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Memorial for Tessa

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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.

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About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

10 responses »

  1. That was an amazing tribute and I hope that when I pass on that someone cares enough to write such moving words about me. You made her come to life ~ thank you for sharing her with me and us!

    Reply
  2. Thank you MaryBeth for sharing Tessa’s passion for life and her love of sewing. Your kind words will stay with me today as I sit at my machine and remember to treasure those I love because our time here is much too short.

    Reply
  3. Thank you MaryBeth for this beautiful written tribute you did on Tessa your sewing friend. Reading this post from your heart and thoughts about cancer and sewing makes me realize how lucky we are when we are healthy and should not take this for granted like I do.

    Reply
  4. That was lovely MaryBeth. It brought tears to my eyes. You shared her Memorial Day with us. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, Tessa. Your tribute is very touching.

    Reply
  6. So sorry for the loss of one of your sewing friends.
    I’m reading this at work and it brought tears
    to my eyes.These are such nice
    words Mary Beth, and very thoughtful of you
    to write a wonderful tribute to this lady.
    Thank you and I’m sure this will be with me as
    I go through my day today.

    Reply
  7. Elegant and eloquent. Truly written from the heart. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

    Reply
  8. Very well put and great tribute to a sewing buddy. I unfortuntely did not know her; I hate to read of another person passing away due to cancer. We just had a Relay for Life fundraiser in our city this past weekend to raise funds for cancer research and such. Tessa and those like her and her family need this type of support.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Mary Beth for your lovely memorial. I remember Tessa from PR and am very sad to hear of her passing. I hope her family has read your touching remarks- I am sure they would be comforted.

      Reply

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