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This blog is now all about my personal life, including updates concerning Jerry's health. For quilt and pattern related posts please visit

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Quilting Story--Part 3

(You might need to go back and read Part 1 or Part 2 before starting here.)

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.


Jan said...

What a story ,who would take the quilt from him ? bless you and may Todd Kaliph be at peace now Jan xx,

John'aLee said...

Your post has left me teary. Thank you so much for sharing your personal story...and for 'the quilting' part of it too. May your brother rest in peace. And a big ole quilting hug to you!

Pat said...

Oh gosh, Tonya - I've got a lump in my throat.
I think you are quite right, your brother, love his heart, did beat the Beast within.
Huge *hugs* to you xx

B-Z-Quilting said...

God bless, I am sure it is difficult to even put your story in words. I am so thankful that Todd found peace before he passed.

Judi said...

Tonya thanks so much for sharing with us. I know it's been a release for you to finally share. Looking forward to much more for you!

Lindah said...

Thank your so much for sharing this story. Such a sad story with a beautiful ending. --except the part about the theft of the quilt. I am new to your blog and feel privileged to read your story.
Looking forward to getting better acquainted on future posts.

QuiltSue said...

That can't have been easy for you to write, but I hope it's helped that you have done it. Your brother did win out over his Beasts and hopefully your quilting helped you too.

Blondie ~ Vintage Primitives said...

Sweet Tonya,
I was so touched by not only your story but the underlying story of love for family that is so familiar to me. We all have a beast within us, we all have the ability to tame that beast through our victorious walk in Christ. I know that sounds simplistic and may offend some. I am happy that your precious brother conquered his beast. I am also hopeful that whoever took that quilt will someday understand the significance of it and thereby come face to face with their own beast.
You are a gem. I think I will keep you.
Blessings in abundance

Bren said...

Tonya! The quilt you made your brother is gorgeous. You are right...he did beat the beast!!
I want your stories to keep going!

Gene Black said...

you really touched my heart.

Mary L. said...

What a wonderful but sad story. I'm so happy you could reconnect with your brother and we both know he is in a better place. We still miss those that leave us. Your quilt for him was awesome.

SewCalGal said...

My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your soul through this story. As I read this, I would like to think that who ever took this quilt was someone who loved Todd and wanted to feel and smell him through the quilt you made for him. While I don't approve stealing, I do so hope that whomever took the quilt did it not in a manner of stealing, but in a manner of love for Todd (Kaliph). And, hopefully this is true and that Todd's spirit carries forward in you, and whomever is snuggling in this special quilt, in his memory.

Hugs, many hugs.