Surrender 102: Stitch in Time

Greg’s mother, Leta, was a creative person. Before Alzheimer’s Disease robbed her of the simple pleasure of creating, she often sat in the evenings, busy with her latest project. She crocheted, and did cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery and French knotting. 


As I’ve packed up the house in Arkansas, I have found drawers and boxes full of craft kits, yarn of all colors and embroidery thread. These items are a testament to her love of creating.  

Tucked among the patterns and material, there are a few completed pieces, such as the canning jar lid cover pictured above. Mostly I’ve uncovered kits that were never opened. 


However, I have found several works in progress, needle work that Leta started and never completed. There’s another canning jar lid cover, snug within a hoop, two grapes and the delicate border completed and the leaf partially so.  

There’s a wonderfully done French knot piece, which may or may not be finished. The needle is still attached. I’m not sure what this was intended to be. Leta usually framed these small works of art and hung them throughout the house. I love the way age has turned the white on white needlework a soft cream color. 


At first these abandoned works of creativity made me feel sad. They stirred up feelings of loss and impermanence, of sorrow and time running out. 

I chose to reframe my thoughts. These hand made pieces of art, although incomplete, are just as charming to me as the many completed pillows and afghans, framed needlework and cute pot holders. Incredibly, they still carry Leta’s scent, Estee Lauder Youth Dew. 

I could finish the work. I learned needlework years ago. However, I intend to come up with a creative way to display these interrupted works of art. I may frame them or arrange them in shadow boxes, just as they are, hoops and needles in place, work stopped. 


The needlework, on display, will remind me of Leta and that she found joy in creating. They look as if she just laid them down and walked away, intending to return. And that’s good to remember too. Life shifts and changes, and ultimately time runs out here. 

These stitches, arrested in time, remind me of the importance of doing what I love to do, while I can, with great joy. What beautiful works of art. What beautiful lessons to receive.