Caretakers Quilt

Caretakers Quilt
Caretakers Quilt

I’ve been trying to write about my Caretakers Quilt for days.  I know it came from my experience of taking care of Jon last week when he was so sick with Lyme Disease, but other than that I’m finding it hard to explain all the feelings that came with that experience.

Taking care of someone I love is new to me.   I don’t want to sound like I’m whining or complaining or comparing this situation to those people who are taking care of someone with a chronic or terminal illness.  But last week I got a glimpse of  what that might be like.  And it made me so sad that I couldn’t even admit it to myself.  Because Jon is 17 years older than me and of course I don’t know, but there’s a good chance I may be taking care of him at the end of his life.

But the beautiful part of it and the only reason I can imagine that my quilt is so bright and cheerful is that I found I really loved taking care of Jon.  I’ve met many women and men who have taken care of their spouse or child or parent for years and I never imagined myself capable of doing that. And I know you can’t compare three days to years of illness.  In those three days I thought about myself and my work and the practicality  of everyday life.  But last week I saw a part of me that I didn’t know existed.  For the first time in my life I know what it feels like to want to take care of someone, not out of obligation, but out of love.  In making the  quilt I saw what I was really feeling,  it wasn’t the drudgery in caretaking  but the beauty of it.


The back of Caretakers Quilt
The back of Caretakers Quilt

caretakers quilt sig



27 thoughts on “Caretakers Quilt

  1. this is beautiful , and such a hard thing to put into words..but you did it perfectly. after a long day at the hospital as a nurse, I was always surprised at myself that I could come home and take care of a sick child or sick husband…truly what true love is I guess.

  2. Maria what a beautiful post. I am taking care of my husband who has appendiceal cancer. It is not curable but is treatable with constant chemo. Every day we have together is precious, and you put into such beautiful words how I feel. Thank you.

  3. Just a vibrant and beautiful piece of work. I can’t tell you how much I just love the backing pattern. Great work Maria!

    1. The backing is 2 pieces of the same fabric Sarah. It’s really perfect to back a quilt with. I was lucky enough to get a big box of such pieces of fabric from a sewer getting rid of some of her old collection of material.

  4. Beautiful post, Maria……truly right from the heart. Your light really shines, and we ALL are better for it.

  5. Maria-
    The close up was perfect for me. I saw all those prints that I used to make dresses for my daughter. The dark blue with the green flowers was a Holly Hobby dress.

    1. Remembering such things is what makes using other peoples left over fabrics so special, Jill. It makes a connection of memories and emotions.

  6. “What a pretty quilt” I thought as I saw the photo and then I read the message below it. The quilt made me smile when I saw it and now I know why. Caring for someone who is sick can sometimes be daunting and depressing (have taken care of my husband a number of times) BUT it is also something else entirely. I can’t even put a name to it – but it is the part of us that made me smile when I looked at the quilt…..does that make any sense?

    1. Yes Pat, that’s why I had such a hard time writing about it. My feelings came out in the quilt, I didn’t have words for it. I’m so glad you were able to see it.

  7. I just love all the patterns. With your close up shot one can appreciate the beauty of each one and then the whole view shot shows how you artfully arranged them. Lovely

  8. This is a beautiful post Maria. I’m still catching up on things from vacation and hadn’t read it till now. Caring for someone is truly loving them and showing them that they are important to you. It is a gift of love that you will gladly give to Jon as he ages as he will give care to you. How very fortunate the two of you are that you have one another.

  9. Isn’t it a strange feeling? My husband said that he turned 40 and started falling apart! This year he’s had issues with his hands and arms and now his knee, all things he’ll need for later.:) Whenever we go into Boston for tests we find a new diner or restaurant to try to make the trip worth it. Glad to hear that Jon is feeling better!

  10. Never posted on your blog or Jon’s before,but follow both. What your husband said in his about his love for you and your love for each other is exactly how my husband feel about each other, this being our second marriage, each.

    A short three months after my husband retired, I was diagnosed with leukemia. To say we were both shocked is putting it mildly. Many tears and most loving moments followed. When I get ill, he takes care of me. I often have very good days even though my energy gets quickly zapped. What a gift he has given me. I know how hard this is for him, my sons and extended family. Far worse than for me. While our dreams of happy retirement years have been shattered, our love and devotion to each other has not. The care taking you have given Jon during his recent illness may be most difficult for you and feelings hard for you to express. But you nailed it in that gorgeous quilt ( using all my favourite colours, by the way).

    Like you, my husband has amazed me as he has assumed caretaking duties. He didn’t think he could do it. When love is behind your actions, or behind your creative quilt creations, know you are on the right track. If it had been you bitten by the insect, or my husband bitten by leukemia, we would do the same for each of you. It’s the most generous gift of love, and we are grateful. I hope you know that and can feel that deep in your soul. I wish the best for both of you.

    1. Through your story and others, Gina, I’m seeing again and again what love does to us. And how it is love and not all the other stuff that really matters. Thank you for letting us see the true beauty of your life with your husband.

  11. Dear Maria
    My husband and I had 36 years together, and every year was richer than the last. Our age difference was similar to yours and Jon’s. You already know that my beautiful husband passed away recently. I had stopped reading your blog and Jon’s blog, and did not know that Jon was fighting Lyme disease at the same time my husband died. I can tell you that through the four years my husband was ill and mostly in severe pain, our relationship only deepened. Somewhat paradoxically, I loved every minute of caring for him as it was an expression of my love for him. What a cruel trick life can play. Or perhaps this is just one of the many acts of a loving and full marriage. With grieving as I am doing, the final act. As C.S. Lewis suggests in A Grief Observed, bereavement is the last responsibility of the surviving spouse to live her marriage well and faithfully.
    I am so happy to here that Jon is recovering. Grief can plunge a person into time warp, another reality, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts on caregiving.

    1. Laurel, I was just telling Jon about you and your husband, Fred, this morning. The love and the leaving and the remembering and grieving. Thanks and my thoughts are with you.

  12. Beautifully written. Lovingly quilted. Both your words and your art express what you feel so profoundly. Roger was diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer in 2009. There is a 14-year age difference. Though we know things may not be as we originally envisioned before he was diagnosed, we still kid and joke about when he’s 100, I’ll still be “a child” of 86. He has good and not-so-good days and when he’s having one of the latter, there isn’t anything I can’t or won’t do for him. That’s true when he has good days, too. He does the same for me, though thankfully, I’m not coping with chronic disease, so my “yuk” days are few. It’s easy to love someone when everything is great. Continuing to love someone when it’s clear he is hurting and ill is demanding, but when you love someone, there’s no question that what you do is done gladly and willingly and with love.

    1. You’d never know you were both dealing with such a thing Susan. In my relationship with Jon, I’m finding out what you already know.

  13. Maria

    Such a beautiful post and quilt.! It made me tear up.

    And such wonderful comments from everyone.

    Take care,

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