Just off Business 301 and situated both south and east of Little Cokey Swamp on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, sits Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
It was the church my cousins Robert and David attended with their compatriots at the board and care where they had lived for the last eight and eight-and-half years, respectively, and it was a community where, despite my cousins’ atypical neurology, they were accepted and seen as completely human.
So this Saturday, my family and I traveled along interstates, small city streets, and country roads to make our way to this spot where we came together with others who had known and loved them to both mark their passing and celebrate their lives.
This service was why I had been working so feverishly on the boho hearts. I had wanted to use them to make memorial medallions of sorts: two hearts each on a length of ribbon.
To that end, I stayed up late Friday weaving in ends and got up early on Saturday to continue my work.
On the way to the service, my husband drove while I worked to finish the boho heart medallions as I had envisioned them. Using the hearts I had recently completed along with the hearts that had been in this box:
I threaded lengths of ribbon through the hearts and then tied the ends of the ribbon together in a secure knot.
There was no time to get a group photo of them all, but here is a picture of what remained:
My efforts were not in vain; the hearts were well received, and the service was extraordinary.
My mother had requested upbeat gospel music, and to say that the choir delivered on her request does not fully convey the beauty and heartfelt expression of joy that the members of the choir put forth.
Several people in addition to the minister spoke, and to a person, they remembered my cousins kindly; I was grateful that after many decades of not having anywhere to be where they were accepted as fully human, my cousins had truly found a home.
After a sit down lunch that my cousin David would no doubt have enjoyed, we made our way home, spent, but also renewed.
So this afternoon, when I had recovered from my late night and early morning and gotten some laundry done, I surveyed the boho hearts I had yet to finish:
got out my yarn and my hook and spent what remained of the afternoon on my back deck, completing the third round of as many hearts as possible:
I have some ideas for how I will repurpose the hearts that remain, but I have not yet settled on one.
As for my cousins, among all of the lessons I have learned over the past nine years that I have supported my mother as she has overseen their care, one of the most important is this: sometimes it is good that we do not recognize the enormity of a project that we are taking on, because we might lose the courage to do it, when truly, no matter the size of a given task, we can only ever move forward one step (or one stitch) at a time.