The traditional gift for the second anniversary is cotton, and this year I wanted to make a handmade gift. This year was a bit special because we have a baby on the way. By some twist of fate my homemade 'cotton' gift for Jon was really for the baby, and Jon's gift to me was a very cute cotton dress - also for the baby. I guess a baby does change everything.
I first visited Göteborg this past March, when Jon started his PhD program. I spent 10 days, getting to know the city and country. One thing that I knew I wanted to do was visit an IKEA. I wanted to see if it was different to visit an IKEA in its' homeland.
As it turns out, it was the same, same, same. With the exception of the desserts in the cafeteria - there's a much bigger selection here, and the meatballs - no Swedish flags on the plates, oh! and the fabric selection - slightly bigger than any other IKEAs I've been to in the United States or Belgium.
I picked up two packs of FINURLIG, basically a package of 50 pre-cut squares of scrap fabric for 29 kroner (about 4 US dollars). I chose a pack with a predominate colour scheme of black and white, which I hear is really good for newborn baby's development. Then, I returned to Belgium and promptly forgot about it all. By the time June rolled around, I was feeling the pressure to make a gift for our anniversary and also to get the house packed up. I thought a quilt would make a perfect gift for our 2nd cotton anniversary. My only problem was that I had never made a quilt before. How hard could it be?
It wasn't that hard, because I didn't expect it to be perfect and I made the most simple quilt I could. I figured out some kinks in my IKEA sewing machine, and just kind of went with it. I carefully placed the pieces where I wanted them and sewed horizontal rows. After the rows were finished, I pressed the seams open and tried my best to match them as I sewed the rows together to create the quilt top. I bought batting and sandwiched it between the quilt top and the boldest polka-dot fabric I could find at IKEA to keep the design and fabric weight consistent. Finally, I sewed the bias tape along the edges by machine, and then tacked each square corner with a brightly coloured thread.
Et voilà: an 2nd anniversary quilt for the baby.
From start to finish this quilt took a total of three days, but there was one more touch I wanted to add... the date.
June 10th, 2014
This date is now embroidered on my baby's quilt. It's the date of our second wedding anniversary. It's also the day my brother Daniel suffered a brain aneurysm, from which he died three days later.
Today, my baby girl is 11 days past her due date. It's been three months to the day since Daniel's aneurysm occurred. I'm feeling fine physically, but emotionally... that's another story. This has been the most painful and difficult experience of my life. The impending dates of the 10th and the 13th are a trigger for me, and these past few days I have felt more sad and lonely than I have since Daniel's death. It could be the extra hormones, the anxious anticipation of my baby's birth, I don't know. What I do know is the sadness I feel.
I am sad that our daughter won't know how awesome her uncle was.
I am sad that he isn't here to make me laugh or check up on me, like I know he would.
I am sad that he isn't here for this major event in our lives.
I am sad for the void that I feel, the extreme sense of loss.
I was hoping that our daughter would be born by now to take the pain of the 10th away. Maybe she will be born on the 13th? Any day would be a good day. We are patiently waiting for her, as she will bring so much love and light to our family.