Love Quilts for Sandy Hook Sibling Survivors
Artistic creations help us heal, and feel remembered. No one benefits more from this than the vulnerable little child. Their losses leave invisible scars. if not attended by compassion, made visible, this critical hurt affects further development. When children grieve, they need messages of reassurance that uplift and heal, reminders that they are not alone. For, when a family loses a child, (ask me how I know), the sibling encounters multiple levels of loss: the death of their brother/sister; a well as the temporary loss of parent, forced to navigate through their own impossible heartbreak.
In the meantime, where does the child turn for messages of reassurance? We have heard it ‘takes a village’ to raise a child. Yet when tragedy strikes those we do not know, it is hard to know how to contribute, or how to create from our desire to live more compassionately. What to do? As our lives move on, the children of grief get forgotten.
Call to Action:
May we remember, we are the village when children hurt. As we enter what has been called this “Age of Inspired Realism,” let us come together as cultural creatives, making a difference for our young, as they find a way to grow through grief, and when the time is right, rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
The Love Project, 2013 is such a Call. More than 22 children, at present count, (14 little brothers, and 8 little sisters), are our focus in creating love quilts designed to comfort, and reaffirm that love lives on in beautiful forms. These children deserve tangible, homemade expressions to help them know we have not forgotten. Each child *will receive an original lap quilt, (40”x 60”) customized just for them.
*Note: It is crucial that no child be left behind.
Every sibling will be matched by name and age with an individual/group willing to commit to a quilt’s completion, along with the name of the child who died, and what can be found about their story. The size of the quilt is small: a lap quilt 40”x60”. The design may be whatever moves the quilter, and connotes harmony. The sky is the limit.
Once the quilt is received by Dr. Cara Barker, a specific loving message will be added, on the underside of the quilt, through calligraphy. Wrapped with TLC, individually, the quilts will be transported to Newtown, CT, prior to the first anniversary of Sandy Hook’s mass murder. This intention honors the sibling’s loss, but also, the sibling’s own unfolding life. For we do not ‘get over’ profound loss, but have the opportunity to grow through it.
This Call to Action is NOW. Our timeline:
March 1, 2013: individual commitments conveyed to email@example.com, including the number of children you intend to serve.
August 1, 2013: completed quilt/s sent to Bothell, WA. (address will be given at the time of commitment)
August 15, 2013: Calligraphy of message on each quilt
September 15: Final gift wrapping of the entire group, individually done for each child
By Dec. 14, (the first anniversary), each child will receive their special love quilt as a token from a village they have not met
Not a Quilter? Here’s what you can do:
1. Google ‘quilting’ on-line, and begin. Perfection is not the goal, but rather, sincere intention. No one cares how much we know, until they know how much we care. Ask for help. Someone you know knows someone who will help you. The most touching gifts are homemade, not slick.
2. Love offerings will be needed for packaging and transportation.
3. Encourage others to participate. Pass along this to all you know. We are only talking about 22+ children!
For more information on the context, see the following:
The Story of Love Quilts for Healing
The inspiration for this Love Project, 2013 comes from my own life experience. When I was a child, my sister and I had an “adopted spiritual grandmother” named Carrie, a wonderfully warm and loving woman who was there for us through difficult times with wise words and a comforting hug and story. Having lost her only two children when they were young, she knew that out of heartbreak, compassion is seeded, and the survivor is charged with purpose to make the world a better place in simple ways of being Present. When my sister turned 21, Carrie honored her official passage into adulthood by giving her a gold sunburst pin with a diamond in the middle, a treasured possession that had belonged to her grandfather, who was given it when he was freed from slavery from the plantation owner. It was the single possession Carrie had of material and historical value.
The next year, when I was to turn 21, Carrie had “nothing left,” she told my mother. What she created as a gift saved me again and again in my life, especially in times of deep loss. Nearly blind by 86, Carrie spent her evenings for nine months creating a quilt for me. With every stitch, she told me later, she said a prayer, asked for a blessing, or sang a song that would imbue the quilt with special love. It was constructed of fabric that she had, which held significance to her alone, but she stitched her love and her history into it. When the quilt was finished, she gave it to me on my birthday, telling me of its history and inviting me to take it down the road into my own story.
"Whenever you are afraid, know old Carrie is with you,” she told me. “Love is with you. When you have babies one day and they are afraid, tuck them in with Carrie's quilt. When your babies have babies, cover them with the quilt when they need. Love is always with them, and love alone heals hurt.”
She was right. Her quilt brought me comfort when there seemed none to be had. And quilts like hers can accompany the broken-hearted surviving children of Newtown and let them know that they are loved and not alone, even during the darkest of times.