Raani, I could use a hug :) Your words mean a lot to me.

    Mary, my friend, Thanks for your kind words and understanding.

    Love to you both