A Year


It’s been a year today since my Bobo past away.

I remember my SIL and nephew were over. A 250 area code number that I didn’t recognize displayed on my phone. I ignored it and continued on with talking with my SIL.

Then I had a sick feeling. What if….

The number popped up on my display again.

It was my Aunt Carma. I asked if she was calling with bad news. “I am sweet girl.” My heart broke. Shattered. But thinking back, I’m happy she’s the one who called me. “Sweet girl.” My Aunt Carma might be the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful person. “Sweet girl.” I’m happy she made the call.

Two of my siblings and myself had made a promise that we would be the ones to tell each other when it happened. I abandoned life. Thankfully my SIL was there to take over my own children. I don’t remember, but I’m pretty sure she fed them lunch and handled the every day life things for a few hours while my own mind and heart were spiralling out of control.

I called my husband first. I don’t even remember where he was. Work? I don’t remember. I just needed to hear his voice first.

Mel was already in Kelowna. Mel went back to the island right after our conversation.

Sarah was called as well. Was she at work? Getting ready for work? The calls are a haze.

I felt awful having to tell Mel and Sarah. But it was our promise to do so. Whoever got the call first would call the others.

I remember trying to call my godmother, Kathy, a handful of times, and cursing my phone whenever it sent me to voicemail.

I told my children. Danica cried. River didn’t understand. Elle especially didn’t understand. My heart, which I thought had already shattered, became dust. I had nothing left.

I felt numb. I remember not grieving, truly grieving, until after the funeral. I had to be strong. Strong for Mel. Strong for Sarah. Strong for Danica, River and Elle. Danny was strong for me. He’s was my rock. Strong. Solid.

A year has past. A year today. It feels longer. And shorter. All at the same time. Every once and awhile it hits me that she is gone. Sometimes I forget.

My Bobo was many things to many people. I think volumes could be written about her. About our feelings for her. Our memories. Her life.

To sum her up in one word, I’d choose “Amazing.”

As a child I loved to watch her sew. And even though she liked to remind me that I also handed her back every dress she made me, telling her it was a “reject,” she truly is my sewing inspiration. I don’t have the best relationship with my own parents, but I will thank them for seeing the interest I took in my Bobo’s sewing and enrolling me in sewing lessons from the age of 8 until or 12 or 13.

Before she’d past she’d asked me if I wanted her dresses. She made all of her own, and she figured I could use the fabric from them. My Grandpa brought me some of her dresses that summer. He pointed out which one he thought was the first she’d made. He picked one up, held it close, and smelt it. He commented he was hoping that it still smelt like her. I bawled. That might have been the moment my emotions started coming out. That visit from my Grandpa when he’d brought my Bobo’s dresses and a collection of her sewing supplies. That was when it all hit me.

I’ve studied her dresses. Studied the ones she made for the girls. Studied the started dresses that she’ll never get to finish. The technique. She truly was amazing. No short cuts.

I hate to hand stitch. She hand stitched her pieces. She hand stitched running stitches. Hand stitched basting stitches. Hand stitched the bodice lining to the inside of the skirt, so that the stitching was only visible from the inside and not the outside.

She loved decorative stitches. Her own dresses were all the same basic dress. She fancied them up with beautiful decorative stitches. Metallic threads. Fine fabrics. Fabrics that would leave my home covered in glitter, sequins, and all manner of sparkle long after she’d returned home from visiting us. I’m sure Danny found one of her sequins on our couch not long ago. Even in her 70’s she loved a little “bling.” She was beautiful. Even in her 70’s. She was beautiful.





She made herself dresses and my Grandfather bow ties. They matched. It was the cutest.


I think of her whenever I sew. Whenever I’m in my sewing room. Whenever I smell spray starch. Why is that? Whenever the girls wear one of the dresses she made them. It’s not a bad thing. I’m not dwelling. Just, taking a second to keep her in my heart and mind. When I miss her I sit in my sewing room for a second. Look around at the little cards with her picture on them. When I’m having trouble with my sewing, I ask her out loud what she would do. When I’m having the worst of days as a mother, I silently ask her to forgive me for not being the perfect mother and to help me out a little bit. She may be gone from this earth, but she lives on in the everyday.

20140401-124346.jpg Photo source.

I contemplated what I could sew today to honor her. Yesterday I took her dresses out of hiding and hung them up. My girls “helped.” Mostly they just picked their favourites, tried them on, and played in them. Instead of sewing to honor that part of her, and that connection we share, I’ve decided to honor her in another way, through a different connection.



We were both mothers. As I plunk this out on my iPhone, River is cuddled into me, taking over one side of my body and immobilizing one arm. Elle is standing in front of me, her head on my knee, her hand folding my fingers. She doesn’t want up to cuddle. Just wants to be close to me. Danica is sitting on the other couch, stretched out in her own space. Today I’ll honor the mother side of Bobo by giving my own children a few more hugs and a little more patience today. And some golden double stuffed Oreos with breakfast. Because we can.

Some photos from Christmas 2013. Our last visit together.







About manningthemachine

I'm Laura. Mama to four, and wife to one awesome guy. I'm ever so slightly sarcastic. Just a little bit. I like to quote movies, but since our house is managed by little people, most of those quotes come from kiddie shows. At least my husband generally gets the references. It makes me feel less awkward. I took sewing lessons starting at the age of 8, through the Kids Can Sew program. I took lessons for four or five years. Then I became a snotty teen and decided sewing was lame. I've repented of my ways, and enjoy sewing for my little ones. And sometimes other people. And almost never for myself. Oh hey. My blog name. "Manning The Machine." I think it's probably only funny if you know me in real life. And even then, maybe it is only funny to me. My last name is Manning. This is a blog about my sewing. Manning The (Sewing) Machine. Do you get it? Do you? No. That's fine. I think it's funny even if you don't.
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17 Responses to A Year

  1. Katrina says:

    A beautiful post. She was obviously a very special women.


  2. Such a touching post. I love that your daughters are able to play in her dresses and through them she lives on a little bit as they give the dresses she handmade new life.


  3. Karen Palmberg says:

    A beautiful tribute to your Bobo, Laura.


  4. Susan Page says:

    That’s a beautiful tribute, Laura. Oreos for breakfast & relaxing with kids is the very best way to honor your Bobo on this important day. She’d be very proud of who you are–creative, intelligent, funny–and how you use those gifts to make a home for your growing family.


  5. Lester Ann says:

    Beautiful post, Laura. Your Bobo would be so proud of the mother you are and the sewing you do. She so wanted her grandchildren to follow in her footsteps and you are doing that. She always told me about her grandchildren, what you were doing, and her love for you was very evident. I can tell from your writing you are a lot like her. Enjoy and remember the things she taught you. She was a wonderful woman. I miss our monthly or so phone calls that used to last at least an hour. We used to have so much fun together. I know she is watching over you today and always.


    • Thank you Lester Ann. I’m glad she was proud of me. I just hope I don’t disappoint her. I hope I can even be a little bit like her. I just wish I could have learnt even more from her. She loved you too, so much.


    • She truly cared about everyone. I know on our phone calls she would tell me how all the cousins and aunts and uncles and great aunts and second cousins and everyone was doing. I don’t even know who half the people are, but she did, and she loved them all.


  6. .Albert Raponi says:

    You probably don’t know anything about me. But I spent a lifetime one day with your Bobo. She taught me more about life on that day than I can ever hope to represent. Your Grandfather, said “Have you finished talking yet because we are close to home?” We had talked about everything – I miss your Bobo. She was good to me. Your post has reminded me of how great a person she was. Thank you!


    • I feel like your last name is familiar to me. Like I’ve heard it before. She lived such an amazing life, didn’t she. I’m glad you got to spend a lifetime with her in that day. She had a lot of wisdom to share with the world. I miss her too. I’m glad my post reminded you of her, she truly was wonderful.


  7. Abbey Spittle says:

    Very nice Laura. I especially loved seeing those photos of her. I too think of her often. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We love you Bobo!


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