Kitties for Emma
How it began
A few weeks before Emma passed away, she and I were in the car driving home from a school auction meeting. She was asking me about why some of her friends went to church or temple. I was explaining to her about different religions and beliefs and that people find comfort and hope in these different things that they believe in. I then told her that I believe in energy, being kind, helping others, and putting out good energy and intentions, and that when she was older she could decide what she believed in. She then said that she believed that too and to not worry that her energy would always find my energy.
Then she was quiet for a few minutes and said that when she dies she wants to come back as a worm. I was a bit surprised at this as Emma didn't exactly love bugs or worms. I said "oh really" and she went "yes, so I can help the plants and the trees grow." Now this made more sense to me as to why she wanted to come back as a worm. She was quiet again and then said, "but wait mama… birds eat worms. I'm NOT coming back as a worm. I'll come back as a kitty". I then told her that if her energy got to decide how and when she would come back that I'm sure she could come back as a kitty.
Emma also liked to sew and play with my fabric and since I'm a heavy quilter, I figured making kitty quilts would be a great way for her classmates to remember her. I set out a call for kitty blocks through social media and the response was insane. I went from the goal of making 21 kitty quilts for just Emma’s class, to then 42 to include the whole grade. But then something told me that I couldn't forget Emma’s teachers, school admin staff, bus drivers, plus friends who weren't in her school, and of course family. We are still continuing to make kitty quilts that will be both sold to raise funds and donated.
We even ended up adopting two kittens; one is all white with bright blue eyes, and the other has a heart shape on his side and behind his leg.
Kitties From Around the World
Word of my call for kitty blocks got out quickly within the online quilting community. I soon started receiving blocks from all over the world; South Africa, France, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Brazil and so many more. We ended up receiving over 4,000 kitty blocks (sorry to our postman!) to help us make the first 130 kitty quilts. We even received donations of fabric for backing, binding, batting, whole kitty quilts, and even custom labels. Quilters donated their time to help bind, quilt, cut up fabric, and piece it together. It was an amazing global effort and all of it was done to help honor and keep Emma’s memory alive.
L (7) and E (3)
When we received the 2 quilts both my kids were ecstatic! L (7) who remembers Emma a little better then his sister, sleeps with it every night. He snuggles with it, it inspires him to sing songs about Emma who in his words was his "true love" and "the best". He loves cats just as much as Emma did and the quilt is a wonderful way to connect to her, in his own way. The quilt also gives him a special connection to aunt Christy. Sometimes the quilt makes him happy, sometimes it makes him very sad. E (3) who does not quite understand what happened to Emma but knows that she is not with us anymore, loves looking at the different kittens on the quilt. She sleeps on it, it's her little mattress. The quilt helps E remember her big friend Emma, someone she looked up to.
In Syd’s own words
I felt happy and special when I got the kitty quilt. I sleep with it every night and hug it just like I would hug Emma. I remember Emma everyday when I see hearts and sparkles and kitties
E and Z
When we received our quilt is was emotional but the kids were humbled to learn how the quilt came to be (from all over the world) and its purpose… to remind them to be kind and know they’re loved and to love others.
We LOVE having our kitty quilt to snuggle with at night. Weston gets a little extra magic from Emma, who we know is playing with his big sister Abbey somewhere. Good night girls... we love you always xo