Tear Drops On My Sewing Machine

by This is Carrie on March 29, 2012

I’ll never forget the moment I found out about the tragic death of my girlfriend, Erin’s, little boy.  There was an overwhelming sense of helplessness as I scrambled to figure out how to ease her pain as well as manage my own.

While it may have been the most emotionally challenging sewing project I’ve ever taken on, I am so glad she asked me to work on her baby’s burial outfit, turning it from a size 2T to a size 15m.  For a “mama’s touch,” I asked her to write down his name so I could embroidered it in her handwriting on his little pant leg.  I wish I could say that with every stitch, my heart started mending, but I can’t. It just broke even more. No mama should ever have to lose her baby.

While I still scramble to lighten the load of this loss, it is Erin and her family who have taught me how.  Their faith and courage during this nightmare has been inspiring to everyone around them.

At the funeral, James’ grandmother shared a beautiful poem that Erin wrote years ago.  With her permission, I want to share it with you. The passing of Sweet Baby James has changed me for the better and I hope for the long run.  There will always be a list, just make sure the most important things are at the top.

The List

by Erin Hamilton Mason

There’s a list on my table
of things to be done,
there is laundry to fold,
and errands to run,
a letter of thanks
I’ve been meaning to write,
a stack of old papers
to put out of sight,
there is dinner to plan,
I should get to the store,
but I still haven’t showered,
and it’s almost four,
the weeds must be picked,
the furniture dusted,
the vacuuming done,
the sprinklers adjusted,
the dishes are piling
quite high in the sink,
and the printer for days
has been flashing “low ink”,
the car is on empty,
the milk’s almost gone,
the light I just changed
in the hall won’t turn on,
there are phone calls to make,
there are bills still to pay,
my body is willing,
and yet kept at bay
by the sweet little angel,
his face softly glowing,
who dreams in my arms,
without even knowing
the peace that he brings me,
how heaven draws near,
and things of eternity
all become clear:
that I am a mother,
my calling divine,
of highest importance
in the grand design,
and though obligations
and chores can’t be missed,
holding my baby
is first on my list.


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison March 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm

My heart aches for your friend Erin and all who are mourning. You are so kind to create something special for them. Thanks for sharing the beautiful poem and the reminder of what really matters


Amy March 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I don’t think I could have said it any better than Alison wrote, above. I have tears streaming down my face for a family I’ve never met. The poem was beautiful and so true.


Deborah March 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

How truly heart-breaking. They will be in our prayers tonight, sincerely. It could be any of us at any time–let’s hope we all can grab tight to those best moments when we are given the chance. What a tremendous gift you have given that family with your sewing–I am sure it meant a great deal to them, and will bring them comfort when they tell his story over the years.


Janell March 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Oh that makes my heart hurt! What a beautiful poem – ever a reminder not to take one single moment for granted.


melanie March 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm

When my sister’s son died at just three days old, my other sister, my mom, and I sewed for his burial. I crocheted a white blanket on my six hour flight across the country, pausing to sob into it as I went. My mother sewed a beautiful romper while my sister and I cut apart his mother’s wedding dress and sewed a casket liner and pillow for his coffin. It was a sacred, special job that bound the three of us together in our grief for my sister and nephew. We love to create and using our talents to make something so personal and special for our nephew/grandson was such an honor and so heartbreaking at the same time. My mom kept putting the romper down, putting off sewing on buttons, unwilling to finish the only thing she would sew for Justin. Your friend is in my prayers. Tears on my laptop…


March 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I’m so sorry.

It would comfort me to know that a friend took such painful and painstaking measures to create such a personal garment for my child.


Britney L. March 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I just found your blog through Tip Junkie. I read this post and cried for your friend and cried even more over this beautiful poem. Thank you for this post.


Shaunna March 30, 2012 at 12:49 am

What a beautiful gift you were able to share with Erin and her family. Thank you for sharing her poem. I think of them often, and pray for them daily.


kage March 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

When did she write that…..so perfect for the occasion. Having been with you during the news of this sad event, I know how much it affected you then….you are a great friend.


Guinevere March 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

I know Erin, and mourned that I didn’t know how to help her. I’m glad you were able to show her the love that so many others were feeling.


Rebecca March 30, 2012 at 10:59 am

What a perfect poem. So sorry for this family.


amanda March 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm

thank you so much for sharing. we just attended the funeral service today for close friends of ours who lost their eight year old daughter in a boating accident. The saddest experience in our lives. Her two year old sister said “La- la up in the sky?” and our friend, mother said “yes she’s up in the sky” as she touched the casket one last time then turned to walk down the hill in the cemetery. Thank you for taking the time to share this poem. A good reminder for us all that get wrapped up in the day to day “to do” list. Thank you.


Sara March 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm

It’s amazing how it’s such a small world. Thanks for sharing this story. I actually served in the same mission as the Masons…my first day was Erin’s last. I got word when they lost their little one and have been inspired by their faith and perseverance. What a wonderful service you provided for them in a time when they needed something they never thought they’d stand in need of.


jonita mortensen April 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Just needed to let you how touched I was with the poem. I remember the times I felt so overwhelmed with so much to do that it was hard to keep my priorities in place. I would have tacked that poem on my mirror and read it every day.


April 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I am touched by your tender act. May your friend find some comfort by being surrounded by people as kind as you.


Zoe May 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I’ve just found your blog threw searching for sewing tutorials. You are truly an inspiration and after reading this post, I am deeply touched. The poem brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. It is so utterly true. I’m taking that message as a reminder to myself and going to hold my baby soon as I get home. THANK YOU.


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Molly March 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

I sat today with a my little babe in my arms and, being a mother of four, pondered the overwhelming amount of things that needed to be done while also noting how unusually tired baby was. I struggled with that very idea of putting her down and waking her up even though I knew it would be best to let her have some extra sleep in my arms (the place she always seems to sleep best). It is no coincidence that I just happened across this tender poem in that moment. Needless to say I did indeed hold my tiny one while she slept deeply. The Lord works through the hands of others. Thank you to the writer and thank you to the poster. I will share this with other mothers.


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