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.

12 Replies to “Closer”

  1. Mary, that is so sweet and generous! I lost a high school classmate this week and just read her sister’s tribute – a tear filled morning it is! I bet R loved the pillowcases and will treasure them. Such a good friend you are!

  2. What a great idea! I bet your friend appreciated your commitment. She must think highly of you to send you the precious sheets – good job! This is just so sweet!

  3. How very kind and touching. I hope your friend is able to sleep well again. I can imagine how she will cherish those pillow cases her entire life.

  4. I’m ashamed to say that it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to do that- what a great project and somehow I imagine that making something so personal for a friend in pain must be cathartic for you as well.

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