The Tommy Quilts

I would like to share with you pieces of the Tommy Quilts, an “art therapy” project that enables me to remember Tommy through creativity.

One thing I have learned and come to respect is that people grieve in many ways – there’s not a right way or a wrong way, it’s what right for you. I have found distraction, peace and creativity through knitting and quilting. It is not the first time you have heard me talk about the Tommy Quilts, quilts that I will make from Tommy’s clothes for those closest to him, but the talk has now turned into action. It has taken five years for me to distance myself and actually begin the work of designing the quilts and sewing sample squares.

I begin this labor of love quite selfishly, hoping that the process will be both therapeutic and cathartic. The Tommy Quilts represent a challenge and an opportunity to share with family and friends a very personal piece of Tommy’s time with us and to express my heartfelt thanks for their support and friendship, and the meaningful ways in which they remember Tommy.

Quilting is an interesting process. The top layer of a quilt is made of many fabrics each cut into smaller pieces that are then sewn together in combinations to create the blocks of a quilt. The blocks are then sewn together and often “framed” with sashes and borders. The whole quilt is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

In making each quilt, I will be putting together pieces to tell a story. Not unlike the year I spent trying to put together the pieces of Tommy’s life and death. But unlike the psychological autopsy that answered only some of my questions, I hope the pieces of each quilt will come together to create a meaningful and tangible remembrance of Tommy – something that will warm the heart and the body and elicit smiles and fond memories.

– RoseMary B. Fuss

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