This post is reprinted by permission of L. Phillips Thune. You can follow Linda’s grief journey on her blog, “Running for Home–In the Words of L. Phillips Thune“, as well as in her previous entries for The Christi Center blog here and here. –Lara
Fall certainly came and went with its cooler winds and falling leaves, confused by the triple-digit, on again-off again temperature changes. One day I’m preparing for a new semester in 2013 and the next…well, starting a new spring semester in 2014.
Last August, my grandson turned the big 2! Holden is still golden, full of questions and observations and concerns and wonders. His eyes can sparkle with mischief and in seconds be shrouded in annoyance. But his clouds don’t last long. That’s what I loved about having my babies…there was always that energy-filled eagerness to return to joy.
Baby sister, Harper, now 1 in December, is already her own girl, always sizing up the room. You have to work hard to gain her audience…and it’s worth it.
And granddaughter, Perren, is right in between her cousins, having turned 1 in September…absorbing, dancing, always engaging.
I’ve kept sewing, too. ‘Alice and Lula,’ my one-woman sewing room is still percolating, growing closer to fruition. The quilt above that Perren (along with a very old Ellie Belle) is sitting on is a Lone Star pattern I recently learned to make; it became a September wedding gift for one of Annie’s friends.
The sewing business my family is helping me develop is named after my two grandmothers, both sewists: Alice, my maternal grandmother who was a silk presser and could make couture pieces, and Lula, my paternal grandmother who made quilts that, from the two that I’ve tracked down, are as beautiful and current as ever. Unfortunately, I never lived close enough to know them very well or to learn from them many of life’s secrets; maybe they’re guiding me to a connection delicately drawn by silver threads.
I even got brave enough to make a dress although Annie’s doggie, Princess, is the real star of this picture. (However, I should win an Oscar because I’d just stepped in ‘doggie presents’ trying to be a model!)
I enjoyed taking youngest daughter, Halla, 20, to the Austin Film Festival (my fourth year) and Tiera, now 25, to see the musical, “A Night with Janis.” Both were amazing events made more special by the company. Thanksgiving dinner brought most of us together at our oldest daughter’s home. Christmas Day again found Santa (and his helpers) filling stockings, wrapping presents, and feeding my lovely girls, sons-in-law, and grands at my house. It means more than I can put into words how hard my girls work to be with me on Christmas morning. When they were growing up, Christmas was a story I loved creating year after year: Santa was coming and bringing gifts to teach us how to love and share and believe. Peter still makes Christmas breakfast: his grandmother’s sweet bread rusk; this Christmas, the request was for his home-made doughnuts. Now, Merete and Asha, their husbands and children all come to the house, along with Halla and Tiera (who is a pro at making the four-hour drive at the drop of a hat–and in only three hours) all surround Peter and I with the greatest gifts we could ever receive.
It’s not quite right when I say the holidays are hard without Annie; every day still contains at least one moment of disbelief or sinking sadness or just soul-deep longing. Yet there are also moments of remembering her funny walk, how she thought many things were “stupid” or “a bad idea,” how she, deaf, was the best dancer in the family, and how she never got lost–although she seemed to hit quite a few curbs, deer, and other strange objects along the way. Her Princess still sleeps with Peter and me (in the center of a king-size bed!) for what will be four years this April. Peter and I just curl around her and hope that Annie is smiling. I sometimes wonder if the Grand Scheme had her adopt Princess so we’d have some of Annie to hold onto for a little while longer…anything is possible. I’ll ask her when I see her again.
About the Author:
After working for several years as a Family Support Coordinator for Any Baby Can and EveryChild, Inc., Linda received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from UT-Austin and a M.A. in Literature from Texas State. She now works as an adjunct English Professor at Austin Community College and says “This can be a perfect job for empty-nesters; I get 28 new “babies” every semester!”
Linda keeps her writing practice going as a blog, which she started on Annie’s birthday in 2010: www.phillips-write.typepad.com. She is currently working on several writing projects about her family, her girls, and her father…. She promises to tell us more how quilting is helping her heal.