Tessa has passed away. My email name for her was Tessa PR Buddy. She has posted 53 reviews as “Tessa” at PatternReview.com and made many gentle guiding comments on the message board over this past decade. She was most active during the first 5 years at PR and focused her reviews on casual, active, and outdoor wear for her family. Her reviews and her profile are still there at PR as well as her more than 900 comments on the message boards. She hadn’t commented since 2008 so I hesitate to go there to make this memorial. I can only hope her friends at PR also come here.
Her husband tells me she was in the hospital when I sent my last email of May 8th. I was brief, having a very weird feeling and only asking her if she was still with us. She didn’t answer, she couldn’t. She died on May 18th from cancer just after her 51st birthday, leaving 2 grown sons and a devoted husband.
She expected it, having been diagnosed with a rare type in August of 2007, just about the time I was declared tumor free. She faced a battle, knowing that she would not win. She was grateful that her sons seemed to be settled into good lives. The only spoken (written) lament from her was that someone was going to have a big stash to deal with. Oh she was sad, very sad, but resigned.
I have been very sad and carrying her in my heart for a long time and now I cannot let her pass away from our sewing community without an acknowledgment and salute to a woman who carried on the tradition of sewing for her family.
Tessa and I shared an interest in sewing for our family of men and in doing good construction with new technical fabrics. She learned to quilt from her Amish MIL whom she obviously treasured and in the written way I knew her she reflected a modest rather Amish sense of self. She wasn’t flashy or sarcastic, she was gently plain spoken. She never posted a photo so I don’t know what she looked like. I have her in my mind’s eye and I could almost always “feel” when she was around and had interest in a discussion whether it was here in a post at The Stitchery or in a message board thread. She gave me and others, great comfort with her quiet straightforwardness. She was what I would call a fine friend to have.
If you can still sew just a little bit when you have cancer it becomes the most precious escape if you have the patience to do it slowly, with maybe a sense of humor at being so frail a thing as a human. Cancer can cut down on the high expectations you might have previously placed on the quality of your work, but you are so grateful you can still sew even if only a tiny bit each time you try, that you keep trying if you have the strength. Sewing is such a solitary activity but then, in many ways, so is cancer. It’s an inner conversation, very quiet, the most private of conversations.
I will miss my friend but she is still with me in the same manner she has always been: in the simple sewing, stitch by stitch. That is the thread that connected us. We have been greatly blessed, all of us who visit together, to have this connection.
Sewing hugs, Tessa.