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Jack’s Quilt

August 6, 2009
I met Jack on a Saturday afternoon at the local hospice. Homeless, Jack had been found unconscious on a sidewalk. An examination at the ER revealed that Jack was terminally ill with cancer. He was sent to our in-patient unit to live out whatever time he had left.

As a volunteer, I performed a variety of tasks: visiting with the patients, giving support to the families, assisting the nurses with changing, bathing, feeding, etc. I spent that afternoon and subsequent others just visiting and listening to Jack’s story. It was obvious he was well educated and our talks quickly became philosophical and spiritual in nature.

During one of our Saturday visits, I shared with Jack that I was a quilter and that my group made quilts for each child in hospice. Jack, with a twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes, asked if he could be one of my children and have a quilt too. I asked Jack for his favorite color and without hesitation he replied, “Emerald”. I immediately knew just the fabric I would use. I had purchased it several years before but due to the richness of the color, I had never found just the right quilt to use it in.

Because of the nature of our talks together and Jack’s situation, I chose the pattern “Crown of Thorns” and selected a rich gold and navy blue to compliment the emerald green. I sewed through the night and by the next morning I had a twin-sized quilt completed.

I delivered the quilt to Jack that Sunday morning. Jack’s eyes filled with tears when he saw the quilt and he asked me to spread it over the bed for him. Then he asked me to make a phone call to his brother in Iowa. They had not spoken in over 20 years. We got the call put through and I listened as Jack explained that he was dying. Jack told his brother he had only two requests: one, that Jack be cremated and that his brother allow the ashes to be sent to him, and two, that his brand new quilt be a gift to his brother to remember him by. By this time I was crying too hard to stay any longer and I tip-toed out of the room.

Jack died three weeks later. Per his instructions, the quilt was sent with his ashes to his brother. To this day, I cannot look at emerald green without remembering my “child”, Jack.

By Donna C. Waldron, wife of 40 years, mother to three, grandmother to five, full-time administrative assistant for City of Henderson, and quilter. I am also a FIRM believer that ONE person can make a difference no matter who they are or what their station in life might be.

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