Sunday Post 104: A Patchwork of Memories

I lost a dear friend in a car wreck several years before Lisa died.  His young wife was left raising two boys, ages 3 and 3 months at the time.  She’s been a great resource for me over the past few years.

One special thing I saw her do was to turn some of Trey’s clothes into quilts for her boys.  I’ve thought about that for quite some time – what a great way to preserve memories.

It happened that a friend of mine had a cousin who is a quilter.  She hooked the two of us up.

So last winter I split Lisa’s clothes into two piles – the special pieces I wanted to keep, that maybe the girls might want in the future – and those to give away.

The girls went through the give away pile and each chose outfits they really liked or that had special meaning to them.

I tagged each article of clothing with the name of the kid who wanted a swatch of that material in her quilt.  I boxed them all up and shipped them to Boston and the quilter began the quilting.

For Christmas, I wrapped up my recently received blankets and put them under the tree.  They were the last three presents left on Christmas morning.

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I wasn’t sure if they’d really get it – if they’d appreciate all that was sewn into this priceless throw.  But they did.  Even Michelle seemed to comprehend the significance of this gift.

Much to my dismay, Lisa loved her flannel pajamas.  She had three pair of hot pink ones.  The quilter took a pocket from each and made it a square of its own.

pj pocket

  Each one also had the letters of Lisa’s sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, and an emblem from St. Timothy’s School – the place where she worked, the place where they had spent so many happy years together.

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We walked through each square on all three blankets.  We saw her favorite blue ruffled shirt, the black dress she often wore to church in the winter, and the walking shorts she’d sported with her new Rainbow flip-flops.

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Each has a square of the pink silk blouse Lisa wore to fancy events.  I remember the white eyelet shirt I gave her many, many years ago.  And DJs sports the tan linen overalls Lisa was obsessed with in the spring of 2003.  pocket

The blankets will have to be dry cleaned, there are literally thousands of dollars in clothing stitched into these 4′ by 5′ rectangles.  But they were made to be used, not to be folded across the back of a chair.

I imagine my girls wrapping up in their blanket with their own kids on a chilly Christmas Eve – thoughts of their mom and dad prancing through their heads.  I can envision them using it as a protective shield when some slim-ball dude breaks their heart in college.  Maybe it will be a comforting salve when they’re sick, and their dad isn’t around to nurse them back to health.

These special conglomerations of fabric are more than blankets.  They’re a physical representation of Lisa’s love that can be wrapped around them at any needed time or place.

I think we all really need one of these.

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44 Comments

  1. Cris

     /  December 30, 2012

    What a beautiful, wonderful way to remember your wife, and for your girls to always keep a part of her with them. Merry Christmas.

    Reply
  2. Kathryn Williams

     /  December 30, 2012

    What an incredibly special gift! So thoughtful and special – a lifetime of memories to cherish forever –

    Wonderful idea Bruce! Your girls are truly blessed to have you as their Dad. Lisa is definitely smiling in heaven.

    Love to you all this Xmas –

    Kathryn B. Williams kbilbrowilliams@me.com 919-815-6420 mobile 3317 Old Saybrook Court Raleigh, NC 27612

    Reply
  3. Such a gift of love and loving memories.

    Reply
  4. Very thoughtful and warm. Season’s greetings to you and your girls 🙂

    Reply
  5. Shelly Muhl Theriault

     /  December 30, 2012

    This is just beautiful. What an incredible idea. I know Lisa just lives it. Love to you.

    Reply
  6. gentiles

     /  December 30, 2012

    Bruce, Again, could not get through a blog without crying 🙂 What a WONDERFUL gift for the girls!!! They are beautfiul – each one of them…just like their mother . much love, gentiles

    Reply
  7. Mel Ham

     /  December 30, 2012

    I was completely facinated by the quilts. To know Lisa you couldn’t help but touch some of the swatches and remember seeing her. It’s like magic. I could touch the pink tweed fabric and see her in my mind and heart. This is a special gift..such a special gift. Very thoughtful and something that the girls will cherish their entire lives. A legacy…each of those girls..seeing those ADPi letters reminded me of Lisa’a legacy…and Lisa’s legacy what an impact she left on us all. love much Happy New Year to you and the girls. Mel

    Reply
  8. Annette Heath

     /  December 30, 2012

    So special, so comforting, so very dear…wish I had one made of my Mama’s clothes and I’m not a child anymore. I still remember dresses she wore when I was a child, especially once when I was lost in a 5&10 cent store and sobbingly described her dress to a sales lady. Mama had made that dress and it was green and white print with buttons that were shaped like little fish. I think that was in l941. Loved the ADPi patches ….my daughter Kate was an ADPi at Duke and the PanHel president, class of 2001.. Your blog is so wonderful and thank you once again for sharing. Joyous new year to you and your girls.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 31, 2012

      Isn’t it amazing how you can attach an article of clothing to an event in your life? I find it really interesting.

      Reply
  9. Charlotte

     /  December 30, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Danny. I forgot to check them out when I was in Raleigh last time, but because I know their creator so well I knew they would be nothing less than perfect. I am excited to see them in person next time I’m in town and as a motherless daughter myself I can tell you they will be under those blankets off and one for their entire lives.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 31, 2012

      All brought them to the NCState bowl gsme this weekend. Stephanie and I are snuggled under hers as I write! Thanks for your help making this happen.

      Reply
  10. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift for your girls. I’m sure they will treasure it forever – not only because it holds tangible memories of their mom, but because their dad took the time and effort to make such a meaningful Christmas gift for them. Bravo!

    Reply
  11. I hope you are writing a book… these are tremendous stories. Wonderful father and family.

    Reply
  12. susan

     /  December 30, 2012

    I loved this. Thc for sharing. Happy New Year Tanners. We love each one of you!

    Reply
  13. Wayne

     /  December 30, 2012

    Bo- Although your children lost their mother in real life, you have done everything possible to keep them from losing her again in their memories. They have such a warm, good. open attitude about her. They talk about her openly. They are very casual about saying her name and laughing about what she did and didn’t do…or allowed them to do or not do. And altough they may be harboring inner grief , they show no outward bitterness. Although anniversaries may bring a tear, they take them in stride. I’m sure you see them at their low points, but the rest of us see them as well adjusted and moving ahead. The joy in the faces of the girls as they handle these quilts rather than tears of despair at the memories that come with them, is a testimony of your success in leading them through the last three years..And i mark that all up to the way you have approached the situation. You have not let your own grief become a burden for your children to carry. You have kept them busy, built memories by the bushel, and kindled the fire of Lisa’s memory. You and your brother have both faced parenthood on your own and I stand in awe of the way you both have loved and cared for your girls. You’ve made your mom and dad very proud. Dad.

    Reply
  14. Francie Reding

     /  December 30, 2012

    I’m so glad the girls have a piece of Lisa forever. Those quilts are beautiful! Happy New Year to all.

    Reply
  15. CHall

     /  December 30, 2012

    I didn’t start reading this blog until early September (as usual, late to the party) and since then, have had some good laughs along with time spent contemplating the food for thought that you give us. But this post…oh my, I completely lost it (“it” being my composure) when reading it. I’m not sure why; it just struck a nerve with me I guess. No way could anyone put a value on such priceless heirlooms as these quilts. If ever your girls have any doubts about your love and devotion to them, they need only look at these works of art.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 31, 2012

      It is really a tangible way to carry on – I suggest it for anyone who loses a parent. A pretty neat way to remember.

      Reply
  16. CHall

     /  December 30, 2012

    PS….Happy days in 2013 to all the Tanners and their kin!

    Reply
  17. Thats such a touching idea and a fantastic way to keep those memories alive!

    Reply
  18. Cynthia F

     /  December 31, 2012

    This is the most beautiful, heartfelt gift for your girls. You are an awesome Dad! Wishing y’all many happy moments together in 2013.

    Reply
  19. midwaythrough

     /  December 31, 2012

    I lost my dad in 2003 and finally had a quilt made with his clothes this year, thanks to your suggestion. There’s not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for it. I wish I’d thought to save my mom’s clothing in 1997. What you did for the girls is very, very special.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  January 1, 2013

      The younger two have lived with them on their laps through the holidays – partially because I’m too cheap to turn up the heat – partially because I think they love them!

      Reply
  20. Great memory! Wish I would have heard of this idea. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  21. Evie Lichti

     /  January 1, 2013

    You rascal! You come up w/ the greatest ideas to keep memories alive. How do you DOO that?? Keep ’em coming for your girls – they’ll never forget ! Have a great 2013 – it’s gonna be a great year! Evie

    Reply
  22. This is an amazing gift, and you are an amazing father. Happy New Year to you and your girls. 🙂

    Reply
  23. My grandma made quilts for my brother and I after our grandfather passed away. She made one side out of his jeans and the other out of his shirts. They are very special to us and I’m sure the quilts will be a great source of comfort and wonderful memories for your girls.

    Reply
  24. I would say that I am a, “Man’s, Man”, but I got a little teary eyed reading what you did for children…Awesome, just awesome!!!

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  January 2, 2013

      Yeah – I didn’t cry, until I lost Lisa. Now it’s a pretty natural part of life. Thanks man.

      Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  January 2, 2013

      I hadn’t cried in decades, until Lisa died. Now its just a part of life… glad you’re reading. You have some pretty funny stuff of your own.

      Reply
      • Thank you…It’s a work in progress. I’m still trying to figure the website out. You have some amazing girls!!!

  25. I love the idea and I will not forget it if I lose someone.

    Reply
  26. Amazing beautiful idea

    Reply

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