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Topic: Leslie's Quilt *Update*  (Read 6447 times)
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« on: December 28, 2010 03:35:27 PM »

My husband's job moved us to Wyoming from Kansas about a  year and a half ago.  When we moved, I left my horse in Kansas with my parents, knowing that the move and the dietary and geographical changes would be hard on her and that it would be in her best interest to leave her in Kansas.  My best interests on the other hand... well, let's just say that I'm a horse loving horse-addict who was surrounded by horses in the horse country of Wyoming and was going through horse withdrawals because I couldn't touch/play with/smell/love on ANY of the horses I saw.  My husband and I found a church fairly quickly after we moved.  One of the members (her name is Leslie) of the Sunday School class we decided  to join happened to hear of my plight and offered to let me do whatever I wanted with her horses.  She offered to let me treat them as if they were my own.  She told me that I could go to her house (where the horses are kept) and do whatever I wanted with them, whenever I wanted, even if neither she nor her husband were home.  She even offered to let me move one of her horses to a location closer to my house so I wouldn't have to drive clear out to her house to play with the horses.  Now, mind you, Leslie didn't know me.  I was a complete stranger who happened to show up in her Sunday School class one Sunday.  It is a rare person who will trust a stranger so thoroughly with something as valuable as a horse (or three).  It is true.  Leslie is a rare person who is always smiling, always caring, always kind.  
A tragic thing happened to this angel whose name is Leslie.  She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in June of 2010.  This was her second go-round with the horrible disease we call cancer.  She decided to call it "Bob".  It was only a few short months after her second diagnosis when the doctors told Leslie and her family that "Bob" was chronic, that she would never be rid of him again...  
In, roughly, October, I read a blog (sorry, I haven't been able to find it again since the first time I read it) that described how a person struggling with cancer had received a pair of prayer socks and how these socks had blessed her.  Someone had thought to send this person a pair of hand-knit socks.  While they were making the socks, they said a prayer for the recipient for each stitch they made.  I got the idea that maybe I should make a quilt for Leslie to let her know that she and her family are in our thoughts and prayers.  The idea was that after the quilt was finished, everyone in the Sunday School class would sign it and include an encouraging quote, Bible verse, etc.  However, I already had one quilt on my plate, in addition to numerous other projects, and I wasn't so thrilled about the idea of adding another item to my to-do list.  However, the idea of the quilt just wouldn't leave me alone (I call it a "God prod").  So, I talked to the Sunday School teacher and his wife about it.  They were thrilled about the idea and brought it up to the Sunday School class the following Sunday.  The Sunday School class agreed to fund the project if I would do the work.  
It wasn't long after I agreed to do the quilt that Leslie was put in the hospital for pain management.  She hasn't been home since.  In fact, on Christmas Eve it was decided to move her to hospice and to stop doing chemo treatments.  The doctors had thrown everything at Bob that they could and Bob continued to grow at an alarming rate (tripling in size in just one week).  Leslie was moved to hospice just yesterday.  On her blog on www.caringbridge.org, Leslie's husband wrote a heart-wrenching note about their decision to stop chemo treatments.  Through his written words, it's obvious how much he loves his wife and their six year old son and how much it hurts both of them to be going through this.  Leslie's husband has a way with words, so I'll use a couple of his quotes here:
"It's not that we're strong enough to stand, it's because we're supported well enough that we can't fall. Thank you."
"I LOVE my wife. I LOVE my son. I LOVE my family. And it is being ripped from my fingertips as I grip with all that I can give and I can do NOTHING to stop this from happening and I hate it."
"Jared keeps waiting for Mom to get better so she can come home and play. He loves to tell me when he sees her on good days that "Dad, Mommy sure looks good today, I think she's feeling better." As difficult as it's been to watch my wife through the hell of cancer... I'm still begging for the strength to explain this one to him. We meet with Pastor Jason from First Baptist Church tomorrow morning. Jason will help Jared understand that Mommy won't be coming home again. (Yea, I know....)"
"It is because of Leslie that I know what love feels like. It is because of Leslie that I am a father and husband and it is because of Leslie that I have known the greatest highs that a man can know. I know love; Deep, passionate, consuming, overwhelmingly joyous love. Because I know these tremendous highs I am capable of feeling the depths of despair caused by losing that joy. Im greedy; I dont want the wonderful world that we created to end. I dont want our life to end, I dont want her life to end and I dont want to see my son hurt by losing his mother. I love my wife. I love her enough to let all of that joy and love that weve created go with her into a peaceful rest that doesnt hurt her. I will gladly give her all the good in my world so that she might rest. And I will continue to be a father and husband. I will continue to love her and I will continue to do all that I can do to be the best man I can be and to raise the best son I can raise and to live a life that will honor her memory.
I promise.
" (bold font added)

"I called Leslie, angel as a pet name, she earned it. She saved my life when I thought my life was over. She gave me a son that I love more than I can describe. She gave joy to my life that I never thought I would know. She is still my angel.  Too soon she is becoming one for all of us."

After reading this blog post (posted on 12/27 - yep, that's right only a couple days after Christmas) and the ones before it, I am glad that I agreed to make the quilt.  I've realized that I'm probably making it more for Leslie's family than I am for Leslie herself, though I am glad that I've finished it in time that she can see it.  I finished it just days before they moved Leslie into hospice care, and I plan on taking it to her as a belated Christmas present tomorrow.  I hope that this quilt will let Leslie and her family know how much they are prayed for and cared for and that it will somehow be comforting to them in this time of terrible pain.

*Update*  Leslie passed away quietly in the presence of family and friends on Monday, January 3rd 2010 at 9:30 am MST, one week after moving into hospice care and less than five days after receiving the quilt.  She was a special lady and will be sorely missed.  I will leave you with one last quote from the blog that Leslie's husband kept through her fight with cancer.   This came from his post on Saturday, January 1st, 2011.

"Thank you, Leslie, for making my life so much better. On behalf of almost all the people I talk to, thank you for making this world a better place. Your smile, your enthusiasm and your incredible joy of life have brought a warmth to each of us that have known you.

Speaking of making the world a better place... Our son, Jared, got to come see his mommy once again. He certainly can't comprehend what is happening in a complete sense but he did have a rather astute observation today. When explaining what was happening to his mommy, Jared explained that she was going to be an angel.

That would be two for Jared, if you're keeping score: Cancer IS a big Dork and Mommy IS an angel. Perhaps the six-year old knows more than we give him credit for.

As far as Leslie's condition goes, not a lot to tell you. She is fading, to our knowledge she is not in any pain, her body will no longer let her speak more than a few words each day, she is nearly unable to drink and, because it would do more harm than good and create unnecessary pain, she is not on IV fluids. The tumor has moved up to the left side of her jaw and continues to grow at a pretty rapid rate.

I love my son, I love my wife, I will never forget the amazing angel that I married and I will hate cancer for the rest of my days with a burning rage that defies description.

Thank you all, once again, for all of the amazing support you have shown through this ordeal. Your thoughts, prayers, acts of love and your kindness remind me to see the beauty in this world and keep me from focusing on the darkness. You are all angels. Our family is blessed by each of you.

Here is the completed quilt after everyone  had signed it.  These were taken in the fading sunlight so the colors aren't as true to real life as I would like.

The back, pre-signing:

A close-up of one of the applique-d letters:

A close-up of the fabrics.  The colors in this picture are probably closest to real-life:
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011 06:24:11 AM by christian_cowgirlGSR » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010 05:56:58 PM »

thats so sad!

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010 06:05:41 PM »

OMG that is the saddest story I have heard in a long time.  I'm so sorry that your friend is going through this.  The quilt is awesome and I'm sure it will be a huge comfort to both Leslie and her family.

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010 06:16:42 PM »

Oh my.  I'm blinking away tears right now.  What a sad story and what a gorgeous quilt.  I know that her family will appreciate the thought, love and prayers that went into it and will treasure it.
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010 07:04:00 PM »

What a beautiful thing to do, I love it. This story breaks my heart but I know this family will feel comfort with this quilt long after she's gone. I'm so thankful the world has people like you in it!
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010 07:21:56 PM »

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Her husband's words are as beautiful as they are heart-wrenching. Making that quilt for her, and doing all you did, was beyond kind. You're pure awesome.


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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010 07:47:16 PM »

I sat here and blinked back tears. This is such a moving story. My heart aches for all of this woman's friends and family. Such a tragedy. You did a kind and generous thing by putting your valuable time into this.
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010 03:55:16 AM »

this post has reduced me to tears, but the love in this post and the love poured into that beautiful quilt will give huge support to those who will truly need it in the weeks to come, my prayers to 'Angel' x

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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010 06:18:51 AM »

What an amazing and wonderful gift you've given to Leslie & her family. And what an amazing gift to the church community to be able to participate and give a little of themselves as well.
Blessings as one journey comes to an end and as the next begins.

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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010 09:29:55 AM »

so sad, so beautiful and you are an amazing person.
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