This quilt has been christened "Sara's Heart Garden". It has a story. It was truly a labor of love.
This is Sara. And this is her story. Sara was not supposed to be born. She was the weaker of a set of twins and her parents were told that her heart has not formed properly in the womb and would probably not make it. Sara was born weighing 3 lbs.15oz. Four days after she and her twin Anna were born, she underwent open-heart surgery. At 5 1/2 months she underwent a second surgery. Sara had many complications after this surgery, including suffering a stroke while in the hospital. Despite this, Sara was determined to keep up with her twin and learned to crawl and walk shortly after her sister with no noticeable effects of the stroke. She definitely had the will to live and continued to blossom and grew into a spunky little four year old who is much loved by her sister and family.On August 2, 2010, Sara had her last planned open heart surgery. It went well, but the results weren't quite as hoped and it was determined that Sara would need a pacemaker. That surgery also went well and Sara was finally able to be home again. But within a couple of months Sara was just not herself. On January 13th Sara was taken in to have a heart catheterization. Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic and occasionally therapeutic procedure that allows a comprehensive examination of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. It's a fairly routine procedure. But soon after Sara was put under anesthesia she went into cardiac arrest. She was revived and air lifted to a children's hospital. On January 15th, Sara slipped into a coma.
It was about a month later that I learned of Sara's story from my dear friend, Rachel who is in Sara's family's church congregation. I also knew the family but had not been aware of the situation. We talked about wanting to help, but not sure what we could do.
On Febuary 6th, 2011 beautiful little Sara lost her battle and passed away in her mother's arms.
Later that week Rachel was talking with another mutual friend, Natalie. Natalie had lost her little 4 month old son, Matthew in a car crash caused by a drunk driver 8 years ago. She had said that the thing that had comforted her the most was a blanket that someone had made for their family. They told her that whenever they missed Matthew they could wrap themselves in this blanket and feel his love surrounding them and the love from our Heavenly Father. What a wonderful idea. The three of us decided that is what we would do for Sara's family.
I had already started working on my Heart Garden quilt. I have always loved hearts and just thought it might be a fun holiday quilt. But now I knew there was another reason why I had started making it.
Sara's funeral was held on Febuary 12th. For multiple reasons the theme was hearts. Sara's favorite color was pink and everyone was asked to wear that color. This is the program from that day. There was standing room only in the chapel and overflow and not a dry eye in the room. It was a beautiful program and I felt blessed just to be in attendance.
I worked on the quilt as often as possible. It means so much more when you making things to give away. I wanted to quilt to be cozy so I backed it with minky. I still used batting so it's a nice, soft, heavy quilt.
I stippled the quilt with a kind of curly cue quilting.
For the wide border I traced and stitched a heart pattern.
This is the heart quilt tag that I placed on the back. I did a blanket stitch around the edge as I did with the other heart appliques on the quilt.
We made plans to meet with Sara's mom and give the quilt to her family. This is Rachel, me, and Natalie before we left. We had no idea that we matched the quilt! We prayed that this would be meaningful for their family and hopefully be a little comfort along the way.
We shared with them our story and Natalie her story and how it had helped her family. The best part was Sara's little twin, Anna. She couldn't stop smiling. She started curling herself up in the quilt right away. It was so sweet and touching.
After we left the house the three of us hugged and I said that I thought the whole experience was maybe more for us and little Anna than anyone else. I am so grateful to have been able to share in even a little part of Sara's story. And I know she and her lovely family will be together again someday.