Lorraine McGregor (left) and Betty Millar hold up an honour quilt they made for Nelson Jubilee Manor. Photo: Tyler Harper

Lorraine McGregor (left) and Betty Millar hold up an honour quilt they made for Nelson Jubilee Manor. Photo: Tyler Harper

One final comfort: Group makes honour quilt for Nelson Jubilee Manor

The quilt will be draped over deceased patients as they leave the facility

On an early April morning in 2019, not long after the sun rose, Lorraine McGregor went to see her mother’s body.

McGregor found Evelyn Murray in a Castlegar nursing home where she had passed away in the night. She expected to see Evelyn, but was surprised to discover one of her quilts draped over her mother by the staff.

“It was a very peaceful thing,” says McGregor. “She just looked like she was sleeping under the quilt that I made for her.”

McGregor has been making quilts for nearly half her life. She started quilting on her own in 1985, and for the last 20 years has been part of a local group whose quilts are sent around the world.

The Romanian Quilters, as McGregor, Betty Millar, Shirley Johnson, Sandy St. Denis, Ina Infeld and Catherine Filbert are called for the quilts they’ve sent to Romanian orphanages, meet once a week during the school year at the First Baptist Church where they can make a finished product in two to three hours.

While other members also practise knitting or sewing, McGregor is a quilt loyalist.

Her grandmother quilted, although she never saw her work because the door to the sewing room would always close to children during visits. McGregor once sewed clothes for herself and her children.

“But once I started quilting I never sewed another pair of pyjamas,” she says. “And they’re not award-winning quilts. They’re made to please me and they’re made to keep people warm.”

McGregor estimates she has made 70 to 80 bed-sized quilts, each one of which can take her two months to a year to complete.

That’s because quilting requires commitment. Quilts are fabric jigsaw puzzles, painstakingly put together, meant to be used by generations as keepsakes, memories, an embrace from the past.

If McGregor ever saw one of her quilts in a thrift store, she said, she would be mortified. Her favourite quilt, which she made in the late 1980s or early 1990s, remains in perfect condition.

“Somebody told me never put yellow on white because the yellow won’t show up. I did it anyway. And I love that quilt. It’s on my bed right now.”

Last year Nelson Jubilee Manor contacted the Romanian Quilters with a request they hadn’t heard before. The longterm seniors care facility wanted an honour quilt.

Rose Anderson, activities co-ordinator at Nelson Jubilee, said staff had been considering what more they could do for palliative patients.

One of their initiatives is what they call the pal cart, a small trolley provided to families staying with patients in their final moments. The trolley has items such as candles, a tea kettle, toothpaste, blankets, a CD with calming music — whatever they think will relieve grief.

Anderson said she got the idea for the quilt after reading about a facility in America that does an honour guard whenever a patient leaves. A quilt draped over a patient who has passed away, she reasoned, might add some dignity to their death.

“We just thought that would be a really nice symbol to acknowledge our residents,” says Anderson.

Anderson reached out to her former neighbour, McGregor, who remembered how she felt seeing a quilt covering her mother and was enthusiastic about the project.

After some consideration the Romanian Quilters used design blocks made Audrey Stevenson, another local quilter who passed away in 2018. McGregor wanted a quilt that was calm, no bright colours, and settled on a blue and white theme.

The quilt was completed in June. Soon it will be taken to Nelson Jubilee Manor, where it will provide one final comfort to people who lived, loved and passed away.

“It’s going to be such a beautiful surprise when we see it,” said Anderson.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Death

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read