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Friday, January 28, 2011

Grandmas are people too!

The fabric keeps on a comin'! Woohoo! I love it. Keep spreading the word. I want to make at least 10 baby quilts in the next few months and start them on their journey to comfort those women around the globe who are mourning the loss of a child. I need flannel. To represent those who are lost. But never forgotten.

Look at this adorable flannel I received today! Have you seen anything happier? It's the happiest fabric on earth.

This fabric comes to us from this sweet, spunky woman named Marilyn Larsen. She is little Ladybug's grandma.

A few weeks ago I got an email from her which said:

I'm Amy's momma and Ella's grandma. (the Matriarchal Madwoman) I would LOVE to send you some flannel because I want other grandmas to know of the love and compassion I have for them. So often we focus on the mommy (as it should be), but the grandparents suffer as well. I never saw my husband cry so hard as when we were watching our daughter hold her baby as her little heart stopped beating. We suffer for the loss of a precious grandchild, but the pain of watching your child suffer is incredible.

I have spoken to several other grandmas who confirm this is TOO TRUE!

In the letter I received with the fabric, Marilyn says:

I'm donating this in honor of Ella Standage, who came into this world Dec 29, 2010 and passed a couple of hours later. I'm honored to be her grandma and hope that this bright happy fabric will comfort another grieving mommy.

I've given the fabric a big hug and am sending it with all my love and prayers for those parents AND grandparents who grieve for our lost little ones. I'm honored to know that I have a choice, perfect granddaughter who will watch over us always.

I just love it when people say things better than me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lady Bug, Lady Bug, Fly Away Home

Remember Amy and Ella? My inspiration for the Sisterhood of the Magic Traveling Baby Quilt project?

Well, the project is underway and Amy has contributed some flannel fabric for the quilt to honor her little Ella.

Ladybug was Ella's nickname whenever Amy talked about her online, and even though Ella was born and died on the same day, there is sonographic evidence which captures her perfect little ladybug loveliness while she was alive:

Ella Standage

Born: December 29, 2010

Died: December 29, 2010

Safe Passage Ella, as you fly away home.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Emma and Taylor

Here's a heartwrenching story:

I have received several emails asking for my address for the purpose of sending flannel for our traveling baby quilts, but today I received the first fabric in the mail.

It is in honor of conjoined twin girls. Emma and Taylor shared a heart. It's a beautiful metaphor, but the logistics of sharing a heart are quite a bit more complicated. This past August, at three years old, they underwent sugery to qualify them for heart transplants.

Neither one of them survived the surgery.


This fabric was donated on behalf of the twins' mother, Mandy, by her sister-in-law, Sara.

Blue and purple were Emma and Taylor's favorite color.

This post goes out in memoriam to honor:

Emma and Taylor Bailey

Born: September 2o, 2006

Died: August 10, 2010

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Be the comfort you want to see in the world

Yesterday was Ella's funeral. I read her mother, Amy's words this morning and one line in particular struck me: 

Hearts that have been broken wide open need to be filled up with something else. 

How profound!

Maybe that's why it is so important to fill broken hearts with love and comfort and compassion, before they get filled up with bitterness, anger, and regret.  Broken hearts are so darn vulnerable like that.  

I was just made aware of this family who recently lost their 14-month-old son, Andrew. He died in his sleep of SIDS. It's a parent's worst nightmare! The thing we all secretly fret over and fear. Let us all go and give this family a hug! 

I bet my sister will make another "for keeps" baby blanket like the one she made for Amy.

She just asked me yesterday to let her know if there is anyone else who needs one. Making baby blankets is such a productive way to grieve the loss of a child, don't you think? Just another way to fill up a heart that's been split wide open. 

Hey, I just thought of a new motto! 

Be the comfort you want to see in the world. 

I'm surprised Gandhi didn't think of that. ;)

So, to summarize: If you have lost a child, or know of someone who has, please join hands with the rest of us to soften the blow for others who are experiencing the same loss. It can be an adult child, or a miscarriage, it mattereth not. It can even be a grandchild or a niece or nephew. If you loved a child that has shuffled off this mortal coil, I am asking you to donate a piece of flannel in his/her honor. In remembrance. In memoriam.

So how can you join hands with us? 

1. Send a piece of flannel fabric which represents the child of honor. It can be a yard, or several yards, or simply a 12x12 square. 

2. Include your child's name and birth date AND death date. (My sister says the death date is very important to her since her son died.) 

3. The flannel will be cut into quilt blocks and sewn together with love, and with other quilt blocks honoring other children who have finished their earthly journey. 

4. The child's name, birth date and death date will appear in the corner of his/her quilt block. 

5. The baby quilt(s) (hopefully we will make dozens) will begin their journey as magic traveling quilts. Each person who receives the quilt will keep it as long as they need, until they feel ready to part with it and until they find someone else whose heart has split open wide and needs a filler. They will then pass it on. And so on and so on and so on. 

6. A notebook, which my sister is at this very moment making, will accompany the quilt on it's magical journey. The notebook will be for writing letters, messages, quotes, or little love notes to the absent child. This will be cathartic for both the writer and the subsequent readers. 

7. If you would like to include a love note to your child to be inserted into the magic notebook before it is sent out to the first recipient, please send it to me along with your fabric, or email it to  

And please raise your hand if you would like to help sew "for keeps" blankets, or help piece together the traveling magic baby quilts once we get rolling.

Let's get to work, peeps!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Amy and Ella (and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Magic Baby Quilt)

I've been taking my dog for walks around the duck pond a few miles from our house lately, and while I walk, I think. Sometimes I think about life and sometimes I think about the ducks, who swim along the waters edge, trailing me, as I make my way around. They honk, honk, honk at me, as if to say "I'm starving! Did you bring me anything to eat?"

Ever since I fell in love with my dog, Lulu, I have developed this soft spot for animals. I can't stand to think of them hungry or neglected. Maybe that, coupled with the fact that I too know what it feels like to be hungry and needy, makes me feel enormously sorry for them.

So, of course, I've started bringing them food.

It's one of the benefits of pain and sorrow . . . once you feel it, you don't want others to feel it. And when you see them feeling it, you can't help but reach out and try to soften the blow.

But how do you soften the blow? With soft words?--I'm so sorry--soft prayers?--God be with you as you sorrow--soft blankets? --May I offer you a place to bury your head and cry. A place we have stitched together with love and compassion. You are not alone in your suffering. We have been there. We have all been there.  

I don't know if it's possible to soften life's blows, all I know is that we have to try. 

I recently heard a story about a mother who loses her child. It's an old story. A mother loses a baby. She is not the only person in the world to lose a baby--I could name dozens off the top of my head, and that's just who I know personally. I suspect you could name dozens too, but no matter how many mothers lose their babies, each story will always be immediate and deeply personal. And above all, agonizing. My sister, Melanie lost a baby 12 years ago. His name was Matthew and he lived for 12 hours.

Her only son.

You could say that sometimes bad things happen, and draw little analogies about life's challenges, but it doesn't help when you're the one suffering. I'm going to draw little analogies anyway.

A few weeks ago my daughter filled the car up with Diesel gas. It felt like a catastrophe at the time, but out of all the stress and worry we found something we've been looking for for a long, long time--a decent mechanic who we can trust 100% and who makes house calls and who only charges half the price of other mechanics. And who, when we said, "Thank you for your help," he said, "Thank you for the work."  

And like last week when my hub lost the remote control . . . he was tearing the house apart, meanwhile my boys couldn't change the channel so guess what they were stuck watching? The 700 club with Pat Robertson. Seems like a bum deal for a 12-year-old boy, but you know what they said about it?

"I'm kinda glad dad lost the remote because we got to watch all these miracles of Jesus Christ."

There's a moral here. There's a definite moral here. When bad things happen we often find what we've been looking for, and we get to watch the miracles of Jesus Christ.

God blesses the broken road that leads us back to him.

Meanwhile, the broken road smarts something fierce at times, and we need to try to soften those blows.

So I told my sister about Amy and the first thing she said was, "I want to make her a quilt!" She already had a lot of material because she's been collecting flannel for a while now, hoping for an opportunity to bring comfort to those who are going through the same loss she did.

Below is the fabric she chose to make the blanket for Amy. She chose white, which represents purity and the heavenly place where Ella now resides.

This is the finished product, which I mailed off to Amy this morning.

My sister and I decided that we would send Amy a small receiving blanket--the one pictured above--that she could keep forever.  Something just for her.

But we are also going to make a Magic Baby Quilt, which, when completed, we will send to Amy to kick off our Sisterhood of the Traveling Magic Baby Quilt project.  She will keep the quilt as long as she needs to, until she finds the next recipient--someone going through the same loss--and then she will pass the Magic Baby Quilt along.

And so on and so on and so on.

The magic will be grow stronger every time a mother receives the blanket and passes it on.

Along with the Magic Baby Quilt, there will be a Magic Baby Book. We will call it something like Letters to Heaven. Each mother who receives the notebook will write the name of her child in the book, along with a letter to her child. After a while, the book will be filled with letters to Heaven, which will hopefully be cathartic and bring comfort to many mourning mothers.


How will the quilt be made? What will it look like? I was just getting to that.

The quilt will be made up of flannel fabric sent in by you. If you've lost a baby, or even an adult child, I am asking for you to send me flannel fabric--as much or as little as you like--which represents your child, along with your child's full name and birth date. We will cut the fabric into quilt blocks in honor of your child. We will then print your child's name and birth date onto clear iron-on decals and iron it into the corner of their quilt block(s).

I am thinking big. I want a lot of material so we can get a lot of baby quilts circulating.

I'm soliciting material from people I know who have lost a child, but if  you've lost a child or know someone who has, please spread the word and join our efforts.

If you would like to include a letter to your child before the magic book is delivered to Amy, please email the letter to me at  You can also send the letters snail mail. Email me for my address.

Look to it, peeps!

P.s. To keep updated on Amy's story, you can find her on my sidebar at My Infernal Journal.