On Thursday evening I was told that my friend, Cleo, had passed earlier in the day. This was definitely a case of someone being gone too soon.
Cleo was a fighter. In the 10+ years that I had known her, she had fought cancer twice and worked so hard to recover from severe edema in her legs. She was starting to get back to her life, and for a quilter, that meant new projects! She had borrowed a number of Scrap Quilting books and had already picked out a few that she wanted to make.
But, alas, she was beset with a stroke and then learned that the cancer had metastasized further into her body. She passed while surrounded by her loving family.
I know that I had met Cleo before, but my first true conversation with her occurred at a Quilt Show….where else!! She was working behind the scenes, keeping the kitchen organized and running. We talked for at least an hour and I was struck by her interest in my life and the way she would assimilate what I had said and then ask further questions. I knew that she was retired at the time and made the assumption that she must have worked in a mental health area. Instead, I was to find that she was a banker!! I guess that they have to ask probing questions too.
She carried that ability to listen and ask questions to her quilting. She could critique a quilt in a heartbeat and was always gracious in her presentation so that you actually thought that it was YOUR idea and not hers!! When she and her husband, Richard, would come to our house for dinner, we often ended up with the guys on the deck and Cleo and I in my studio, with her patiently looking at each of my in-progress pieces and making wonderful suggestions that, eventually, made it a better quilt!
She was part of our Cre-8-tive group and, when we presented our challenges, she would ask what we liked about it and what we hated about it. One of our last challenges was handwork. We each presented a basic piece and then passed it around as others added to it. Cleo presented us with this….
We each did some work and handed it back to her looking like this….
And she finished it into this magnificent piece…..
And, her portion of this challenge is what inspired me to make these Quilt Show Badges….
In July of last year, Michael and I met she and Richard for lunch and she proudly showed her latest project, a photo quilt for her Granddaughter……
….It didn’t matter if we were standing in the middle of a parking lot!!!
She always inspired me!! At one lunch she was showing me the results of a workshop that she had taken and I decided to go home and try something similar. I got this far before life took over again…..
I am thinking that it is time to pull it out and get it finished!!
Cleo was a believer in Jesus Christ and in His saving grace and I believe that she is in heaven now. I can only imagine what heaven looks like for a quilter but I can hope that…..
- there are no broken needles
- needles never come un-threaded
- thread doesn’t tangle
- bobbins never run out (especially not 2 inches before you finish sewing that binding on)
- you can always find the pin that you dropped
- steam irons have an infinite water supply, and don’t cut off at just the wrong time
- half-square and quarter-square triangles are always the perfect size….straight off of the machine
- fabric is available in any pattern and any color
- and most importantly…..seam rippers don’t exist because they aren’t needed…..EVER!
You will be missed my friend!!!
8 thoughts on “Gone too soon”
What a lovely tribute to Cleo. I can’t believe we have lost her.
A sweet tribute and it sounds like you were as much an inspiration to her as she was to you.
Sorry that you have lost such a good friend. The warm support of the members are what drew me to join the Guild.
Cleo and her talent will be missed by many, she was beautiful inside and out.
I am so shocked and saddened to hear of Cleo’s passing. You have written a beautiful tribute here. What a wonderful lady- she was gracious, encouraging to young quilters and oh so talented and inspiring.
It has been almost two years since my gramma past and I find myself coming back to this often. Thank you for the beautiful tribute. I can’t help but see her smile when I read this.
Hi Trudy. Thanks for this comment. They are always in our hearts!!!