Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Working Through the Emotion

Okay, here's the quilt that has been consuming all my time. It's the quilt about the fire that happened in our town approximately 10 months ago, all the fraught emotion for free. There's a lot of layers and subtleties to this quilt and honestly, I just don't have the time or heart to walk you through every detail right now. And after this is done, let me tell you, it's back to quilting just for fun around here!
The day it started for us....
Plus, I'm still wondering if I'll actually hit 'publish' on this post. It's just one of those quilts that seems kind of intensely crazy for people that weren't actually here. Ahh... so dramatic. It's not like the town was bombed or people died.
Some feelings and emotion...
No, but we lost things. Like our innocence that bad things never happen in our small town, USA. We lost our confidence that when it comes to structures and towns with a low profile, that state fire crews actually care. You think this would have been allowed to happen to a large tourist town? I think not.
So much love and support....
I get upset at the uselessness of it all. Yeah, yeah, nature was doing its thing at a whole new level. I do get that. Wow, do I get that. But there was definitely some communication problems and some mismanagement. We saw soooooo many firemen just standing and watching. Not local firefighters. They were killing themselves off trying to save everything. It was insane.

The whole event was just unreal and it will always stay with us in one way or another. I didn't actually lose my home, but I will never forget those 20-30 minutes of running through the house grabbing up the 'important items', trying to find my youngest son, driving forever to get somewhere safe, and then laying awake during the night thinking about what I wasn't able to take, and even more, worried about everything and everyone. Going back to the house the next day and seeing things fallen on the floor that I was sure were in the suburban and safe. Being on evacuation notice for days after where we were staying with friends. Wondering if a random spark would go ahead and catch fire on our house the next day like it did our cousins house. Should I be taking more out of the house and if so, where would be safe to store it? Worrying about my parents and all they were dealing with, what they were going to do.
Something I'll never forget....
My mom, dad, sister, mother-in-law, cousins, and so many people we knew didn't have the opportunity to go back into their houses because theirs was already in ashes and smoldering. Not just burnt a little, but practically incinerated. It was so unreal. What and how to take care of that, especially the uninsured? Driving through town and seeing friends and neighbors looking in shock and grief at the home they'd lived in all their life. All the tears. All the devastation and trauma. It felt like a bad movie, but instead, they've had to wake up to their new reality every day since. Second guess why they were worried about clearing the table instead of grabbing their pictures.
The whole quilt minus another little flame in the right corner...
So yes, 'Things will never be the same'. And they might be better someday. You never know. To some it is already better in a few ways. My mom and dad moved into their new home a couple weeks ago and it's nicer than anything they've ever lived in. Pretty fantastic actually, if you think losing 40 yrs. worth of stuff you've worked hard for is a good trade off. I'm thinking not as the stress has aged them tremendously and there are things that can never be replaced. We feel very blessed that nobody died. Extremely thankful as it could have happened so easily. There's just so many little stories winding their way through this quilt, but as you can see, I get all emotional just thinking about it. A little angry and maybe even a bit bitter. I need to work on that obviously.

We'll never forget the outpouring of love from people everywhere. The donations and the help. It was simply incredible and very touching. Our lives have been changed since this event and hopefully this quilt has helped me work through the worst of the feelings. It's all pin basted and ready to start stitching now although I'm shaking my head at what to do and where to start. It's been like that all along with this quilt. 'What do I do now?' The quilt show is the day after the first anniversary of the fire. That's my goal. Better get something figured out soon.*wink

35 comments:

  1. Fires have always been my fear - just because you lose those personal items that are sometimes irreplaceable. Glad you made it out safely. So sorry for you and your town.

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  2. Audrey, so happy to see your quilt, your therapy quilt, finally all together. It looks wonderful and I wish I could see it in person. I hope it continues to help you heal and also will help others that were touched by this terrible event. No, Things will never be the same...but I believe we grow from our trials. And look what you have created from it.....

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  3. fires are awful , praying for all of you'll

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  4. I'm glad you were able to use Quilt Therapy to vent your emotions. I'm touched by the result - I wish I could join you in putting in a few quilting stitches. I get it.

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  5. I think the way you're feeling is completely understandable under the circumstances . You, your family, your town has been through a life changing event , and things will never be the same . I think writing it down in this post is probably cathartic in a sense , along with making your quilt, and Im glad you shared your feelings and thoughts with us.

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  6. as the others said "quilt therapy" you can get your emotions out. For me the fear is always a tornado not fire and I don't know why because I have woods all around me. So glad that you didn't loose anyone in your family to this - homes yes, but not the people.

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  7. Que buena terapia!!!
    los incendios me causan mucho dolor
    mi deseo para tos sus familiares, amigos y vecinos
    que pronto puedan reanudar sus actividades
    abrazos

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  8. Wow! Powerful quilt. So much emotion right there in the cloth. I would love to see you hold it up and talk about it to a group someday. It will be a favorite at the show, I'm sure. Congratulations on finishing the top. Enjoy the stitching.

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  9. I see so much of your energy in this quilt. I see resiliency, recuperation and recovery. It speaks to the therapeutic qualities of quilting and how much the process means to all of us. I know you are not done yet - what is missing? Here on the east coast it's hurricanes we worry about. When Sandy virtually drowned my sister's house and the ensuing fire destroyed her neighbor's homes, I made her a quilt. It's important to rebuild too.

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  10. Big hugs to you all. You are indeed blessed to have quilting in which to express the many emotions that you and your loved ones endured. I cannot say I understand because that would be insulting, I haven't lived through your experience, but what I can say is I will listen whilst you try and make sense of such random events.

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  11. Oh Audrey! Well done for hitting the publish button. I live in fire prone Australia and every summer it's a major fear hanging over the country. Luckily we've never had to experience the trauma, but it came close to my parents several years ago. I hope that by the time this quilt is hung you will feel that it's been cathartic, although the events will never truly fade from memory I guess. Big hugs.

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  12. Wonderful to see the whole quilt. It's obvious a lot of energy and emotion have gone into it. It is going to be a quilt that is treasured by your posterity.

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  13. As I was reading through your post, I started getting the shivers and I ended up with tears in my eyes. Unbelievable circumstances lead to unbelievable strength. Your quilt documents a story for future generations and will become an heirloom for your children and your town. Thanks for having the courage to post the story.

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  14. I hope one day you will be able to look back at this quilt and know that it helped you heal. Maybe it will remind you that you can overcome anything. It might take a while, but maybe one day it will represent a journey that you survived and were made stronger by. Hugs to you!

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  15. WOW. I have seen bits and pieces of this quilt at a time. I would love to be near this quilt during the show to hear the reactions. There will be. Glad you published this post. Any art brings so many elements along with it. I see pain, confusion, but also a future. I live in tornado alley & have seen that type of destruction up close and personnel. These type of tragedies don't care what kind of money you make or what mementos you have in your house. I have seen a row of houses taken to the ground, and one left completely untouched. Those people were happy for the saving of their house, but surrounded by others who lost everything. There is guilt. There is also love. When people live, they share hope and rebuilding. One day this quilt will share joy at the strength of your family & your city.

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  16. Tears here : ) XO

    I remember being so worried about you folks and the shock when we heard what had happened ...your parents home, etc. Audrey this is one powerful quilt and oh my so many letters and things to applique. You have truly put heart and soul in to this quilt. It is going to amaze people at the show.

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  17. I was wondering if your mother got settled into their home and was able to start making quilts again.

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  18. I know this is such an emotional piece for you, but what a treasure to share with others. I hope it will preserved as an integral part of your community's history. I'm proud of you for enduring the emotional stress and finishing it for others to see.

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  19. what a horrible tragedy for you all. your quilt is amazing and conveys so much emotion.

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  20. As others have said, this is a powerful quilt, but you have such strong emotions to express it's not surprising they've produced something like this. I'm glad you decided to hit the publish button - this is a great reminder that quilts aren't just about making something pretty (not that there's anything wrong with that) but are our way of showing who we are and what we feel.

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  21. Oh, yes, this is a powerful quilt. Even though the story is sad, it carries such strong emotions and memories. I remember several quilts from the Million Dollar fire in Colorado. Storytelling quilts are very important. I think this will be an important historical document and a family heirloom.

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  22. "It's not like the town was bombed or people died." Yes, almost as traumatic! We had a house fire when I was a young child, so I can relate a tiny tiny bit. I love that quilting is so therapeutic. It's a great story quilt and you must let it tell the story of Pateros.

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  23. wow, what a journey you have been on since the start of this fire. Some things will never leave, but they will be thought of less and less. big hugs to you, this piece is amazing.

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  24. So sorry this happened to you, to your family and to your town. Your quilt tells the story in such a real and dramtic way. I do hope that working on it has helped you some, and that it will continue to help others. As for the quilting - yes get started - this is an important quilt. (((Cyber hugs)))

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  25. Audrey - I think you've chosen a very wise way to work through all the emotions from this life altering event you went through - bravo! Hopefully when the quilt is finished you'll be able to obtain a small sense of closure - I applaud and admire you! (hugs)

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  26. Your quilt really makes a statement You really did a terrific job and I hope it has helped you work through some of the emotions associated with this event in your life.
    So happy to hear your parent are settling into their new home.

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  27. Audrey, it's hard for some of us to imagine the unimaginable. We can not begin to know what you and your family and neighbors went through. But, we are so very thankful that you are all still here. Hopefully, this quilt will not be so much of a memory quilt, but a healing quilt.

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  28. Wow, that is a powerful story and a powerful quilt. I hope it's helped you work through some of the emotions of the fire, although I'm sure this is NOT something you'll ever "get over". How could you? What a terrible, terrible thing to happen. It makes me remember watching a grass fire coming up the hill towards our house in California. Scared me half to death, but the firemen got it out before it reached all the houses, thank God. I think it's horrible that the firemen at your fire could just stand around!! Shocking!

    I can only imagine all the decisions that went into making this quilt top....not to mention all the work this has been! This is the quilt of a lifetime, I think. You have made a beautiful quilt, in spite or maybe because of all the pain and anger. I love the whimsical applique you've done. (quite a contrast to the story of the quilt) I wish you the best of luck to get all the quilting done in time for the quilt show.

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  29. You are making a wonderful quilt. I remember how sad I was by this tragedy and how this touched me because we went through several huge fires and earthquakes here in Greece! However our family was spared.

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  30. Thank you for sharing this quilt, and the story behind it, with us. It sounds as though the making of this quilt was a painful but partially-healing process for you. You are a true artist and putting this commemorative quilt out into the world allows all of us to learn and grow from your tragedy.

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  31. This is really amazing. I love the scattered images of things you saved. And to think of all the applique involved, holy cow!... I know because I just made a "story" quilt with about 1/10 of the detail yours has. Wow. I hope this quilt goes to a lot of shows so people can see and share the power of your experience.

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  32. This is such an important quilt! Brava for making this - part story quilt, part memoir and part historic account of a harrowing time for your community and for you and your family personally.

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  33. I missed this post but it is just perfect. Thank you for hitting publish.

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  34. What is the quilt show where you will hang this quilt?

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