All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2) have come and gone leaving the rest of the month of November to continue to remember friends, family and other people important in our lives who no longer walk the earth.
During the Victorian Age death was treated with much ritual: the stopping of clocks, the covering of mirrors, women wearing black for years emulating Queen Victoria as she mourned for her husband Prince Albert.
After a death some quilters create quilts depicting their loved one’s life, giving them something tangible to hold and cherish. Some memory quilts bring to mind the deceased’s family, their favorite pet, sports team, hobby, achievements, etc. On a grand scale, the AIDS Project Quilt is comprised of thousands of fabric blocks each reflecting an individual who lost their life to this insidious disease.
Last August I wrote an article about the 1837 Sorg Historical Quilt. Carole Sorg’s quilt not only reflects family, weddings, tractors and pets; it also reflects the passing of a child. A middle-aged couple are embroidered on the quilt standing at the child’s grave. The parents are Carol’s in-laws, Alphonse and Virginia Sorg and they mourn their son William, who died at age one day. At the time of the birth on January 27, 1940 Virginia was ill with a severe infection that caused her to pass in and out of consciousness and the family feared she might pass away too. It wasn’t until four months after the birth that she recuperated well enough to realize she was no longer pregnant and Alphonse told her their son had died shortly after birth. It was even longer before Virginia had enough strength to go to the St. Joseph Hessen Cassel Catholic Church Cemetery to mourn at William’s grave.
Carole felt it was important to depict them on the quilt, as she did know her in-laws, and loved them as much as her own parents. Carole also knows what it is like to mourn the death of a child: her grandson Ronald a.k.a. Bubba who died at seventeen is depicted under the tire swing, his favorite childhood past time.
Death a part of life: Reflect, remember and rejoice for the time your loved ones were in your life on earth!
Lois Levihn owner of Born Again Quilts restores quilts at her studio at 4005 South Wayne Ave. She can be contacted at www.bornagainquilts.com. Watch her PBS Focus In Arts interview at: vimeo.com/144050237.