We do frequently keep and display paper based art work, but it's so much harder to preserve paper versions in good condition.
With a drawing in the sand, it's impossible to keep it and cherish it as I would like, even for a short time, never mind for ever.
There was something about this picture of a mermaid which Venetia drew in the sand the other week that I loved. And I also loved how proud she was of it.
I'd taken photographs, and it was easy to recreate in fabric with some machine embroidery.
The tide came in and washed away the original. Part of the inevitable and natural ebb and flow of the sea; drawings in the sand are only fleeting. But now as well as our memories of Venetia's mermaid and fun at the beach that day, we have tangible memories in both the photos and the mini quilt.
Just as pictures in the sand, our lives here are fleeting, in the grand scheme of things. And unfortunately, though without the predictability of tides, it is just as inevitable and natural that our time will come to an end. But memories remain.
My Mum passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning. She died peacefully in bed, here at home, with my Dad beside her. She had Parkinsons and her health has been very poor for several years. We've had a few scares with her over these years, and have feared she might not make it on more than one occasion. She was stronger than she appeared and managed to fight back on each occasion. This time it was pneumonia, possibly brought on by her problems swallowing. Despite our hopes that the antibiotics might work and she might beat the odds again, we were told early last week that she wasn't going to make it this time.
Over the last years my Mum has struggled, emotionally and mentally, to deal with the effects Parkinsons had on her physically. In many ways she hasn't been the Mum I remembered from when I was growing up. And sadly her grandchildren, our four and my brothers' two girls, will not really remember their Grandma very well from pre-Parkinsons days. But the Mum I will remember now is the Mum who read books with my brother and I. The Mum who cooked us delicious meals each night and looked after us when we were poorly. Whose kisses and cuddles made us feel better. I have such strong memories of going to the market with her every Saturday, and buying our fruit and veg and fresh fish for our tea. The Mum who worked hard to make long Summer caravanning holidays such wonderful experiences for us year after year - even though, with hindsight, I'm not so sure caravan holidays would have been her first choice personally! But she recognised that they were great for us and that was what mattered to her. The Mum who walked across beaches searching for tiny turret shells with me, who gave me my love of rock pooling, and drew pictures in the sand with me. The Mum who loved to sew, who made me so many of my clothes when I was little and who first introduced me to patchwork and quilts. She taught me to use a sewing machine and bought me my first sewing machine when I had left home.
These are the memories I want to hold on to now. And although Sam, Theo, Venetia and Maria don't remember any of these, they are the experiences that have shaped who I am now. They've turned me into the Mother I am for my four gorgeous children. Among other things a mother who loves to read with my children, who cooks (hopefully!) delicious meals every night, who loves to spend time on the beach with my children, and of course who sews with my children and encourages their creativity. So although, directly, these happy memories of my Mum will only last until the tide washes away my picture...
Indirectly she is still shaping my children every day, and they are benefitting from her time here, even though they didn't get to see the full beauty of her pre-Parkinsons picture. And, in turn, I know these memories I am creating now with my children, will shape the parents they become into the future.
And as for the more tangible memories? Obviously lots of photos.
|I think I must have been about 11 here, Maria says my hair looks almost like a boys!|
As well as many pictures my Mum painted.
But also quilts. Bringing us full circle with the very start of this post, one of the things I love about quilts is their longevity. I find something very comforting in the fact that the quilts I make will last way beyond my time here, hopefully they will last beyond my childrens' generation too. And I couldn't ask for a more beautiful, tangible memory of my Mum than this amazing quilt which she sewed for me, many of the fabrics coming from childhood clothes.
It has been hanging in my Mum and Dad's bedroom since they moved down to us. It has been much admired there by so many visitors over the past year. And there it stays, even though she is now gone; a beautiful memory to be cherished and handed down through the family.