But Love Lasts

A year ago I had lunch with a friend, and I had the honor of presenting him with a quilt. Ira is a longtime acquaintance but recent friend, someone who knew my son but didn’t really know me or my husband, though we have several mutual friends. And we have something in common that has bonded us forever.

A few years ago, Ira was diagnosed with breast cancer. More than 275,000 women in the US are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Men can also have breast cancer, though they account for only around 1% of cases.

Ira was treated and his cancer was in remission. In Fall of 2019, Ira found out his cancer had metastasized to his liver. When that happens, it is not liver cancer. It is still breast cancer. And though there are a variety of treatments that can extend life, metastasized breast cancer is a terminal disease.

Educator, composer, performer, conductor, coach, husband, dad, grandpa, friend. When he got the terminal diagnosis, Ira had recently retired from his career as a music professor. Even outside of the university setting, even with cancer, he still carries on all of these roles. I made him the quilt to commemorate the part he played in my son’s life, and his retirement, and to provide comfort as he deals with his changing health. He has told me he sits with the quilt on his lap as he composes now.

But Love Lasts. 42″ x 51″. For Ira. 2020.

The leaf-style blocks are called “Maple Leaf” blocks. They were made by both my sister and me in four different sizes from 6″ to 15″, using a 3″ overall grid. I showed you the beginning of the leaves project here. (She got all the ones I didn’t use.) The layout is my own design, with 3″ finished squares to fill.

The name of the quilt is “But Love Lasts.” The name evolved over the weeks that I worked on the quilt. It started with my thoughts about seasons, and especially the notion “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Cultural references are from both Ecclesiastes and from Pete Seeger’s “Turn Turn Turn.” Seasons turn. The maple leaves turn to brilliant reds and golds, dropping from trees to turn again a dusky brown, and finally to dust as snow falls, days begin to brighten, and tender shoots erupt in warmth again.

Seasons turn. But love lasts.

He is surrounded by love, the love of his family and friends and people beyond his knowing, now and before him and after him. Love lasts.

When I saw Ira for lunch, I presented the quilt in a cloth tote bag I made, decorated with a few of the 3″ patches cut for the quilt.


31 thoughts on “But Love Lasts

  1. Stitcher

    A beautiful story, a lovely quilt, a special individual, a generous quilt and one very ugly disease. I’m sure you would have much preferred a cure for his disease. Perhaps you showed him the disease is not who he is, but what he has, and how he as a person is valued and loved. You are yourself very special.

  2. laura bruno lilly

    So sorry to hear of your friend’s breast cancer metastasizing. Your offer of comfort in the form of your quilt, “But love lasts” is touching. Cathartic in the making, loving in the giving.

  3. piecefulwendy

    Oh my, I’m having a bit of trouble trying to see while I type. The thoughtfulness you put into this quilt, along with all the love and memories, is touching. I’m sure Ira knows how much he is loved. Life is precious, and flies by so quickly. I’m glad the two of you shared so many years of friendship.

  4. Kerry

    Beautiful and well named very special quilt. Ira knows how much he is loved by everyone. In turn his love will be wrapped in the quilt to pass on to family.

  5. katechiconi

    There is something about making a quilt for someone who will not be with us much longer. The investment of thought, and time, and effort tells them they are valued, beyond the short time we have left with them, beyond the friendship and its lasting memory. We are telling them that they are held in posterity, that this quilt signifies their continued meaning and importance to us long after their atoms are dispersed.


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