Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keeping Lives

At this time of year it's particularly difficult for folks who mark sad anniversaries. I didn't know it but my friend Carol Helmlinger is one such person. Last Thursday at the Crystal Coast Quilt Guild Christmas party, Carol served as the hostess and made sure the tables were set with festive placemats and that each table had a tree centerpiece. She led us in the singing of quilt-themed songs and made sure everyone got a little momento to take home. Mine was a funny grumpy snowman ornament that came packaged in a Santa sack along with a small bag of candies.                                                          

There was tons of good food at the dinner and we exchanged gifts and Christmas quilt blocks. Everbody went home happy and clutching some quilt-goodie gift.

This morning I stopped at the library to peruse the Raleigh News and Observer paper and was surprised to see Carol, the hostess with the mostest, featured in a sobering story. Carol is a Lifekeeper, a person who has promised to try and prevent suicides. She knows from experience. Today marks the 19th anniversary of her son John's suicide and she gave me permission to talk about it here.

To date Carol has made three Lifekeeper quilts. This one features John's picture on the second row left at the end. Carol says the surviving families find her and she'll keep on making quilts as long as they're needed.

Recently I also had an acquaintance commit suicide. Although not a family member, her passing troubled me deeply. Thank you Carol and all other supporters of the Suicide Prevention Action Network. The SPAN website www.spanusa.org is full of good information if you or someone you know should need it.

This is the last stanza of the Lifekeeper's Promise and serves as a reminder that we are truly our brother's keeper.

We are the Lifekeepers
Truth Bearers, Peace Seekers
We are the Wounded
We are the Healed
We are the Lifekeepers
Our commitment now sealed.


Alice Goldsmith said...

This time of year is difficult for me as a widow. My niece died i/12/09 in a house fire.
I loved her dearl and had no idea she was troubled. She was 52. So sad. Alice

Pepper Cory said...

Thanks for reading the blog and I hope that this year you'll find some solace and inspiration. Keep on quilting!

Carol Helmlinger said...

Thank you Pepper for a lovely story. I am always here for anyone needing support. I do have one small thing, my son's name was Richie. I am blessed to have had him for the 19 years. He is always in my heart and always a part of our family.
God Bless You!!
Hugs Carol

Pepper Cory said...

Hi Carol-Am trying to correct that mis-naming but having trouble. Sorry I got his name wrong-will correct as soon as I'm able!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Pepper. This is truly a lovely story and wonderful that your friend makes these meaningful quilts. December 22 will mark six years since I lost Clark and Christmas is always a particularly difficult time for Dusty and me. But we take a day, even a minute at a time. Christmas blessings on you and Rod. I read your blog every day and love it. Daisy