Shorts

In the garden
of my full heart
 
Are threads of breath
intertwining

Pictures, details, dreams

Of family,
and friendships,
stories
I have grown to love.
There is a void too;
 
I had to burrow deep
to give away
Pain I was holding.

 

I was important
to my life

 

To make a place of
Happiness
Within my soul

 

To remember you.

Shorts was sewn from fragments of fabric cut from the contributions below

Hili Lindberg – d. 2005 at 84 years old

My mother loved colourful silk scarves and collected them. She thought of herself as an extremely practical person and mostly she was…This is a way for me to honour her pleasure in things that are not strictly necessary or practical. Life should be about more than survival.


Gerald Vernon Dryden – d. 2007 at 83 years old

These grey corduroy pants were Dad's favourite pair, worn and comfortable, really an extension of his genuine and relaxed nature. The red golf shirt has special meaning for me as it was the shirt I helped him to put on the afternoon we brought him to hospital. In my mind's eye, I see my lovely Dad being held gently by my husband as I slipped this shirt over his head....It was the last piece of clothing of his own he ever wore. The final piece is a raggedy old hoodie...It still smells like his pipe and you can see the burns on the sleeves from when the wind took the ashes from the pipe pot and scattered them about. My father loved to sit outside and smoke his pipe. It was in returning inside that he slipped and fell, starting in motion the events that led to his death...Dad lived a life without judgment, without prejudice, seeking to do right by another and ultimately touching the lives of many...These are the gifts that were Dad's and they live on for us who remember.


Olga De Simone – d. 2004 at 78 years old

My mother was only 18 in 1943 when she designed, sewed, and embroidered five nightdresses that would become the first pieces in her hope chest…She could have become so many things. But she chose to become a wife and mother, a seamstress, an immigrant, an embroider of lives...She was a lover of poetry and song and beauty and, in my eyes, that essence is captured in this handmade garment of her youth.


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.


Mary Jeanne Taylor (née Steart) – d. 1992 at 71 years old

My mother was very skilled at needlework - embroidery, knitting, dressmaking…This needlework picture is dated 1942, when mother was 21 or 22. It was done in the middle of the war in England…During war years people planted victory gardens, growing their own vegetables to free more food supplies for the war effort. Mother's picture, "Dig for Victory," is a humorous view of two women working in their garden. When you look at the picture closely, you see an amazing amount of detail - done with just a needle and thread.


Eppo and Frieda Boelman – d. 1996 at age 64 (Frieda) and age 72 (Eppo) years old

When I think of my mom and dad, I think of the unconditional love they would give us. Their souls were very innocent. Whatever they did, they did with a full heart. They knew to live within themselves, and to make that a happy place.


Margeurite (Peggy) Geneviere Ann Desaulniers McLaughlin – d. 1993 at 60 years old

To our one and only Peggy, Margeurite, Mommy, Gran…Maggie, your namesake, loves this shirt, in particular. She has insisted that the safety pin you placed on it remain there over these last fourteen years since you left us. Your loss came at a time when Maggie was also losing the home life she had known to pursue her dream of dancing...For her, this shirt has been a way of holding on to you and to that part of her childhood...I have to be honest though. Looking at this shirt causes me some pain...I can see you unhappy and ill in it and I do so wish I could have made things better but...It is time to give it away. It is time to think about how much joy you had...How you saw happiness in such little things.


Terry Walker – d. 2002 at 54 years old

My Aunt Terry was the original second hand shopper…She would take my mom, my sisters and me on Saturday morning excursions to the original clothing recyclers in the 1970s and 80s…After she died, my sisters and I helped my mother to go through Aunt Ter's apartment. I remember walking into her closets, burrowing into her clothes, surrounding myself with her scent, and the many colours and textures of her life...These flowing polka-dotted shorts remind me of Aunt Ter's flair for fashion, the beauty that she contributed to the world around her and the many ways that she has influenced my life.


Alexander (Sasha) Kalaba – d. 2000 at 17 years old

I saved all of Sasha's clothes but whenever I think about him this shirt always stands out…When he died I went to the basement and I saw his clothes ready to be washed. I picked up the clothing and there was still his scent on them but he was gone. I wanted to keep this smell forever so I didn't wash them. In the first weeks, I prayed to God just to let me see him once more...I could sit all day and night in one room on the floor; I didn't need anything. I felt I was totally apart, my whole body was aching...The pain was unbearable...I went to Bereaved Families until I felt I could survive on my own. When I asked how you survive this kind of tragedy, someone would respond, "You can't get over this but you learn to live with it." This is the truth...Sasha is always present with us.


Lisa Judith Spitzer – d. 1981 at 15 3/4 years old

Our Lisa Judith was bright, intelligent, full of life. She was on the way to becoming my friend. She confided as much or even more than a teenager confides in a mother…Lisa wore this outfit to the last Bar Mitzvah she attended before her surgery. She was so thrilled with the outfit; she looked so beautiful, with baby's breath intertwined in her hair...There is no such thing as closure - one doesn't heal from the death of a child. The only thing that happens is that as each day passes into a month and a month becomes a year, there is a softening of the wound.


Nicholas David Reed (Nick) – d. 2003 at 15 years old

I just finished ironing the t-shirt…I gave this to Nick on his 15th birthday…Nick loved cartoons…He had grown into an amazing artist…He left behind books and books of his artwork. These pictures and the stories behind them help us on our way through this grief...Nick's brother, Jordan, wore this t-shirt briefly and I told him of this project and what I wanted to do with it. He gave me his okay. It was also okay with my wife...Death has a way of making you realize what is really important in life. Family and friendships are more important than they were before.


Andrew Joseph Westermann – d. 2001 newborn

This world, my world, has an immense void in it…oh, how my soul misses you…I close my eyes and deep in the stillness I can hear you speak, "Mama, a breath away I am, close in your heart I am…I remember, Mama, how you cradled me in your arms, snuggled me close next to your heart. Our fingers intertwined." I open my eyes and I remember your sweet little fingers.