Pink Dress

I collected beautiful pieces leftover
In my memories,
still always hoping
To keep you forever with me.
In a giving away ritual
I found a gift.
Comforted by sharing your life
In the torn land of my heart
Was less sorrow and more joy.
Remembering your blushing spirit
is to celebrate.
You remain forever with me.

Pink Dress was sewn from fragments of fabric cut from the contributions below

Hilda Smith – d. 1998 at 98 years old

Hilda's death came peacefully and the division of her belongings was seriously considered among her family, with the belief that her spirit lives on in these things. Aina-Nia, one of her granddaughters, received her pink housedress…This dress, while loved by Hilda, has probably been even more cherished and loved by her granddaughter. Aina-Nia wore this housedress whenever she was sad, saying as she put it on, "Cover me, Hilda. Cover me."...She was comforted by the feeling of the fabric against her skin and the silent knowing that her grandmother's arms wrapped around her. Her grandmother walks with her through every sadness.

Thelma Kelly – d. 1997 at in her 80's years old

This scarf of my grandma's came to me at Christmas 2007, a decade after her death...I always think of my Grandma Kelly in purple or pink, the colours of this scarf. Not anything frilly or lacey or even flowery, just blushing colour. In one of my favourite later-life photos of her, she is in pink from head to toe, sitting outdoors in a wheelchair with flowers across her lap.

Helen Mary McQuarrie (a.k.a. Mrs. M) – d. 1986 at 78 years old

I am sharing the crazy quilt you made me from leftover scraps of my and your dresses, blouses, skirts and pants, which you sewed…The pale blue metallic pieces are my surprise grade 12 graduation dress…the bright green scraps are my bell bottom pants…I see your long remembered house dresses in the flowered cotton scraps...Store bought clothes, like store bought cookies, just weren't the same as homemade ones...Thank you for always loving me and for still being in my memories so I can always talk to you.

Earl D. Smith – d. 2007 at 75 years old

What was important was having the kind of birthday my father wanted. So we had the small get together with our immediate family…I look at this beautiful pink shirt he wore and know it served as a reminder of the kind of man he was. This shirt, like his smile, showed his joy...He wanted to be a beacon that was an example of God's love.

Donna Lee Zampieron (née Stahls) – d. 1999 at 33 years old

The pink outfit is from a skating show Donna participated in during her teens and is what brings back the most precious time of her short, but much loved, life...No matter how ill Donna was, she always seemed to find peace on the ice…A parent's biggest fear when a child is lost is that they will be forgotten, not by the parent but by other people. Normally you live on by your children's memories...Now Donna can only live on by us talking about her, remembering her, mentioning her...She did exist and still does to us and the people that loved her.

Leah Ryan Eisenberg – d. 2006 at 21 years old

I chose these jeans from a basket of fifteen or so. I like that this pair is frayed; it tells me that Leah must have liked these too. She bought jeans like some people buy shoes…The bra and panties are my adult girl who liked lacy, pretty things…I bought this coat for Leah at The Gap. One of my favourite things to do was to shop together...After they'd taken Leah's body, I found a pair of her jeans on the bathroom floor. When my friend saw these she smiled and softly said, "They still have her shape to them."

Margaret Louise McWilliam – d. 1987 at 21 years old

Can I collect my loss in a neatly typed page? Can I bring my daughter back by washing and ironing and mailing away? I can't. Nonetheless, this project appeals to me. For close to twenty years, giving away my daughter's things has been a sort of ritual…Still, some things remain...There are the dresses she made herself...There is the pink dress she wore for her first job interview...I shall not dwell on the nightmare of horror that happened less than a year later. I shall hang on to the happiness of the day I associate with the pink dress as we drove to my mother's apartment to celebrate Margaret's first full-time job.

Kristina Penney – d. 2006 at 17 years old

This beautiful sweater was a gift from a relative. It kept Kristina warm as a newborn when we went outside that cold winter in 1989. It is a precious memento of that special time and that memory I will cherish forever.

Olivia Carley Barron – d. 2006 at 7 years old

Found a picture of you, Olivia, so gleeful with gift of this pink cotton top, your 6th birthday gift. Butterflies…Prance, prance like Little Pony, remembering you wearing this pink cotton top. Forever with me.

Angelica Ruby Milo – d. 2003 stillborn

Angelica Ruby's term of endearment would have been "Bunny."...I bought this onesie early in my pregnancy, secretly hoping for a girl…My heart was torn from my body, and when, like Demeter, I returned to the land of the living, I dealt with my grief the only way I knew how; I made art…So, it is time to pass forward this onesie, smelling of hope and sorrow but never of a child, to again make art.