A Quilt of Love and Grief – Remembering a Dear Friend

A sweet friend of mine passed away this week. Stacy Perry was a devoted mother of 4, loving wife to Mark, (an amazing realtor who helped us with our recent move), and one of the kindest souls you’d ever meet. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer 3 years ago and fought a very valiant fight for her life.

Our family have been friends with her family ever since we moved into the same neighborhood a dozen years ago. She was always the creative type, and I was thrilled when she tried her hand at quilting a couple of adorable baby quilts a few years back. She always had that infectious smile that made the world a better place just by being in it.Oops A Daisy Charm Pack Quilt - Girl

Chrysalis Charm Pack Quilt - Boy

Many of you even helped in the fight when I donated one of my quilts as a fundraiser to help pay for her cancer treatments a couple of years ago.

When we got the news that her time was quickly coming to an end, loving friends and family members dropped everything to help me make a quilt of love and comfort for her and her family. Not having time to start one from scratch, I quickly finished quilting a top that I had laying around from a previous class.

I knew this was the perfect wip (work in progress) because it contained some of her favorite colors. And it has a lot of meaning for me since Stacy has always been a shining star in my life. Incidentally blue is also color of colon cancer awareness so I’m glad this quilt is a fitting tribute to her.

Once the quilt was quilted and bound, we arranged to get signed hearts from as many of her family and friends as possible. With the help of a another crafty friend and neighbor, we cut out nearly 200 hearts for friends and family to sign messages of love for Stacy and her family.

I applied fusible adhesive to the back before the shapes were cut, and with an army of volunteers, we stitched them all down by hand to the back of the quilt so Stacy would be wrapped in love. We desperately wanted her to enjoy the quilt for the time she had left, and we knew it would be a keepsake for her family to remember the joy and comfort she brought to others.

We finished hand sewing all the hearts in 3 days time, with people coming and going and others stopping in to sign hearts and find a little peace and comfort. It was a very therapeutic process for all involved. We knew we couldn’t cure cancer, but at least we knew we could let her know how much she’s loved. I kept the needles and thread loaded and taught many a friend or fellow church member how to stitch their grief into this work of love.

We finished the quilt and presented it to her exactly one week before she passed and included a list of names of all who had signed. I gave a note to her family about the quilt which read:

Scores of friends, family, and loved ones gathered from near and far to write heart-felt messages of love, while compassionate sisters spent countless hours hand sewing the hearts, and finding comfort in every stitch. We’ve included a list of everyone who was able to contribute a heart and while we know that we couldn’t reach everyone who loves her, we stitched in additional unsigned hearts to represent everyone whose Stacy’s life has touched.

She was touched to receive the quilt and the first thing her kids did was ask to find the hearts that they’d written for their mom. We spent a couple of hours with her so that we could say our goodbyes and she could have many of the hearts read to her. We laughed, we cried, and we shared sweet moments that I’ll treasure forever.

We love the Perry family.

Stacy was able to spend her final days surrounded by family and she passed away peacefully, with a smile on her face.

Now the additional work of helping comfort her family begins. There will be a funeral to plan and thankfully there are lots of family and friends nearby that can pitch in at a moment’s notice. But since she leaves behind 4 children and a heart-broken husband, they will need constant love and care during this difficult time. If you are of the praying kind, please keep their family in your thoughts and prayers. I am of the belief that she will see her family again, and that gives me comfort, though for them it will seem like a long time.

Stacy, Mark and the Kids. I believe that Families are Forever.

Of course I still have my own personal obligations to attend to, my family to care for, and work deadlines to meet. But part of my healing process is to share, so thank you for allowing me to share these words and find solace in writing (and quilting). xoxo

46 thoughts on “A Quilt of Love and Grief – Remembering a Dear Friend

  1. Elizabeth E. says:

    Thanks for writing and talking about grief and sorrow and sadness–and how we can incorporate this into our quilts. I’m in awe of all those stitched-on hearts, and how your friends were able to (as you write) “stitch their grief into this work of love.” Thanks, Christa, for a wonderful (yet terribly sad) post. I’ll keep them in my prayers.

  2. NaTisha says:

    This post made me tear up for a multitude of reasons. Mainly because what seemed like a beautiful soul has left her earthly family to be with her heavenly family and left so many heartbroken. But, also how wonderful it was to see how her friends rallied together to do something so meaningful and beautiful for her. I am so glad she was able to see it before she transitioned.

  3. Sheila says:

    Thank you for sharing about this beautiful life, beautiful family, and community coming together to show love and care. Stacy’s family and friends will be in my prayers. Grateful that she knew Jesus and I’ll get to meet her one day!

  4. Liza Alton says:

    What a wonderful and kind thing you all did for her and her family. My sympathies to all during this very sad time. You all will be in my prayers. Hugs.

  5. Rebecca Bostick says:

    Christa, I am so, so sorry for your loss. You were fortunate to have such a good friend, and she was very blessed to have you as her friend. I’m glad that you and your friends were able to wrap Stacy in love with the beautiful quilt. My prayers and thoughts are with Stacy’s family and her friends.

  6. SueBme says:

    Oh my gosh. I follow her page on FB but I did IP not know she passed. I don’t personally know her but through her page I’ve learned what an amazing woman she is. My heart goes out to Mark, their children and the rest of her family friends. The quilt is amazing. So sorry for the loss of your good friend.

  7. Marian Pickney says:

    I’m so sorry you have lost your friend but what a wonderful, caring friend you were to her! That quilt is such a loving tribute and I’m sure it gave her and her family much comfort. God bless you.

  8. Dolores says:

    Thank you. What a wonderful post. My daughter-in-law has four older triplet brothers and one of them is now battling stage four colon cancer. He has been given 3 months and has a loving wife who has taken compassionate leave from work and three young children. Prayers for all.

  9. Erin says:

    What a touching story! Uplifting even though it is about losing someone dear to you. May Christ continue to bring peace and comfort, God bless you for taking on such a meaningful project.

  10. Judy McNeel says:

    So sorry for this devastating loss! Sweet young ones without their mother. I will pray for this family as they begin life without her. I’ve had two daughters with cancer in the past two years and I understand the uncertainty and grief families go through.

  11. Fran says:

    I cried reading this, this first day of Sept. My son died just over 6 goes yrs ago of the same thing. My friends too came together donating quilts for his family and benefits to pay medical bills. It’s a heartfelt story. Quilting gets us through times of grief. Thank you for posting this.

  12. Cortnie says:

    Oh, what a simply wonderful work of service, love and kindness!!! Whoever was in charge of writing mine out added just the right border with the arrows. Arrows are near and dear to my heart, and the Lord knew that. I so wanted Stacy to keep f-ing going, oh and she did!! FOR OVER 3 YEARS!! What an admirable and inspirational fight. I love her for what she taught us and I will never forget that smile. Thank you.

    • Maria Eugénia says:

      So sorry of your dear friend!
      God will help her family, i am sure.
      Love from Portugal.
      PS: The quilt and its meaning is very touching…💙

  13. Carol Lang says:

    Please know how sorry I am to hear about your friend. It is so true that quilters have such big hearts where we can pour our love into a project.

  14. DARLENE LYNN says:

    Sad but so beautiful quilt ti live and cherish. Now she is resting in the arms of Jesus. So sad for husband and children. Prayers

  15. Tammy says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. May you know that God is holding her in the palm of his hand! Peace to you and Stacy’s family.

  16. Donna says:

    You, Christa, are a loving, good friend with a big heart. Touching story. So sorry for your loss. Your quilt will be such a touchstone for the kids and the memories attached to that quilt, priceless. God bless.

  17. Barbara l. Gauldin says:

    Thank you for sharing this special tribute for your friend. It brought tears. Cancer is a terrible disease. Wish they could find a cure. We lost a son to cancer but you never forget a loved one.

  18. Ginabeth says:

    Stacy sounds like she was as wonderful as her smile. Will pray for acceptance for her husband and children. Loosing anyone that is close to us is hard, but sharing helps us to heal a little. I lost a close friend, Martha, 25 years ago from cancer We took several craft classes together.

  19. Diane Jolliffe says:

    I wondered how I followed Stacy’s Journey the last couple of years but now know it through you. She was an amazing & strong lady. I will keep her family in my prayers! Thank you for sharing and the wonderful gesture of the loving quilt!

  20. Kay Welch says:

    Such a tremendous outpouring of love for your friend and her family. This quilt will be of such comfort to them , and they will remember how much their mother was loved by so many. Thank you for sharing with us, and I am certain there is a larger prayer circle for this family because you shared Stacy’s story with us.

  21. mgrayhek@comcast.net says:

    What a wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing. Sending prayers of comfort and love to all whose lives she touched. She looks like such a vibrant, loving woman.

  22. Susan Carpenter says:

    What a creative long lasting way to add signatures to a quilt. I am so used to seeing the signatures on the front. What type of pens did you use? This quilt will bring many years of comfort to her husband and children. God bless you and help you during this time of loss.

  23. Denise Lane says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and will be praying for you as well as Stacy’s family. I lost a dear friend and fellow quilted at the beginning of the year to cancer as well. I think of her everyday but especially when I see her favorite fabric designer and quilts made with rich jewel tones! Blessings!

  24. Nannett Jordan says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Christa. Saying goodbye is never easy. My sincere condolences to you and her family and remaining friends who feel the loss of her presence. I send prayers for peace and strength.

  25. Barbara Hancock says:

    What an inspiration, what a loss, what wonderful friends. Quilters are the best. Sending prayers from Arkansas and working hard to support our local friends with cancer and their families.

  26. Virginia A Hanson says:

    So happy you were able to be involved in making lasting memories for this family. Sorry for your loss, but glad you shared some love and laughs with the family.

  27. Jocelyn Kerr says:

    Thank you for sharing, Christa. I’ve followed Stacy & Mark’s Facebook posts since you first told us about her and her fight with cancer. I join with the others who love the way you chose to provide her and her family comfort from lots of her friends & family members. A beautiful memory for you and a piece of comfort for all those that were able to contribute. Prayers for you & all Stacy’s family members through this difficult time. Peace & love.

  28. karenclark52 says:

    Oh, Christa, I am so sorry for this raw and terrible loss in this life. I agree, families are
    Forever and love always wins, but losing a loved one is agony. What a beautiful thing you have orchestrated for this beautiful family. They and you are I. My prayers for comfort as they grieve and adjust.

  29. Alicia Liermann says:

    What a wonderful thing you were able to do in such a short time. My thoughts and love are with Stacy and her family, as well as all her many friends during this difficult time. I also ready of Stacy’s passing in my Colontown Facebook group (I have had colon cancer twice) and that group of friends is also grieving with you much. Many hugs….

  30. Margaret Sterry says:

    What a bitter|sweet story.I felt the tears as I read it.You are such a dear friend to do this.Please extend my sincerest condolences to her family.I pray they might find comfort in the lord.

  31. Kim from Calgary, Alberta, Canada says:

    My heart and thoughts are with the family and all the friends who are grieving! Such a lovely keepsake for her family and for Stacy to know the love from everyone is with her always!

  32. Wilma Schirra-Kays says:

    Well written. This brought tears to my eyes. I HATE cancer. Have lost so many to this disease. Your quilt will bring many memories to her family, along with comfort.

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