We had some visitors from out of town last week. It was my daughter Barbara and her three kids: Cute, Cute and Cute. And Cute. Did I mention that they were cute? All my grandchildren are cute. I’m so very lucky.
And now, a story.
Some time ago, I’d made a quilt with pinks and blues and cherries and flowers and was so frugal with my fabric I had enough for another quilt leftover. I starting piecing the pinwheels and put them up on the pin wall, and then was stuck. I tried this combo and that combo and nothing would come together.
Then one horrid horrid day, our friend Heather wrote to say that she had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, and it had spread to her liver, and maybe her brain but they were doing CT scans checking, checking. We waited. Good news! No brain mets, as she said.
I began to work again on the stuck quilt. Only I knew now it was for Heather so it flew together in a glorious explosion of work and love and tears and care for our friend. I thought long and hard about what to name it.
I arranged a visit to see her shortly before she would begin her first of six rounds of chemotherapy, a grueling process. I wanted her to have the quilt. I had in my mind what I wanted to call it, carrying along my pen to sign and write the name on the back, just in case I was right.
We had one of those happy-sad-teary-laughing conversations about what lay before her. I knew then what I planned to call it was correct, Earth’s Crammed with Heaven, from E. B. Browning’s verse:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
I told her that it meant to me that because of her suffering she would see and understand so much more about heaven and earth than she ever would before. She would see that indeed, earth is crammed with heaven.
I tracked her chemo treatments on my calendar, trying to visit when possible, emailing whenever as I waited for her to come up out of the vortex of chemo and bendy bones and pain.
Last week she had another CT scan, and because of her treatments, and her faith, and the doctors and good karma and prayers and heaven and hugs and everything-we-could-throw-at-it on earth, her tumors have been eradicated. As she put it: “lots of high fives and tears in the doctor’s office.”
Oh, yeah. You go, Heather! Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Chinese New Year.