Several months back I found some information on The Mother's Day Project. I probably stumbled on it on someone's blog but I can't remember where. The project was started by Anne Landry and I loved the simplicity of the project and the heartfelt redirecting of so many emotions that come when we are in a situation, like war, that seems so alltogether frustrating and sad. The thing that has also really struck me as odd and particularly sad about the situation we are in now, is that you can go days or weeks or months without being affected directly by the war and so people seem to simply forget what is going on a world away. How many children, or those who don't watch the news or read the papers even know there is a war going on? The original idea of this project was to have volunteer stitchers embroider the names of female coalition members who have lost their lives in Iraq. It was not intended to exclude others who have also lost their lives but it was a place to start. We received printed muslin in the mail with the name of a woman on it. We were then to embroider the name and send it back to Anne with the intention of all the names later being sewn onto a tote bag that would circulate around to all the stitchers. A catalyst for conversation and an object for concious recognition of the lost loved ones. As it has evolved and the names have been coming in, Anne writes on the blog that the sacredness of what this piece is becoming no longer feels appropriate embodied in a tote bag. That the piece has now evolved into a memorial and so she is thinking about what form it will take. It is a wonderful project and I am thankful that Anne thought of it and put it out there so that we could participate.
The name I received was Jakia Sheree Cannon. The first thing I did was to google her name to try and find out a little more about her. She was only 20. One of the articles talked about how she sang in the ship's choir. She died of a lung obstruction while on board. Her Uncle was going to be on the same ship in another month's time but she died before he got there. I have a picture in my head from what I could find about her, of a sweet young girl who loved her family and loved to sing.
Sitting there stitching her name had the kid's asking what I was doing. We sat down and talked a long time about who she was and the fact that she is one of many many people who have died during this war. It is hard to know what to tell the kids about war and how much of my own angry opinions I should keep to myself, but we could all talk about the fact that she was no longer here and that even though her family must be very proud of her, they must really really miss her.