Quilts for Grieving Mothers

#APieceOfMyHeartIsMissing 

When I first started the nonprofit in April of 2016, I was drawn to making quilts for other grieving mothers, to comfort them. I knew their pain and sorrow. I tried making them in the child’s favorite color. Tried putting their “favorite things” within the fabric. (Like cats, tacos, music, princess fabrics for the little girls, etc). I wanted the quilts to speak to their mothers. I wanted the mothers to feel their child’s love in the heart quilts. I always leave a piece of the heart a little different, to symbolize “a piece of our hearts are missing”, because there is! 💔  I have so enjoyed getting to know these mothers and occasionally fathers, and their wonderful Angel Children. It has been a joy trying to comfort them.  I lift, while my heart still feels so heavy in my own grieving process. It has lifted me.

 

Every quilt for a child has a story. I feel as if Natalie brings me children and tells them “Come with me, my mom will make your mom a quilt”, and I randomly meet other grieving mothers. Sometimes I feel the children, sometimes they give me messages.  (Look up Brian Kershisnik’s painting “She will find what is lost” and that is what it feels like to me, Natalie bringing me other Angel children. I have bought hundreds of those cards and give one to each grieving mother who has gotten a quilt).  I LOVE that painting, I have a large framed one that hangs in my sewing room.

 

The children sometimes come to me, speak to me in my mind or dreams. For example, the one that the heart is half blue and half yellow was because this Angel boy, Brooks came to me and told me to make it with his mom, Lori’s favorite color also (yellow). His favorite color was blue, so I made their hearts blend together like a puzzle, they are still one. I don’t know Lori, we met on Instagram, but when Lori opened the box the quilt was in, this gush of watermelon sour patch candy smell came to her, which apparently was Brooks’ favorite candy. I didn’t know that, there wasn’t any candy in the box. I’ve never bought that kind of candy. We both feel it was a sign from Brooks, a hug for his mom. I love Brooks for coming to me, with my Natalie to bring such joy to his mother. 💙💛

 

Another example is from the first moment I started this one particular purple cross quilt, the song Hallelujah came in my head. Every hour I spent sewing that quilt I sang that song. It was the weirdest thing. I even listened to the soundtrack as I quilted the quilt on the long arm quilting machine and have video of it on my Instagram. The Angel boy was only 11 and was hit by a car in Herriman, crossing the road from school. When I dropped off the quilt for his mom, she shared with me this:  they belong to a baptist church and they had a band that would sing on stage. He was the front line singer of the Baptist Church choir and his mom said that was his favorite song!

 

THATS what happens when I make some of these quilts. The children channel through the cotton, great love for their mothers.  They want their love to be felt for their mothers. They can feel their child’s love through the quilt.

 

Natalie was a giver. She loved everyone. She would want to spread love and comfort to others too. Her notes always had a little heart on them. She always wore a heart necklace.  She really did exude love. So the heart quilts are part of Natalie's love too.  She is Love 💜

 

I have loved making these heart quilts. A few of the heart quilts have been made by volunteers too, and we love that!  We love our supporters for helping us lift others.  This has been a journey of lifting and loving.

 

Mourning with those that mourn, has nothing to do with SILENCE. We can lift others. Will you lift with me?

ABBY SCHUMER

AMANDA BROWN

My daughter Amanda Brown passed away July 5, 2013 from a car accident.  I met Audrey on line last year.  The on line group is called Teen Memorial it is parents who lost a child from a car accident.  We talk last November and she asked my what Amanda’s favorite color was.  It is purple.  She was working on a beautiful purple quilt.  We met in February and she made this beautiful purple quilt with a heart.  I love it and was so touched that she made it for me.  It helps me feel Amanda.  It is a beautiful quilt.  Audrey said “she can feel Natalie helping her make these quilts for parents who lost a child.”  I love my quilt!  Thank you again.

Five years ago, Audrey and I didn’t know each other and the odds of us ever knowing each other were slim to none. Those are the same odds as both of us losing our daughters. The nearly impossible happened. I lost my Daughter Abby to cancer on March 24th, 2012 and Audrey lost Natalie on July 9th, 2014. When Abby got sick on February 9th, 2012, Audrey and I were on a terrible but much needed collision course to virtually meet in three years. 

In 2015, I decided to start a Facebook group called Parents of Daughter Loss. I was nervous to do this. Would this help or hurt? Audrey was one of the early members in my initial push to find members. We quickly became a small group of about 50. Audrey along with Natalie were standouts. Their quirkiness, Natalies beautiful smile and Audrey’s willingness to share it all with the group. This Mormon from Utah and me an agnostic Jew from the Philadelphia area became close as only bereaved parents can. 

Many in the group were creating bonds and they were close. I was relieved this was happening. People who experienced the same nightmare were there for each other. I created something positive from something so terrible, you can’t quantify it.  I watched as Audrey created quilts for some of the members she bonded closely with. The group was majority female and I didn’t expect a quilt. I decided to ask her if she would make one for me and I would pay for the materials she needed. I ruined her surprise as she was already in the process of making mine. 

Audrey put so much thought into the quilt. She knew Abby like I knew Natalie. We were and are like family. I know someday we will meet. We both created foundations that were tailored to our Daughters personality. My foundation donated to hers with the  caveat that the quilts from the donation needed to go to children since we were strictly a children’s foundation. 

Today, Nineteen Quilts for Natalie, has way surpassed that number as it should. Audrey has a wonderful talent in creating just the right type of quilt for each person that deserves one. She is amazing. I am a better person for knowing her and her wonderful Angel Natalie. Each of us would throw it all away in a split second if it meant our girls were here with us. It’s something we can’t fix. So we hold each other close and share our Daughter’s hearts that live on within us. The quilt is priceless, our Daughters are priceless. 19 Quilts for Natalie brings much light into the dark world of bereavement. Love you Audrey!

GARY BURRASTON

“I love my quilt.  You are very special to my family.  Being my son’s nurse many years ago, loving him then and always keeping in touch  Our dear Gary has been gone 14 months now.  You have always been here for me, you know the heart ache I have, and will never be the same.  I love you, and I am so proud of what you do for all mother’s that have lost a child.  The quilts are gorgeous and each one is made with love, each one is so precious to all of us.  God bless you dear friend.”

KENDALL BAYNE

On October 29th, 2015, our nineteen year old daughter passed away from an extremely rare and aggressive cancer adrenal cortical carcinoma.

Kendall was a straight A student, a competition cheerleader, lover of country music, the beach and sunsets.  She adored her younger brother Connor, her mom and dad and her sweet puppy Kaylee Faith.  

After she passed away we made the difficult decision to move. The very last day in our old house I received a package.   It was a beautiful quilt from Audrey. It couldn’t have arrived on a more perfect day.  Purple was Kendall’s favorite color and when she was born her nursery was done in Hey Diddle Diddle. As I unfolded the quilt, I immediately noticed several squares made from Hey Diddle Diddle fabric.  A “God Wink” for sure.

 

It’s comforting to wrap up in this soft quilt and remember the 19 years we were blessed to have Kendall in our life. We are forever grateful to 19 Quilt’s for Natalie.  

Jere and Andrea Bayne

SAMANTHA GROSSE

I had the great privilege to meet, The Founder of “19 quilts for Natalie,” Audrey, via a Private Facebook page for parents who have lost daughters.  It is a terrible initiation fee, to lose a daughter, yet the Facebook page brought so many beautiful grieving parents together, to help each other mourn in our own unique ways.  One day, Audrey and I got to speak on the phone about her beloved Natalie, who passed in such a sudden & sad way.  I remember us laughing through our tears about how much Natalie loved red twizzlers & music and her Tiffany Heart necklace that her Mommy has given to her & her sisters! After our conversation, Audrey offered to make me a quilt and I did not want her to go to all of that trouble for me. 

 

You see, I had lost my only daughter, Samantha, pictured below, after 22 years, 8 months and 9 days of an all too short yet amazing life. Sam suffered from Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic lung disease. Sam was SO FULL OF LIGHT, funny, a tennis champ, a college scholar at University of Florida, a wonderful daughter & a friend to many. She loved music and laughter!  She knew she would die young her whole life, so she grabbed Life by the horns and squeezed every last drop out of it, making sure others were made to feel loved, heard and appreciated. I guess that’s why her loss is so great. 

 

Well one day, years after Sam passed, and just a week after I talked with Audrey on the phone, a box arrived at my home. To my delight and amazement a GORGEOUS purple quilt arrived from Audrey!    I wrapped myself in that quilt EVERY SINGLE NIGHT & I still do.  It gave me the hugs Samantha can no longer give to me. And to Audrey, I owe such an enormous debt of gratitude. Thank you, Audrey Matthews, for sending SO MUCH LOVE through your hands to this amazing fabric that is now a lifetime keepsake of my precious baby girl.  This quilt is my most prized possession and I am so impressed with how many quilts Audrey has made and delivered.  They truly are a work of Art.  God Bless you, Audrey.  My heart is so full by your blessings!

ASHLIE BALDWIN

When my beautiful daughter Ashlie passed away January 28, 2016, my dear friend Audrey offered to make a quilt in memory of Ashlie. Audrey’s 19 year old daughter Natalie had passed away a short 18 months earlier and Audrey had been making quilts for 19 of Natalie’s closest friends and she offered to make one for Ashlie. It was a very generous offer but I was afraid it might be too much for Audrey so I didn’t talk about it.

On June 14 (Ashlie’s birthday), I was at the cemetery when Audrey drove up with the most beautiful pink quilt (Ashlie’s favorite color), which she made to honor my Ashlie.  The quilt has been a comfort to me in so many ways, I cannot thank Audrey enough for making such a loving and thoughtful gift.

Through time I have seen “19 Quilts for Natalie” grow to include grieving mothers, cancer patients and so many others who have lost a love one. Each and every quilt is made from the never ending love Audrey has for Natalie.

EMMA SPLAN

Our daughter Emma passed away in February 2018 at only 6 years old from the flu. Emma was a first grader and a lover of animals, children, and the arts (ballet/painting/drawing). She loved anything that sparkled and we are still finding glitter all over our house. 

Losing Emma has been the most absolutely horrific thing we've ever gone through but we have had amazing support, even from online strangers. Unbeknownst to me, a few people had reached out to Audrey to see if she'd make a quilt for me, in honor and memory of Emma.

Not only did Audrey use all of Emma's most favorite colors (pink, purple), but she even used sparkly glitter fabric and included our nickname of Squiggs for Emma. Another local quilter brought the quilt to me at my LQS and personally gave it to me. I immediately could feel the love that was poured into each stitch and broke down into tears. I brought the quilt home and cuddle with it every night. 

It was so sweet to be thought of and to have such a large and heartfelt quilt made for me truly the worst point in my life.

Thank you! lots of love. Spread the sparkle.

ABBIE ZUKOWSKI

When I met Audrey it was through a group on Facebook that no parent ever wants to belong to, but unfortunately Audrey and I as well as the many other amazing parents I have come to know, belong to this group, and it is called Parents of daughters loss . By the name you can tell exactly what it is, and my husband Chris and I lost our youngest child Abbie on May 18, 2015, she was just 11 years old. She was walking home from school and was hit by a car and killed when crossing the street. That was the moment our lives were forever changed and we became grieving parents. We have four children in total including Abbie. Vinny is 23, Gabbie is 20, and Maddie is 19. To say only those that walk in these shoes understand in truly an understatement.  It does not matter what religion , age, or ethnicity you are, you suddenly become so close to people that were strangers. Those are the people like Audrey, that I know and I can say anything to, without any judgement. Abbie loved life. She loved soccer, singing, art, dancing, making gifts for others, the color purple,💜  playing outside, camping, fashion, Taylor Swift. Playing with friends and family was everything to her. She was always looking to make others happy and her smile was contagious. When Abbie was killed, a piece of my heart died with her. 💔 

 

I received a package in the mail about a year after we lost Abbie. I did not know what it was, but when I opened it my heart melted. I started to take out the most beautiful quilt, that I could feel how much love went into when being made 💜.  I was in tears , so incredibly grateful and it is something I will treasure forever. Audrey went to great lengths to make sure it was perfect, and reflected Abbies happy, bubbly and free spirited personality.  To this day it is one of my most cherished possessions as both my husband I sleep with it every single night. I cannot begin to tell you how much this quilt made by the mom of a beautiful angel , Natalie who was also taken way too soon, means to my husband and I . Natalie’s smile is so bright and you can see how much she loved life and this is such a beautiful way to keep her memory alive and give back to so many that truly need that surprise at their door.

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