custom framing a handkerchief in memory of a mothers children

What are we framing this week? Out of tragedy comes beauty.

This is a difficult piece to write about, but I wanted to share this particular treasure with you during the holiday season.

As a professional picture framer, there are many times people bring us treasures that evoke the deepest of emotions.

This particular piece was created by a mother who lost three of her children in a fire in July, 1957, and a fourth child in 2007. She created the original piece from a handkerchief. She picked the embroidered butterfly emblems to signify the souls of her young children set free.  She sewed them to the handkerchief, and each year, when she visited their grave, she would bring the handkerchief with her.  As the years passed, the handkerchief was folded and refolded, sometimes being stained by the flowers she brought, or a cup of coffee she sipped as she talked to her children.

When she lost her fourth child, she reconfigured the handkerchief, adding the fourth butterfly.

This year, she decided she was ready to have the handkerchief framed for a permanent display in her home. Budget was a real concern, so we used a frame from our value line collection, sewed the handkerchief to a preservation board, mounted it to a fabric in the mother’s favorite color, and used a spacer on the glass to keep the glass from resting on the handkerchief.

The day she picked up the framed piece, she was on her way to the cemetery with her remaining children for a small ceremony commemorating a new headstone marking the resting place. The framed handkerchief was part of the ceremony.         

This mothers’ tribute to her children, however simple, reminds me of the enormous love a mother has for her children. As we begin the holiday season, where we commemorate the birth of another Child, let us take a moment to remember how great love can be, and how love can transcend the worst circumstances, to bring us hope in our lives.