There’s nothing like a family tragedy to jolt you back to reality. Dad’s rapid decline over the last two weeks has been a sudden reminder of the importance of family and how very precious our time and lives are on this planet.
My step daughter Ali and her husband Ben, called me from New York this week after learning about Dad’s deterioration. It was such a moving phone call and so very special simply because they’d taken the time to call me to tell me how sorry they were and how moved they were to read my gardening tribute to him. I was truly grateful for their call and although they are a million miles away, I want them to know they are often in my thoughts.
After 11 years together, Chris and I were married in March this year. Under the pretence of a birthday party, we blew our guests away with a ‘surprise wedding’ at our home and apart from Dad and Mum, Ali and Ben were the only others that knew what was coming. My kids didn’t even know until the morning so there was no chance of an accidental leak. There’s way too many iphones out there! And it went off without a glitch.
At the time, Ben was committed to the very final stages of his Doctorate and wasn’t able to join us but Ali came all the way from NY to spend two and a half memorable weeks with us helping us to prepare for our surprise wedding. She was amazing! She selflessly helped with so many things like making several final adjustments to my dress, she skilfully used the jigsaw to cut table-tops for some make-shift cocktail tables, picked up the wedding cake, patiently helped Chris buy some white cloud for the fish pond (don’t ask!), she cleaned windows and prepared a delicious ‘wedding breakfast’ for all the family.
I can’t begin to tell you how special that time with Ali was for me but getting to know that remarkable young woman was one of the best wedding gifts I could ever have received.
At some point each day in the week leading up to the wedding, Ali sat curled up in the corner of the lounge with a large bundle of sewing on her lap. She told me adamantly that ‘you can’t see what I’m doing right!’ Well of course I could see that she was doing something but as promised, I never looked.
On our wedding day she presented us with a magnificent wedding quilt, every inch of it hand stitched with love. Not only beautiful but a testament to homemaking skills.
Ali chose to weave the story of our new family using an Aboriginal style design. Our quilt is the story of our life journey together; of Chris and I and our three kids, Ali, Luke and Maddie and our two adorable dogs Digger and Shadow. Each of us somehow intertwined and connected by the threads of life and although Ali lives on the opposite side of the planet she is always in our hearts and minds.
Sewing is a skill Ali developed from a very early age and when she married into a family from Pennsylvania it was the perfect opportunity to expand on her quilting skills. She is already a skilled homemaker and is a very good cook, she relishes in the simplicity of home life, loves sewing and reading and would be up to her elbows in our Permaculture garden if she lived here in Sydney.
This post is about saying thank you and I’m thinking about you and Ben and remembering how very special each and every member of my family is.