We met at the cemetery
She stood over the grave of her twins
Who died at twenty three weeks.
Blustery December winds
Whipping at her heavy coat
Blowing against her tan felt hat
Vacant, sunken eyes, lips frozen in a line,
Tears rolling down her thin cheeks,
Like icicles at the end of her chin.
A gray casket
Surrounded by loving grandparents,
Aunts, uncles, cousins
Carrying carnations for the burial.
The father holding their two-year-old son,
A big brother hardly comprehending the meaning of
A tiny box,
An open hole,
Two siblings lost.
I stood by watching
Holding my carnations in hand.
Later, I wrote my sympathies
And offered to give her a ride
To a support group
For parents who have lost babies.
She had hoped for a house full of children.
Slowly driving over snow-covered roads,
Sliding occasionally on a patch of ice joined with packed snow
Like two pieces of fabric sewn together.
In the car, we got acquainted.
A fellow quilter,
An instant bond
Over our friendship with fabric.
The weeks and months passed
I brought occasional meals,
Playing with her toddler to give her time alone,
Watching her skilled hands make complex-patterned quilts,
Standing with her at the cemetery a year later
With two bunches of flowers,
Honoring the coming and going
Of these two children born in November,
The week before Thanksgiving.
Slowly she emerged,
Still crying inside,
Smiling on the outside for those around her.
One day she asked me over for tea.
She served me with a porcelain teapot, a wedding gift,
Covered with butterflies and a yellow butterfly handle.
Delicate cups with
A painted lady bug inside.
Our friendship extended beyond quilted fabric to wedding china
And entered our hearts.
One day over the butterfly teapot,
She told me they were moving.
Heartbroken, trying to contain my tears,
Not wanting to ruin the joy of her husband’s promotion,
Or her excitement for new adventures.
We said good-bye a few weeks later
And kept in touch, always ending our emails with,
“My dearest friend.”
Three years later,
After many cards, letters, and emails,
She wrote to say they were moving again,
Back to the area where I met her,
Back to the children left behind, but always
Carried in her heart.
Last week we were reunited,
The butterfly teapot and ladybug cup
waited on the kitchen table.
We laughed, I cried.
Joy in being back together,
Sharing her excitement of creating new quilting patterns, a new website, a new business,
All from things learned in her time away from here.
Two hearts who met on the saddest of days
Pieced together in wind and snow
That December morning.
Bound with love over time.
Witnessed and warmed
with the butterfly teapot and ladybug cup.