Chippewa Falls resident Jan Zutter loves to quilt. It is her hobby and her business.
So when she was approached by staff to help do the quilt top for Mayo Clinic Health System-Eau Claire’s 2015 hospice remembrance quilt, she was quick to say yes.
“I try to help the quilt tell the story, bring out the theme of the quilt top,” Zutter said.
With the hospital’s remembrance quilt, it came naturally. Zutter lost her own mother to cancer several years ago, and said that motivated her to want to be involved with this quilt.
“It’s a really meaningful way to remember those loved one that went through so much,” she said.
Each year since 1993, Mayo Clinic has had a quilt made featuring the names of deceased loved ones who chose to live the remainder of their days with the support of hospice. The 2015 quilt, which was completed in December, will be on display throughout the year at various Mayo Clinic locations monthly, including the Chippewa Falls location at 611 First St. in May.
It features the names of 520 patients and families touched by hospice services.
Sandi Peterson, Mayo Clinic’s home health and hospice department assistant and creator of the quilt design, said that number is startling to most people when they see the quilt.
“People are often shocked, and the next question is, ‘is it just one year?’,” Peterson said. “Yes, that was that many families we helped on that final journey.”
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Roughly. Peterson said they do ask the families’ permission before putting their loved ones names on the quilt, out of respect for privacy.
This year’s theme, “On the Wings of a Dove,” was inspired by an old song Peterson loved and mental images of a sun’s rays and doves, which eventually became the quilt.
“I had this image in my mind, I could just see it,” Peterson said. “It’s just a way of saying we remember this person had loved ones, had a life.”
Peterson said she’s worked on previous quilts, but this is the first one she was “totally involved” in each stage. She asked a friend of hers to do paper piecing and appliqueing, Carol Ellsworth did the text embroidery and Zutter completed the quilting.
The team effort that went into the quilting also reminded her of the team effort that goes into hospice care.
“When a patient comes into the hospice program it isn’t just him or her, it’s their family, therapists, nurses, home health aids, spiritual care and social workers that all help with that journey,” she said.
Along with the quilt hanging, the clinic provides a pamphlet that tells viewers how the names are laid out, by month, and shares information about the program.
There will be a formal unveiling at the Eau Claire location, 1221 Whipple St., in November.
“There’s a journey families take through the grief process after loved ones have passed, and this quilt, for some, is part of the healing process,” she said.