the photos are shots of some of my latest squares i've worked on through the long Memorial weekend. i still need to add the fabric to the sides to sew them together then add them to my quilt.
i'm having days. not horrible. not good. sort of halfway between tragic and numb. i'm sewing on the commissions and in talking to the ones who've trusted me with the clothes of their deceased spouses, i feel humble. i start early and work until late. my insomnia seems endless and i've heard, read, and been told that sleep becomes so rare as to be on the endangered list. but the last few days, just over Memorial Day weekend, and now through this week, i've found that i'm exhausted along about 11 AM. by then i've been up for 5 or 6 hours and i have to lie down. and that's when i dream, the only time i dream.
my dreams are always of him. i don't tell myself to dream of him, it isn't a "fragment of an underdone potato," it is my heart, i guess, trying to weave an ephemeral net of wishes and memories for me to find a moment's peace. i find i don't want to wake up but, i have to face the rest of my day, the remainder of my life.
so i go back to sewing. 5 quilts ordered. it's a good feeling that i deeply appreciate. it means rent and food. but at night when i knock off, i move into working on my own quilt. i hold the piece of his clothing i want to work with next and i sketch lightly in white pencil what i want. and then i paint it in with my needle, up and down, through the denim again and again, over and over carrying the colored floss to give life and depth to what's in my heart. i work until my hands ache, until my fingers hurt and cramp. by the time i set my own husband quilt aside, i've been sewing for 12 to 15 hours.
i can't stop this punishment of myself. i look for more and more work. tuesday i built a cactus garden for an elderly woman, weeded her garden areas, and started on a stone wall. stone after stone set into place. it was a back breaking day and she was not home. she had left a couple of water bottles out for me. it rained on me for about an hour and i felt like it was a mixed blessing. i was so hot and it felt good, but it also felt so lonely working so hard alone. i got it all done though, except for finishing the wall. that is a work in progress.
at one point, i sat down on the walkway and cried. i cried for my husband. i cried should he ever find out how hard i was working. i cried for the pittance i was being paid but she is an elderly widow on a fixed income, and i know how that is. my own income is fixed on what i can scratch out of the dirt. literally that day. my husband's benefits haven't kicked in. "it takes time."
if he were here, he'd rub my wrenched shoulders and my aching feet. he'd brush my hair and tuck me into bed. he'd crawl in beside me and hold me, whispering to me, and i'd fall asleep. i'd be safe. i'd be loved. i wouldn't be a widow.
but that didn't happen. i went home alone. took my little dogs out. they had missed me. they panic a bit now whenever i'm gone for an extended period of time. their master has been gone for a long time so i believe, foolishly probably, but in my exhaustion, i believe they worry about me. i showered. i made a grilled cheese sandwich. and then i sewed into the night. pushing the needle through the fabric, joining pieces of this shirt and those jeans, embroidering names and dates for other widows and widowers.
if i can't afford more oil paints, then i can comfort myself and others by painting with a needle and thread. it's soft work. something my husband used to like to watch me do.
i pretend he is at the other end of the sofa watching me in the soft light of the night.