My friend R’s sister died in 1993 after a too-brief battle with ovarian cancer at the age of 25. After her sister’s death, R began sleeping on her sister’s pillowcase and continued to do so right up until this fall, when the last pillowcase she had finally disintegrated.
When I saw R post on Facebook in November that she couldn’t sleep and needed someone to make pillowcases from the sheets. Normally, I won’t do anything that resembles “chore” sewing but I’ve known R my entire adult life and I know how close she was to her sister. I couldn’t help but say I’d help. Within three days, I had a box in my hands with a full-size set of sheets.
I quickly pressed and measured the flat sheet to calculate how many pillowcases I could make from it, then cut and sewed two, boxed and shipped them the same day. I then had to set aside the project until after I wrapped up work on a big deadline that was looming over me, a guilty feeling nagging at me as the fabric sat untouched for a few weeks.
The holidays took us to R’s little corner of the world, so I made sure to finish the delayed project because I could deliver the remaining pillowcases in person. Between the two sheets, I was able to make nine pillowcases — enough to give R a lifetime of peaceful sleep. From the larger scraps that remained, I made a small throw pillow and embroidered it was a single R, the initial shared by my friend and her sister.