I am working on a life quilt in memory of my son Jonathan. At the age of 27
he was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident. I cannot explain what that
kind of loss feels like. It was as if my soul had been ripped from me and
turned inside out. My first prayer was that he hadn’t suffered. God was very
gracious to my son and those left behind. His death was almost
instantaneous. My heart broke when I read the police accident report,
something no parent should do. I got an instant migraine after reading it.
Though he wore a helmet, he had severe head and chest injuries. Had he
survived, it would have been a tough road for him and our family, and for the large
number of close friends he had.
My son was total testosterone. He loved sports, guns, hunting, motorcycles,
camping, fishing; anything manly. When he was about three years old, he
began emulating his older sisters and their friends. He liked the color pink
so much it didn’t matter if he got cherry, strawberry, raspberry, or bubble
gum flavored ice-cream. When asked which ice-cream he wanted he shouted,
“Pink. I want pink.”
Jonathan played house with his sisters so much I bought him a My Buddy doll.
His father worried. “With all these girls around him all the time he’ll turn
out to be a sissy!” I wasn’t too worried though. I knew he was just
influenced by his sisters and their playmates and would eventually outgrow
it. I especially hoped he would outgrow it when he announced several times
that he didn’t like being a boy and wished he was a girl. At first he
pronounced girl “gill” then later “gull.”
A friend chuckled when I told her what he said about wanting to be a girl.
“Oh, just wait till he grows up and finds out what a handy little gadget
he’s got.” Everything changed when my mom bought him a cowboy hat, holsters,
guns, a shiny metal sheriff’s star and boots. I bought him a faux buckskin
cowboy jacket with fringes at a yard sale. He forsook any “girly” stuff and
cast My Buddy aside for these. He even wanted to sleep with the cowboy gear
on. Every night I’d read him a bedtime story and often watched him fall
asleep while glancing longingly at his cowboy gear nearby. He didn’t give up
pink ice-cream until he was about five. His My Buddy doll now sits on a
shelf above my desk.
After his death a friend suggested I make a T-shirt memory quilt after I had
given the majority of his clothes to a homeless charity and only kept a few
of my favorites. I had his baby T-shirt and other baby clothes I planned on
giving him when he got married and had kids. I will sew them into the quilt.
It deeply saddened me when I found the bag of clothes knowing they would
never be used for his children. He was very sentimental and kept his
favorite school basketball T-shirts. Thank goodness I had those.
Jonathan was a police officer. His off duty accident happened about two
months before his fifth year anniversary with the department. His police
academy T-shirt, sweat pants and DARE shirt will be part of the quilt. I
bought T-shirts with images that reminded me of him, like one with a soccer
ball, one with motorcycles, an off-road truck, and gun designs. I am also
using his camouflage pillowcase and denim fabric from his comforter.
Did you know you can buy sew-in colorfast fabric sheets for ink jet
printers? You print your favorite photo or image on the fabric sheets then
sew them on pillows, tote bags, or a quilt. It is amazing what one can do. I
took a trip back in time looking through childhood photos for the quilt. My
heart filled with many memories of years gone by.
The first few months after his death, I walked around in a trance of shock
and disbelief. It just didn’t seem real. I often asked myself if this
really happened or if his death was just some crazy thought in my head. I
struggled with areas of my relationship with him that had never been
settled. The realization that I will never hear my son’s voice or see his
face again on this earth left a huge hole in my being.
I lived my days in agonizing turmoil begging God for answers until one day
God showered me with his love and graciously and miraculously gave me a
lasting joyful peace and serenity. The type of peace that surpasses all
understanding. Jonathan trusted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior as a
child and continued to live his life in accordance with this belief. I have
the camouflage covered Bible he loved, read and wrote in. His journal was
such a blessing. It expressed his deep love for Jesus. He will spend
eternity face-to-face with Jesus. While we celebrated Christmas, he was
walking the golden streets of Heaven. I don’t think of my son as dead or
passed-away. I believe he has passed-ahead to the best place of all,
Heaven. He now lives there with all its splendor and the Glory of God.
Sometimes, I am a bit envious.
I would be selfish to wish my son back here on earth. He lives in a perfect
place with nothing but love, beauty and peace all around him. The way God
had intended life to be. Due to multiple car accidents my family was
involved in years back, Jonathan suffered with headaches and migraines. He
also suffered from back pain from an incident while on police duty. I know
he no longer experiences pain or sorrow. Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe
away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow,
nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed
Along with this post I am also posting an article that I had published in
one of the local newspapers on his first birthday away from earth. I plan on
entering the quilt at our local county fair this fall so I need to keep
busy. Once it is done, I will post a picture of it on this blog.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013
4 responses to “A Memory Life Quilt”
I’m so sorry for you loss, God had other plans and I sometimes question it but finally have come to terms that I should not question His decision, I was just sharing My Buddy with my student that I work with and she fell in love with him, I have had him since he come put in the 80’s and I enjoy him, never too old for My Buddy and Kid sister
Thank you. We must always leave things we cannot understand with the thought that God knows best.
I buying the Kid Sister for my daughter and my son was begging for his own doll when he saw the My Buddy. This was right in the middle of the 80s. His father wasn’t thrilled but I didn’t see why not.
I think that what you are doing will be a beautiful testament to your son. I’m sorry that you had so few years with him and relieved that you have come to peace with it. I am glad he is with the Father! May you and your family be blessed.
Thank you so much for your kind and touching words. It has been a rough road but God is good! I am looking forward to getting the quilt done.