When I picked out a pattern for my first quilt,
I didn't pay attention to details,
what methods were used,
or how complicated it was.
(your first teaser photo)
When I saw the pattern,
in the Foundation Piecer magazine,
I just knew that I needed to make it for my brother!
Wow! Was it hard!
It was paper piecing,
which I had no idea what THAT was.
So, after a lot of sweat and tears trying to figure it out,
I bought a Quiltmaker magazine.
I found a rainforest quilt that was paper pieced,
and I made it instead.
(No photo, more about this quilt later.)
(teaser photo #2)
About this time, it was April.
I had just started on a large quilt for myself,
a paper pieced stars quilt.
I received a phone call from someone that lived in my brother's apartment building whom would kindly drive my brother grocery shopping, etc.
He said that he found my phone number in my brother's address book,
and that my brother didn't seem to be doing good.
I flew out to California the first of May,
and he was right.
My brother was not doing well at all.
(teaser photo #3)
I spent the next two months flying back and forth
helping arrange for my brother's last days
and caring for him.
The quilt that I have been teasing you with
was not quite done, and I knew I needed to hurry
if my brother was to ever see it before he passed away.
In the mean time, while traveling,
I took the large quilt that I showed you earlier.
I thought I might try to learn hand quilting while on the plane.
My brother got mad at me because I just used a sheet for the backing.
He didn't understand that this was just a learning project for me,
and I didn't mind using a sheet at all.
Things got really busy for me.
I flew out to California every other week,
then on my week back home I would go sit with my
grandfather twice a week, who had Alzheimer's,
so that my grandmother could go run errands.
I also had two children; both of them being homeschooled.
My star quilt became my 'out'.
I would work on it of an evening while in the hotel room.
On one visit to Todd,
I tried to get him to let me show him the quilt
I was making for him, but he still refused.
I did take my rainforest quilt for him;
the hospice nurses said that he wouldn't let it out of his site
for even a moment.
Todd passed away in early July.
I never finished my star quilt.
I still haven't.
But, I sleep under it every night...
and drag it with me on vacations.
Here is what the edge looks like now:
I don't want to finish it.
It's just is more meaningful to me that way.
I did finally finish my brothers quilt.
I have titled it
"Kaliph verses the Beast"
One lady that knew my brother got angry with me for naming it that.
She was looking at it that "The Beast" killed my brother.
Actually, my brother won.
Two days before he died, I had to fly home because
my grandfather had taken a turn for the worse.
A quick note about my brother here--
all the months that I cared for him,
and when hospice cared for him,
Todd would have TERRIBLE night mares!
And he would wake up screaming,
"Dad, don't hurt Tonya!
Dad, don't you touch her!"
(there are some family members
that don't know this and, if you read this,
it might shock or anger you,
and I am really sorry if it does.
I wouldn't have revealed this part of our life,
but it has to do with the close of my story.
also--dad never, EVER, laid a hand on me,
Todd just didn't know that,
and was too far gone mentally to be told otherwise.)
I would have to re-assure Todd
that I was fine, and after about an hour we'd get him calmed down.
Until he fell into a fitful sleep and it would start all over again.
The sweet little Sisters at the Hospice
would be moved to tears each and every time.
The day I left,
I asked a minister to please go be with my brother.
I knew his time left was very short.
And, do you know what?
After that minister came,
my brother calmed down in his spirit.
He didn't have another fitful sleep.
Or let out another scream.
The sisters were so surprised about it,
they called me at home to tell me about it.
Todd (Kaliph) died peacefully two days later.
You see, he DID beat "The Beast".
He beat the beast within.
He died clutching the rain forest quilt in his sleep.
When the Sister called to tell me he had passed,
she was quite agitated.
It seems that someone stole the rainforest quilt
right off my brother's limp body.
She went in to check on him, and knew it was time,
stepped out for a moment to get some other Sisters,
came back and he had left this earth.
The rainforest quilt was no where to be found.