I started quilting in 2007... I wasn't very good, and the first one I forgot to top quilt completely. But I got interested in quilting by a very special woman -- my aunt. I spent a summer with her in California when I was 15 or 16, where I had the time to pour through quilting magazines she had saved in stacks in the spare room I was sleeping in. I was entranced; I loved the endless arrays of colours and patterns and the artistic work that went into these quilts. It was like a whole new world where fabric reigned. My aunt made me a particular favourite pattern for a highschool graduation gift not too long after, and the quilt adorned my college dorm bed with pride. I really hit my quilting stride when I started working at Joann fabrics in 2008 but I still like to attribute my quilting interest and success to my aunt. No matter what question I had, she was more than willing to answer it. She gave me so many tips and advice that would help make my quilting experience less tedious. She taught me the best way to top-quilt, and signed me up for quilting magazines every Christmas. Despite the influence on quilting my aunt had, we didn't stay in touch as much as we should have. She and her husband ran a plant nursery together and it kept her busy, as did my college studies; life got in the way.
Cathy had been quilting for probably close to 2 decades, maybe longer. She's made quilts for her family that are treasured and loved. Her quilts have been displayed in contests and shows across the country. But my aunt did more than just foster a love for sewing in many of us. Quilting was a basis that helped us all to discover a charismatic, warm woman, who had a love of life, and a smile for everyone. She started a Quilting Guild in her town and brought the community together. One of her friends told her, "You saved my life. You brought me out of my shell with your wonderful personality, and helped my love of sewing to blossom."
Cathy had been fighting melanoma for 3 years. It was found in her nose first, and then in her brain. As the cancer progressed, she endured endless surgeries and chemo therapy, and no matter how bad it got she always had a smile on her face and a joke on her lips. She was more worried about her family's reaction to this string of events than she was about herself.
This past week, my creative, warm and wonderful aunt passed away.
I regret that we didn't keep in touch more, and that I let past transgressions hold me back from making frequent contact. My own petty hurt that I nursed for so long seemed so little and useless after all this. My aunt forgave me my lapses, as I let go the petty hurt I held. It shows what a bigger person she was, and I just know I am very, very lucky to have known her.
I'm glad she's not in pain anymore. I'm glad that where she is, she is healthy again and at peace. It hurts the most to the people left behind.