Today is my Mother’s birthday. She would have been 85 years old today. But she didn’t make that mammogram appointment. She meant to but was scared off by stories her friends told. She thought it would hurt too much. Unfortunately by the time she found the lump the cancer had spread. The treatments in the 1980’s were not as effective as they are today. She died in 1987 . She was 62 years old.
Five years ago I made this quilt in response to a call for entry. The quilt wasn’t selected for the show and I took it pretty hard. It seemed like my Mother’s life was rejected. I think that’s one of the dangers of working with a subject matter that one is deeply attached to. I gave the quilt to my Dad and he kept it in his room until he died 20 years after Mother. Since then its been on display in a couple of local venues. Just this year I hung it in the guest room.
Collecting the pictures and working with the images brought back so many memories. I wanted to emphasize how full her life was but also show that it was cut short by cancer. The doll attached is “Courage” a doll that I sometimes make as a healing doll for cancer patients. In the border of the quilt I stitched stories about my Mother. Making the quilt was some kind of closure for me. It helped me deal with my anger toward the women who (I’m sure unintentionally) talked her out of her mammogram. And my anger toward her for listening to them.
In a few months I’ll turn 62 and shortly after that I will become older than my Mother lived to be. Last month my mammogram came back clean.