Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Slept like a baby.

There are truly generous people in this world. Some are generous of spirit. Some are generous of time. My friend wNs is one of those people. Somewhere in the past ten months I have come to know a wonderful group of people online. One of those people is wNs. I'm not sure when our paths crossed through cyber space, but I am glad we did. It has been a relationship of mutual care and support.

In the recent past I shared how I had commissioned her to make a beautiful quilt for my mother in law, made with the clothing of my husband, Michael. When the quilt was completed, she sent it to me so that I could then present it as a birthday gift to my mother in law. I opened the box, and laid it out on my bed,and quite quickly, it took my breath away. I was amazed. Not surprised, as I already knew how talented wNs was. I was amazed at how she was able to tell a story of love, and capture Michael's essence in it's pattern. When my children came down to my bedroom to see the quilt there were three full gasps in unison. They then looked to me with concern. Finally my daughter was brave enough to say what they were all thinking. "How are you going to part with that Daddy?"

I began to panic, and quickly my hands began to gently brush across every stitch. My fingers picked up the love that these pieces of cloth contained. Each piece had specific memories of Michael for me. Some pieces of clothing were very difficult for me to part with. I told myself that I would benefit further by being selfless, and giving it to Michael's mother. I am younger, and I have the good fortune of having many friends that can offer me support. I have contact with many of Michael's friends, who can always share more of their Michael stories with me. And I have all of our things, which each also contain pieces of his DNA, with happy memories coded into each of them.

I will be honest in saying that I cried when I carefully folded the quilt and placed it back in the box for mailing. I know this pleased Michael, as he was very worried about how his mother would manage after he was gone. I love Michael very much, and so his wishes, his concerns, are now mine.

I do have a quilt that is often on our bed. It isn't made with his things, but is a prayer quilt that was sent to him by some women I met through an online brain tumor caregiver support group. It meant a lot to Michael, and brought me peace whenever I laid it across him. Yet the quilt wNs made, it reached me on a far deeper level.

This weekend I was blessed to meet my friend wNs. I was able to sit with her, hug her, and look into her eyes as she spoke. She is a shy person, yet one that conveys such sincere appreciation and love. When I went to check in with her at one point this weekend she reached in front of her and handed me a pillow case quilted out of Michael's clothing. It contained parts of a light blue Polo shirt that Michael wore when we first met. It touched me beyond belief. I wish I wasn't so guarded with me feelings, as what I wanted to do was cry with joy. I have learned to harness my tears during the day, as they can bring me down so deep that I begin to fear not getting back up. By the end of the night though, when I returned to my room, I had no reason to hold back, and let them fall into the beautiful quilted pillow case.

Yesterday I went out to buy a fresh new pillow to place in the case. I placed in on our bed, and as you can see, it matched our bedding perfectly. Michael was the perfect match for me. We truly complimented each other. These small swatches of fabric, made up of Michael's history, also compliment each other.

Now many of my readers know that I suffer greatly from insomnia. I have come to expect it each night, and just lay there, waiting for sleep to arrive patiently. Last night I laid my head on the soft quilted pillow case, and gently allowed my fingers to feel the various textures that each possessed. I could feel their differences, and quickly I appreciated all the complexities that Michael possessed. Just as I was thinking about these, I fell fast asleep.

Thank you.


  1. i am so glad you slept. the joy in giving it to you, seeing your face, well, you know. peace to you. deep and lasting peace.

  2. wNs -- The pillow case is a thoughtful and marvelous gift. Something to treasure.
    And, Dan, how wonderful that it helped you to sleep and find peace.

  3. This post warms my heart. It re-enforces what I have discovered through my grief - the generosity, compassion and kindness of the people in our world. What a beautiful story of genuine connection.

  4. (Off topic) Dan - I just left a reply to your comment on my blog. As soon as I read about how you feel while gardening, it made me wonder if that's what you should be doing.. I mean, doing as a business. I thought it the other day when you wrote the post about the plants you had bought for your porch garden. I very much believe in going with what you love to do - especially when you've worked hard all of your life, have been through a lot, and are entering that time of life when you deserve to be able to do the things you enjoy and love. Anyhow, read my comment. Maybe you should do some research and some brainstorming with friends in SD, and see if you can come up with a niche business that would put your talents to work in a way that is in harmony with your life.

  5. Me again. I sent you an email earlier today. Just letting you know in case your spam filter catches it. There's some info from my friend regarding how one might break into a career as a *good* gardener. Since I sent that email, I was thinking more - especially after reading your latest comment over at my blog. You might check into what's available in the way of horticulture courses at a local college, or another thing might be to join a "friends of" group for some kind of public gardens. I've known gardeners who belonged to such groups and some of them know so much about plants and horticulture that it just blows me away. Btw, I used to be very into perennial and herb gardening at one time. Don't get intimidated over not knowing all of the plants. If you love plants, as I feel that you do, you can acquire that kind of knowledge so rapidly once you put your mind to it. All gardening is an ongoing learning process - getting to know the latest introductions in the perennials, annuals, etc... Learning the latest about xeriscaping, or using certain plants in various ways for the seasons. That's one of the coolest things about gardening - you can never know it all, so it's endlessly fascinating.

    ha, the captcha this time is "ramousha". Another pleasant sounding non-word.

  6. Hi Dan, I just found your blog. At 48 years old I too am now a gay widower. My partner of 19 years, Steve, died on March 8, 2010 after fighting cancer for two years. His cancer spread throughout his body and he too had brain tumors. I wanted to connect with you as there are few people who understand what we are going through as gay widowers. My email is williamdcain@yahoo.com if you would like to connect. I'm glad I found your blog today!

  7. dan - hijacked bev's comments to comment on your comment on her post. See you over there.

  8. Hi Bill, I just sent you a private email. You are welcome to join in on the conversation here, directly to my email, or through my gay widower online group, Shades of Blue. You will find the link to the right of my page.


  9. Dear Dan, Saw you in SD this weekend! I would love to meet you and share our heartache, I search for someone who understands ! I live nr Oakland. I lost my husband March 2009, my brother-in-law is gay and his husband is English (like me).