Friends and Family

boxing the pain

When we were back in Kipling this fall, we went with my Grandparents to church. Although it’s been a while since I made time to go to any church, the only time I really go into a Roman Catholic Church is when I am at home.

Kipling Church Fabric Mural by Faye Muscoby

The last time I was in the Kipling church it was for my Great Gramma’s funeral almost 5 years ago. I didn’t even realize that fact until I was sitting in the pew, looking around at all the familiar statues and stained glass windows. My Great Gramma’s parents built that church starting in our homestead barn with only a few members; the small humble building built with the hands of all the parishioners. Until the day she died that was my Great Gramma’s real home. She knew every inch of that church. She retired into a duplex just down the street, but walked down every few days to clean and take care of the church. She was a very important part of the Sunday Mass. Everyone in that town knew my Great Gramma.

That Sunday this fall with my Grandparents, my brother and my mother, I remembered and reflected while the organ player roughly played a hymn. I bit my lip to bite back the tears. I choked. My Grampa beside me, mumbling the hymn with a familiarity that I will never know, had no idea I was, at that point, dying inside because his mother left this world too soon at 98 years old. Though I knew it was imminent, I never wanted her to leave us. I never talk about her now; just the thought of her makes me swell up with pain. Even writing this I can’t see my keyboard or the monitor; my body aches with a sadness that I try to bury every single day. And I hate that. I hate that feeling with all my heart. I want to be able to talk about her, to remember her for the wonderful person she was, but the sadness I feel turns to pain. Then it turns to anger because she’s no longer sending cards to her entire family on every occasion. Anger that she’s no longer praying daily for her family. And just who is praying for us now? All I wanted to do was run out of that church and cry until I was dry. But I didn’t. I couldn’t move; I was paralyzed with pain.

I’m glad I stayed. I listened. I thought and remembered my Great Gramma. It’s not over yet; the pain and anger I feel when I think of her is still there, but that was an important step for me to take. To stay and feel it for a while. To recognize it and not box it, just for a moment.

Kipling Church Fabric Mural by Faye Muscoby

I stared at the murals my Aunt Faye lovingly made and wondered how to get past this all. I’m not sure time heals. It’s been 5 years almost and although I’m not a blathering idiot everyday about the loss of my Great Gramma, the pain I feel when I do allow myself a moment is still there. It’s still as huge as it was when I spoke at her funeral and then laid a rose on her casket. I feel twinges of it even in my car when I finger the rosary that she gave me that hangs from my rear view mirror.

This post was supposed to be about the murals, so I’ll end with that. My Aunt Faye, my Grampa’s brother’s wife, made my Great Gramma so happy and proud when these murals arrived for her church. I thank God those murals are too big to be boxed up.

Faye Muscoby has a passion for fabric. The seeds of this life-long love affair were sown in the prairie soil of Saskatchewan, where as a farm girl she watched the women in her life create works of function and beauty from the materials at hand.

“My mother and grandmother were incredible seamstresses,” says Muscoby, 66. “I distinctly remember when I was three years old, helping make quilts out of men’s old suits for the soldiers in the trenches in World War Two. Those quilting bees were the Prairie farm woman’s therapy, and I learned that fabric can be a very powerful medium.”

“I build them from the inside out, layering the fabric to give it dimension,” she says. “The big ones must be all hand-stitched, and every individual section is outlined with black cord to give it depth. The fabric determines the shape of the mountain or the rock or the waterfall — fabric can be extremely bossy, and I’ve found out that you can’t fight it.”

Meticulous hand painting with fabric paints is the final touch.

Muscoby’s work is displayed in homes and institutions across Canada. She has produced more than 750 tapestries and banners.

Article: Fabric artist reaps what she sews – Calgary Herald

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  1. What a great post, Tina.


  2. I know that kind of hurt. Beautiful post.

    My family helped build a church too, in the middle of nowhere, Saskatchewan. It makes me feel the same way when I visit.

  3. What a moving post. You made me feel it too, and made me stop and ponder moment when I’ve had reflection and took the time to realize the value and importance of people—and places—around me. Awesome post.

    What an amazing history you have, and to be able to just walk into it and be surrounded by it!

    Using My Words

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