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June 16, 2011

a tribute to Alecia

It is both difficult and rewarding to finally say that this quilt is finished. Fair warning, there is a lot of emotional text ahead, both sad and awesomely funny :)

aleciaquilt

Alecia was the oldest sibling of the four of us. She passed away almost a year and a half ago, on December 23rd, 2009. It was a huge shock, unexpected, without warning.  I was back in Minneapolis from Atlanta for Christmas. Al and I had drifted apart to say the least, and when she called my parents' house on the 20th, I was the only one home, and I didn't think I had the energy to pick up the phone and talk to her. So I didn't. And that was it.

The process of collecting clothes was too quick. Every item was a memory, but there was no time to sit and remember. My other sister and I had jobs and school to get back to a thousand miles away. I packed up what I could and brought as much back to Atlanta as would fit [including a couple of space bags, which, by the way, are NOT reusable].

Then it all sat while I tried to heal. I would pick it up every now and then, but every piece smelled like her, and every shirt was a reminder that she wasn't coming back to wear it. My therapist [yes, therapist. if you can go through a sudden death without assistance from a non-family member, I commend you] recommended that I document the quilting process on a blog as a sort of homage to Alecia's memory. I kind of am doing that now.

My sister had her issues, but don't we all? She did care a lot about other people. She was always trying to make you smile, and she would give you all she had if it meant your happiness. Her acts of kindness were what kept her going so long. And her lasting gift to me is helping me realize that I need to make the most of every second that I have.

aleciaquilt4
name from a sports shirt, orange shirt stolen from my closet years ago, yellow hip strap to some fancy undies, doll blanket from her childhood

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blueberry muffin? (from Strawberry Shortcake) charm still in her jewelry box after all these years, blue linen (also found in a multitude of other colors), flannel pj pants, green shirt also taken from my closet (probably looked better on her anyway)

aleciaquilt2
all the rest of the pieces. I am well aware that it kind of has a high-school-craft-project-modge-podge flare to it, but I think that's what I love, and I hope my sister Nicole loves too :) the more memories, the merrier!

Enough sobs. Here are some fun facts :).

Alecia was the person that taught me to use tampons. And by "taught," I mean I was visiting her at college, got my little package from mother nature, and Alecia would not buy me anything but tampons. I liken it to throwing a puppy into a pool and expecting it to swim.

She also had a slight obsession with finding deals at Old Navy. We would have more gifts from Alecia than from Santa some years. But, to Santa's credit, she would put just one piece in every box. And then she would leave the price tag on it so that she could show us just how great of a deal it was.

She was also obsessed with g-strings. Yep. Take a close look at the quilt and you will see some (the hip straps of course!) sewn into nondescript shapes like flowers and bows. And there were sometimes some of these under the Christmas tree from her too.

Alecia taught me the gloriousness that is a taco salad using a Doritos shell. Mmm...dinner tonight? Don't mind if I do.

She was a killer swimmer, particularly at the 200 fly [I think it was the 200 anyway]. If you know swimming, you know how B.A. the 200 fly is. One night she decided to go "north of the river," which was out of bounds for us, and she got rear-ended. She was still awesome after that, but it really threw her body for a loop.

Speaking of car wrecks, she also once ran into the pole that guards the drive-thru window at Burger King (where she worked). When she got home, I was outside playing, and she tried to shush me as I was yelling "What happened?!" Like you can hide a huge indentation and missing light on the driver side from mom and dad. Coincidentally, I worked at the same BK Lounge years later, and I am pretty sure the navy blue scuff marks were still there.

My mom threw a spade at her one time. Hahahaha. This makes me laugh out loud. We were reconstructing our back yard and basement, and during a huge storm, we had a lot of water pouring in. So my mom and Alecia went out to dig trenches away from the house (while my dad was out of town, because he was always out of town during these gems), and upon a very close lightning strike, the spade miraculously flew out of my mom's hands (aka was thrown) and landed inches from Alecia as mom ran around to the front of the house repeatedly screaming one particular cuss word that rhymes with 'fit.' All while I watched from my window.

She once let me take her car on a road trip if I repaid her by cleaning it. Another time, she convinced me to clean it by letting me keep any change I found. WIN. Seriously, if you had seen her car, you would know just what a jackpot that was for me.

I got her drop-handle bike as a hand-me-down. At least I think it was hers. That's what lead me to love bicycling. Okay, it's more of a love-hate, but I plain old love drop-handle bikes.

So, if you made it this far, thanks for trucking through my homage. I miss her, but I know that she is much happier now, and that can't do anything but make me smile :)

best to you all.
Mary

14 comments:

  1. Hi Mary-
    I know that writing this post must have been hard- but I want to thank you for sharing. The quilt is beautiful, and knowing how many memories behind each piece brings tears to my eyes. Thanks again-
    Robin

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  2. It's a wonderful quilt. Hugs x

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  3. i agree with @Sarah ... and that it was a great soup of memories. come back to it from time to time girl!

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  4. It's a beautiful quilt. You did a wonderful job at preserving all your memories. And I personally love how you incorporated everything into it from the charm to the g-strings.

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  5. Wow. A lovely quilt and a beautiful heartfelt post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  6. I tried to post this last night...
    OMG! Of course I love it! It is beautiful! This was perfect for my day today! You have great stories...one she always loved to brag about...has to be mentioned...this one time at band camp! Chris Farley broke her coffee table in Madison! Al made me realize to give to others...love as if you have never hurt and that a hair brush handle really is a mic! We love you...and what a great quilt! Love, Nic and Al

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  7. You're sharing brought tears to my eyes! What a beautiful quilt, to remember for years to come. You are so talented. Thanks for being so open and reminding us to "make the most of every second that we have."
    Jess

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  8. The quilt is just beautiful, and all the memories and meaning makes it just that much more amazing. Thanks for sharing and reminding us all to enjoy every day we have :-)

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  9. This is such an incredible tribute to your sister. It's like a time capsule of your sister's life--but one that you can look at any time. It will always keep those happy memories of her fresh in your mind.

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  10. wow... that's beautiful. i didn't know your sister but i sang at her funeral. your mother is a dear friend of mine. what a beautiful way to remember her.

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  11. What an amazing quilt and a great tribute, I'm sure Alecia loves it as well! I love your stories, and Nicole's above. It's so hard that she's gone, she was such a great friend. But, there are so many wonderful memories. She had such a huge heart, loved everyone so much, and would have done anything for her friends and family. Hope you are doing well Mary, thank you so much for sharing!

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  12. Jennifer Twist DoyelJune 28, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    What a beautiful quilt and wonderful tribute to Alecia. Thanks for sharing - what great memories you have!

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  13. This is an incredible story about your sister Mary and the quilt is beautiful.

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