How am I going? It’s been a really hard path to walk.

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife


Lost Quilts – Gold Coast Quilters I need your help

My mum gave two (or more) nearly finished quilts to somebody on the Gold Coast (we think in Mudgeeraba) to do the machine quilting or binding?  She gave them to this person sometime before June 2012.  We have no record or phone number of who she gave these quilts to and this person has not phoned to let us know they are finished.  We would really like to find these quilts as they were made specially for family members.  

Could you please help us locate the quilts, if you know of machine quilters or person that binds them on the Gold Coast that has 1 or 2 quilts waiting for ‘Caryl’ we would be so grateful if you could put us in touch with them .  It would mean so much to have these back.  Please email me [email protected] if you have any information.

I have received a few emails asking how I have been going with the process of helping to sort through my parents house after the passing of mum.  If you are new to the blog, you can read further about the first step of decluttering mums home.    

Firstly I would like to say thank you for all the messages to see how I am, you are all so wonderful.  

Of course loosing my mum has been the hardest and most emotional time of my life.  I have regrets, I wish I spent more time with her, wish we didn’t have our fight at Christmas, wish I told her I loved her more, wish she could watch her grandkids grow up, wish I didn’t have a cold the day before she had her seizure so I could of given her a better hug and kiss, wish that she taught me how to quilt, I always thought we had time for that later, in the future.  We didn’t have the perfect mother daughter relationship, but without a doubt we loved each other and I know she was really proud of me.

Mum had a lot of boxes with items she had collected over the years, opening the boxes and seeing what she has collected and kept really made us realise that she struggled to throw anything away.  However because mum had so much, I feel it’s made the process of loosing her so much harder.  I was helping Dad each week to go through the boxes, those following nights I couldn’t sleep, it was emotionally draining.  I wish that I was able to learn why she kept so much and she felt like she couldn’t throw it away.   I felt like I let her down as I didn’t help her.

I did hit breaking point when it came to the day of sorting through mums quilting room.  Prior to this day I couldn’t bring myself to open a drawer or look into a cupboard in her quilting room.  I would not of normally gone through her things if she was with us, that’s rude, I felt like I was intruding.  All morning I took my time just standing around and just being in the room.  I then made the terrifying start and looked through a few drawers, I found a drawer she had labelled quilts for Miss 7 and Mr 9 (my son and youngest daughter), I lost it as these were materials she had purchased to make them quilts, these are quilts for them that she will not start or complete.  I couldn’t hold myself together and Dad found me on the floor crying.  

Previous to this day Dad found me in many ‘moments’, and without words exchanged just gave me a hug, he knew how I was feeling.  But this day, boy it was hard.  Quilting was mum’s passion, she was only a few months shy of her 20 year membership with the local Gold Coast Quilter Guild which she joined with her mum.  Possibly when the kids got older and I was over my scrapbooking phase I could have joined her too, she always hinted at it.  Later that afternoon Mum’s friends came to help us make a start on sorting through the room, looking at all her sewing machines, she had quite the collection a good 5 or 6, possibly more.  One of the friends so kindly pointed to a sewing machine, she looked at me and said ‘your mum brought this for Miss 9’ she wanted the girls to have a sewing machine each (mum brought a sewing machine for the girls last year as a joint christmas gift).  This was so kind of mum, I just wanted to hug her.  

Her friends then searched through mum’s items looking for things the girls could have and finding all different treasures mum had gathered. However, I found it really hard watching them look through, picking things up and commenting about each of them as I had a very hard time doing it myself.  I broke down and got really upset.  My emotions were not understood by those in the room and I asked for a pause to be put on going through mum’s quilt room.  It was too soon, I couldn’t do it.  I felt by going through mum’s most precious items and sorting through them and removing them from the room was like hitting reality she has really gone.  I just wanted more time to spend in it, untouched.  I wanted time to find the scissors that mum used each day, I wanted her tape measure and pin cushions see what projects she was working on.  Mum had a lot of brand new items that would fill a sewing kit, but I just wanted her things.  The following week, I was able to spend some time alone in her room, I was talking to her as though she could hear me and slowly, calmly looked at all the things she had been working on over the past 20 years.  I unfortunately couldn’t find her scissors or other items she used daily and still couldn’t bring myself to look through most of her stuff.

Up until this point I had been regularly helping Dad.  However, after this episode and emotional heartache I couldn’t bring myself to sort through, throw out or help prepare mum’s room for a garage sale.  I had to emotionally step back, which has been really really hard, I cry often at the thought that other people are helping do this.

Dad has had two garage sales and one quilting sale.  The sales went really well, however we were not able to get everything out onto the tables, there is more still to sort through.  The items that didn’t sell have been donated to charity.

Apart from the huge emotions of sorting through Dad’s house there have been others.  I have had some wonderful support from friends that have called frequently to ask how I am, trying to get me out for coffee or dinner.  I have become a bit of a hermit, there was a stage that I couldn’t bring myself to go out.  I have lived on the Gold Coast all my life and I feel that wherever I go, I have been there with mum, it’s a constant reminder.  I know there will come a time that this will be happy and fond memories, however now I can’t help but cry.

I do however have family and friends that have surprised me with their reactions to what I am going through.  Perhaps they can’t deal with my tears or that they have not gone through the same thing so have no idea how I am feeling.  But can I please say, if you have a loved one that has lost somebody, please just be there for them, don’t wait for an invite, just knock on their door,  make them a coffee, sit and watch TV with them and it’s OK to ask how they are going because all they want to know is that you care.  Like it says below, it gives your loved one the strength they need at this point in time.

image credit

So… long story short, I am getting there, this process has been longer than one would expect because of the many boxes we had to sort through, but together with my hubby, kids, Dad and brothers we will get through it.  

On a brighter note, mum had nearly finished a quilt for Miss 9.  One of mum’s friends kindly completed the quilt for us.  This is such a pretty quilt and so perfect for Miss 9, she is beyond happy and feels so very special to have a quilt that was made by her Nanny, something that I am sure she will treasure forever.  When I was growing up mum would always have a matching pillow on my bed, so I am going to try to make a pillow to match as I know this is what Mum would have done.

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Lisa Warren October 30, 2012 - 7:56 AM

Such a beautiful quilt Katrina. I can see the amount of effort and love your mum put into creating it. What a lovely keepsake for your daughter. I hope you’re able to locate the other quilts she made.

The passing of your mum is still so fresh and raw. Please take it easy on yourself.

Sam October 30, 2012 - 8:50 AM

Thank you so much for sharing this. I too have lost my mum and she was a quilter and a knitter and a embroiderer, I wish I had learnt those skills from her when she was still alive. I had to go through her beloved sewing room and clear it all out. Every scrap of material or embroidery thread had a memory it was very hard to get rid of stuff. I really really hope you find those quilts x x x

Jasmine October 30, 2012 - 2:29 PM

Kat, I just sat here and cried with you! What you wrote was so simple yet so eloquent. My mum is currently fighting cancer for the second time and i find it so hard to deal with the fact that she is in North Qld and I am in very rural Victoria. All I want to be able to do is sit with her and hug her, yet i feel bad as the only thing separating US is distance… I couldn’t imagine living without her as she is my best friend, so we are looking forward to her visit at Xmas!

The quilt your mum made for Miss 9 is absolutely stunning and I hope that you are able to find the ones that are missing. Good luck and my best wishes, Jas x

Nicole Avery October 30, 2012 - 3:00 PM

Such hard things to do Kat. Thanks for sharing your story. I think it will help many who are also going through loss.

Katrin October 30, 2012 - 3:41 PM

Hi Katrina, I used to live in Mudgeeraba but don’t know anyone who does machine quilting or binding. How about putting up a photo of one of your great quilts on the black board at Mudgee Market Shopping Centre. This draws attention and maybe you get information. The town is small and everybody in Mudgee shops there. Good luck!

Kez October 30, 2012 - 4:01 PM

This post moved me to tears. I am lucky to still have my mum around and this made me appreciate her so much more. I know I will feel lost and so sad when she passes (hopefully very old). I wish you well on your journey of healing and I hope you can get those beautiful quilts back – what a beautiful legacy your mum has left you and your children. Big hugs.

Eleise Bott October 30, 2012 - 4:08 PM

I do hope that you can find those quilts. This post had tears in my eyes. I am sorry for your loss.

suzy October 30, 2012 - 4:38 PM

if u find all the quilting clubs down the gold coast and ask there you may find the lady that has your mums quilts, hope you find them 🙂

suzy October 30, 2012 - 4:39 PM

or even the material shop in the area where your mum went to quilting groups

Michelle Wallis October 30, 2012 - 4:40 PM

Thank you for sharing that, it made me cry. I really hope you can find your mum’s quilts. I am amazed at how beautiful the quilt is she made miss 9. I still have my mum and can not begin to imagine your greif. I hope i wont have to for many years to come x

Kafula Olsen October 30, 2012 - 5:19 PM

I’m so sorry to hear for you loss. Your post has made me cry and I can tell how much you loved you mum. The quit is beautiful, you should be proud of your mum, she sounds lovely..Take care XXXXXXX

Trish October 30, 2012 - 8:11 PM

Such a heartfelt post Kat. You poured your heart out here. I hope you find your Mum’s quilts .

Larissa October 30, 2012 - 9:32 PM

This is such a beautiful post Katrina, you are very lucky to have such beautiful mementos for your children, they will treasure them forever, big hugs xx

Guest October 30, 2012 - 10:08 PM

HI Katrina, Thank-you for your honesty in the midst of your grieving. I really appreciate you postings every day and the web site.

christiechildhood101 October 30, 2012 - 10:55 PM

Thinking of you, Kat. I cannot even imagine how hard this would be for you xx

lina October 31, 2012 - 9:16 AM

This was a beautiful post truly from the heart you have made us all look at things differently and i am sure your mum would be proud of you as you are making a difference to so many families.

Melissa Bristow October 31, 2012 - 8:15 PM

Thank you so much for your post. I lost my mum unexpectedly a year ago this weekend and understand exactly how you feel. You have a hard year ahead of you as there are so many firsts to happen but apparently it gets easier. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Saam Thorne October 31, 2012 - 10:16 PM

Kat, this post has moved me so much. My mum is very crafty, she can paint & draw, designs & makes many of her own clothes (including my wedding dress), makes bears, embroiders, knits, makes jewellery…the list goes on. The saying goes “we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone”. Your feelings on going through your mum’s sewing room hit home as I will feel the same way when mum dies. It made me think about what I can do now to make memories to cherish.

You are right to have these feelings, and give voice to them any way you can, be it talking to family & friends, or blogging about it, or just sitting on the floor and howling. TAKE AS MUCH TIME AS YOU NEED to grieve your loss. Only you will know when the time is right to take the next step. Grieving is a process and everyone does it in their own way and time.

Be kind to yourself and love yourself. You will be ok.

I hope you are able to track down the quilts. The suggestions that have been made are good ones. Your daughter’s quilt is exquisite.

Ainsley November 1, 2012 - 8:26 PM

This post made me cry! Thanks so much for sharing your journey in your grief and also being so honest about it. Sometimes it is easy to think that people have it all together when I read blogs but this is just so real!! I also am a sewer and imagined my family going through my stashes wonder what I had bought each fabric for and it really hit me thinking about sharing those memories and making the most of the time I have with my family even though it can be hard at time. I’ll be praying for you as you grieve the loss of your mum. Also that you find your lost quilts. Thanks again for you posts and the time you take to blog.

Lyndall November 1, 2012 - 9:14 PM

There is love in every single stitch of that quilt! What an incredible woman – so gifted! My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Do take care of yourself – and follow the advice you’d give to others 🙂

Laura D November 2, 2012 - 6:55 AM

I’m am so sorry, Katrina. Thank you for sharing this…we will all go through it someday. The quilt for your daughter is SO BEAUTIFUL – what a treasure. Sending positive thoughts your way.

Anne @ Domesblissity November 5, 2012 - 7:36 AM

Oh Kat. As you know, I know exactly how you feel. There’s not a minute of the day that doesn’t pass when I don’t think of my Mum. I just cry. No point holding it back. I felt a turning point when it was Mum’s birthday on 12th Oct though. I know she wouldn’t want me to be miserable and sad. She would’ve wanted me to get on with it which is what I’ve been doing. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss her and cry if I want to. Big hugs from here. Anne xx

Saleena November 15, 2012 - 7:48 AM

Katrina, I love the beautiful way you have put your feelings down and expressed how u are dealing with the loss of your dear mother! She certainly sounds like a wonderful mother and talented person, of whom you loved so dearly. I pray that you find her quilts and that her memory remains as precious in your heart.

Robyn November 25, 2012 - 7:05 AM

Katrina, I have just read your blog and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts & feelings. The quilt for your daughter is absolutely exquisite. I hope you find the missing quilts soon. I can’t believe that nobody has come forward with some information, hopefully soon the quilts will be back with your family where they belong. Sending you lots of positive energy and love. Xxxx

Guest March 19, 2013 - 12:32 PM

If its any consolation my Grandma was the same way, and honestly I think it was a product of her time as a child, living in poverty. She bought, kept, stashed anything even things worth nothing as a “just in case”. I dont think it is always necessarily because of any one thing that was wrong. I really think with that specific generation it was a defense mechanism. She was a war bride really.. I dont know if that was the case with your mum though.

Tammy July 31, 2013 - 9:15 AM

Kat, did you ever find the missing quilts?
Judging by Miss 9’s beautiful butterflies, they will be family heirlooms!


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