The Story of a Quilt: Stitching together Love and Loss

Patricia “Patti” Verdel

A blanket can acquire history very quickly. It can be a newborn’s comfort or a family’s heirloom.  When Patricia “Patti” Verdel passed away at Hospice, her family donated a beautiful quilt.  Despite being crafted decades ago, the quilt looked brand new.  It was a deeply-personal and meaningful memento of a woman’s life and its threads are now woven with Patti’s memory, where her story will live on.

Patti passed away peacefully on February 7 after a stunningly short battle with cancer at the age of 72.  “As a family, we hesitated to take her to hospice.  We wanted to keep her home,” said one of Patti’s sisters, Lynne Mitchell.  However, Patti insisted on coming to St. Joseph’s Hospice.  “We are all very glad we followed her wishes”.

During her short stay in Hospice, Patti found peace and comfort in the holistic care provided at Hospice.  “Everyone was so kind to Patti—Dr. Cohen, the nurses and personal support workers.  All the staff appeared to anticipate her every need,” Lynne said.  Patti especially enjoyed bath times at the Hospice.  “It was spa-like…darkened room, bubbles, music—heavenly.”

For Patti’s family, to spend their final days together just enjoying one another’s company was priceless.

Patti worked for a short time as a teacher, but switched careers and spent 30 years working at London Life Insurance where she fostered lifelong friendships.  Her family fondly recalled that most mornings Patti and her husband, John, would take their rescue dog, Bella, to Tim Hortons for a Timbit.  Patti enjoyed life’s simple things: lazy summer days, a crossword puzzle shared with John, a meal spent with family or friends.  Visits from son Sean or grandsons Jack, Craig and Luke were a highlight of any day.  She was a very proud mother and grandmother who reveled in their achievements and loved them deeply.

Patti was very close with her sisters Lynne, Laurie and Denise and sister-in-law Sandra and the five of them regularly met for trips to fashion shows, theatre, live music shows, road trips and dinners out: “sister suppers”.  “Patti’s quick wit and finely tuned sense of humour helped make these occasions memorable.  Laughter was ever-present when Patti was in the room.  Even in Hospice, in the most difficult of situations, Patti found reasons to laugh,” her family recalled.

The quilt that Patti’s family leaves behind in her honour is a beautiful mauve star pattern and it was made by a family friend’s grandmother. It is estimated to have been made in the 1960s.  Quilting groups were quite common among women at that time and a regular way of meeting to socialize.  The quilt is mostly hand-stitched, which is a rare commodity today.  It has never been used and was stored in a bag, waiting for the right reason to continue its journey.

As Patti’s family continues their journey, we thank them for their generous and very meaningful gift to Hospice.  This quilt has many stories woven into it, and Patti’s legacy lives on in those threads.  The quilt will be used in an upcoming St. Joseph’s Hospice auction, and the story of Patti Verdel and her family will be included with its provenance.