Monday, September 27, 2021


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, 

People crying,

Two siblings lost. 

I stood by watching

With compassion

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. 

She talked, 

I listened.

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.   

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