The look on my Mom’s face is absolutely beautiful. Raw. Precious. Worth a million words. Her expression conveys so much: Gratitude, surprise, love, comfort, shock, happiness and sadness…and so much more that probably only she could adequately explain.
My Mom’s emotions are as varied as the more than 130 powerful hand-written messages from around the world that grace this super-sized “Super Duper Secret Project” my Mom finally holds in her hands.
For three months, the WTF? community, family and friends secretly worked within a private Facebook group to create this “81 1/2 x 81 1/2″ quilt for my Mom, Leslie Lehrman, a Stage IV lung cancer survivor (no she never smoked) and inspiration for the WTF? campaign and movement.
Believe me, these pictures do not do the quilt justice. Not even close.
Mom was FINALLY able to come back to Omaha for a visit. No blood clots or Denver detour this time, thank God. She also got a break from chemo until after her trip, so, we made it extra special – surprising her with this quilt and livestreaming the whole thing so all those who took part could see her reaction. Boy, was it an event. Check out the video.
My Mom was clearly overwhelmed with all the beautiful messages of hope, love, inspiration and “go get ‘em” – messages precisely stitched with tie dye thread onto the fabric in a playful retro flower pattern.
It was so cute. After I explained how the quilt came about, who it was from and showed her the back with all the messages, her response (in a unintentional double entendre sort of way): “Oh, this is just too much – WTF-ers!” (16:44 on video)
Family blocks outline the front of the quilt, lovingly surrounding a beautiful picture of Mom with a simple message: “We Love You Mom.”
It was a treat to watch the project unfold. I was absolutely mesmerized watching “Tillie,” the long arm quilter, methodically and seemingly effortlessly move her way across the fabric, with each “tick, tick tick,” tying together a collective statement and bond between fellow survivors, family members, friends, caregivers and complete strangers. You can watch “Tillie” in action below. (I even got to push the “start” button).
This “Super Duper Secret Project” all started with a short phone call to one of my dear friends, Julie Grillo. After that, people literally came out of the woodwork to help…to be part of turning this idea into an amazing piece of personal and meaningful art and a gift of immeasurable love and support. Absolutely incredible.
Not only did people share their compassion and passion for the project. They also shared their hard-earned dollars. The entire cost of the quilt was covered by donations. Beyond incredible.
Unfortunately, Mom’s trip is over and she will soon start chemo again. No doubt she’ll be wrapped in one HUMONGOUS, snug, warm hug when she gets home from her treatments. We cannot thank the lung cancer community, our family and friends enough. It just isn’t possible.
Not even with all the tie dye in the world.
Here are just a few pictures that chronicle the “Super Duper Secret Project” from beginning to end.