Blue Jumper

Whatever mourning, emptying
Discarding worn and threadbare dreams
I did, I returned to your face
As now at this fresh beginning.
From memory of soft kisses, joyful laughter
Extends happiness and strong affection.
A wondrous melody escapes, pressing me onward
Into light, sunset, night
Feeling of your hand in mine
Faded, trusting together is bigger
Than life.

Blue Jumper was sewn from fragments of fabric cut from the contributions below

David Novick – d. 1989 at 80 years old

My father, in summertime, wore this undershirt…After his death, I wore it as a camisole. He was my last close relative, the last relative who genuinely loved me…When I wore this undershirt I felt a closeness, a connectedness...This undershirt is worn, threadbare and much loved. In giving it to you, I am giving you something of me...I start fresh. I am joyful, ecstatic, excited about new beginnings...I feel "zaftig" (abundant in Yiddish)...Unlike the undershirt, I am not worn, threadbare. However, like the undershirt, in loving, I have become much loved.

Albert “Cecil” MacDougall – d. 2006 at 73 years old

I remember the day you told me you had purchased a race horse. You were 50 years old and I was amazed that you were taking up this new direction at an age when most people would be thinking about slowing down…I remember getting the phone call that something had happened and guessing that it had to do with the horses. I could not believe you were gone...I remember going through your clothing...Your driving suit represents the part of you that was always bigger than life to me. Your driving suit must continue on in some way.

Terry Donaldson – d. 2007 at 64 years old

This shirt belonged to my dear husband, Terry, who was diagnosed with ALS…Together we tried to find joy in every day, whether it was a sunset, great cup of coffee or a visit from friends and family. He never forgot to thank me for my care or tell me how much he loved me.

Sheelagh Shea – d. 1982 at 27 years old

Sisterly duty Alone in room Closet emptying Fast discarding Stuffing bags … Panties pretty Unlike the sisters An unbroken trilogy Still together Often worn Reminders of a time Before wrist tracings Darkened memories Took your laughter Away from me

Sarah Elizabeth Giroux – d. 2006 at 27 years old

Like a ribbon, you held us all together, softly weaving through our lives. The photo of you wearing your blue turtleneck sweater, while hugging your books and wearing that big warm Sarah smile, is vivid for all of us. This is the piece of clothing that we'll think of you wearing and we wish to share with others. Yes, it was practical but it was also warm and stylish just like you.

Bruce Mallory – d. 1990 at 21 years old

As he approached his high school years, my brother, Bruce, discovered a fascination and aptitude for chess…When he was invited to Philadelphia to participate in a prestigious tournament, his passion could not distract him from a focused resolve…For what felt like an eternity after we lost my brother, we were unable to escape the plight and pain of his last days. The path of our healing pressed onward and ever so gradually became less encumbered, as our memory of his wondrous spirit and joyful exuberance so graciously returned the smile to our faces.

Yael Koren – d. 2000 at 15 1/2 years old

I look at that t-shirt with the cartoon guy, funny grin on his face and gesturing with his outstretched arms saying, "Whatever," and I laugh each time I see it. I think of you saying the same thing many times, Yael, in response to different situations…I remember with pain, with happiness, with sadness, but above all, I remember, and Yael's melody plays in the background of my mind all the time.

Rebecca Lynne Hardy – d. 2006 at 14 1/2 years old

Rebecca was our first child. We were told on her fifth day of life that she would not likely make it through the night. And while she stayed with us for 14½ years, we had to grieve the loss of the "normal child" from the start…I picked this set of clothing because it is soft like her; she had the softest hands (though a mean pinch when she wanted to get her point across). We had this game: I would say "kisses for Rebecca" and she would extend her hand so I could kiss it...Having a child with a disability is hard and isolating. You lose friends because they can't deal with it...Once the person with the disability is gone you have a really hard time adjusting to "normal life," but it's not normal because you are mourning, and again you lose friends because they can't deal with your loss. Rebecca taught us and so many others so much. She was a bright light and she will be forever missed.

Paula Joanne Normore – d. 2001 at 14 years old

This was our last vacation together…Paula asked if we could stop in Freeport, Maine. She wanted to buy an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt…She wore it so proudly when school opened that fall…I just wish she could have worn it so much more…You have so many dreams and plans for your child.

Sabrina Anne Shannon – d. 2003 at 13 years old

Butterflies are free and Sabrina can fly. My beautiful Sabrina, I remember the day you bought your pretty blue butterfly t-shirt…It was your favourite shirt. You wore it with your faded jeans and your red, wavy hair falling gently over your shoulders. Humid memories in the fabric Pale T-shirt Dark Blue Butterfly ... Long to hold her close again Felt Sabrina's ribs through Humid memories, blue fabric "I love you."

Laura Haffey – d. 1984 at 6 years old

Laura's strong affection for her Smurf pyjamas was instant. As soon as she opened the present on her 5th birthday, the love affair began...Laura's Smurf pyjamas were faded and lopsided from all the love and attention they received…They became a metaphor for the way Laura lived her life. Her life was lived on her loving, trusting and somewhat unconventional terms.

Anna Joleen McLean – d. 2003 at 6 months and 3 weeks

When I see this pretty yellow dress, I remember my first daughter, Anna, and how lovely she looked when she wore it…We knew that it was unlikely that she would ever be able to celebrate her first birthday so my husband and I decided to have a six month birthday for her...In this dress, Anna was no longer the sick little girl who lived in a hospital, but a fairy princess about to enjoy a little birthday party just for her.