The children’s grief program at Catawba Regional Hospice recently received a new tool to help with the healing process – a memory quilt. Conceived by Elizabeth Arditti, CRH’s counselor specializing in children’s grief, the quilt was crafted by volunteer Donna Ludeman. Adorned with a series of heart-shaped appliqués on an intricately stitched field, the quilt features pockets in which children can tuck notes to loved ones who have passed away.
The notes can express thanks, voice regrets, acknowledge guilt, and communicate love. The first note placed in the quilt is intended to encourage each child to write more notes, helping them come to terms with their feelings. The quilt will also be used in adult grief sessions to promote journaling about loss and sorrow.
The quilt itself took more than 50 hours to produce and is a colorful tribute to traditional quilt-making techniques. Donna Ludeman has also created individual fabric hearts for children to include in the memory boxes they put together with CRH grief counselors. The hearts are treasured by the children, who take comfort in them when remembering their loved ones.
The creativity and artistry exhibited by Ludeman’s work is exceptional, according to Elizabeth Arditti: “The quilt is astounding. It is a work of art and a work of love. I don’t think I have ever seen anything more beautifully done. It’s a gift to the children we serve, and we’re delighted by Donna’s incredible efforts. Volunteers like her are the reason we’re able to do so much of what we do – for children and for the community at large.”