Not everyone can say that their mom was their best friend, but I can. I think back to how incredibly lucky I was to have her as my mom and it makes me smile. We spoke on the phone or saw each other every day. Being with my mom was like being in the most comfortable place one can imagine. She was HOME for me. Please see the bottom of this page for a special message to me from Mom. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in November of 2005. I (and my three siblings) kind of became her mom as the disease progressed. We made sure she was healthy and happy. Making her smile was always a highlight of our visits.
Alice Figueira, my beautiful mom, passed away on May 29, 2011 (to see her obituary, click here) from Alzheimer's disease. While my mom was in the midst of her disease I knit her a beautiful sage green blanket. Throughout the years that blanket provided her with warmth and comfort. Countless times I would visit her and she had the blanket on her and her fingers were intertwined in the stitches. It not only provided comfort in it giving her warmth, but also keeping her hands busy. Over the years it moved from her recliner to her lap when she was in a wheelchair and then ultimately to her bed. After Mom passed away I wanted to help others who suffer from this dreadful disease. I knew that I wanted to start an organization to gather people who knit and crochet and ask them to create lap blankets and prayer shawls. One Saturday afternoon I had my siblings over for a day to go through Mom's belongings. I told them what I wanted to do and that I needed to come up with a name for it. Mom was such a loving person. And her smile - oh what a smile. She smiled with her whole face! So we came up with some ideas that had to do with her smile and her kindness, but after a lot of different names were thrown out - someone said Alice's Embrace and that was it - we didn't need to go further after that....it was just perfect. These handmade items that will be provided to those suffering from Alzheimer's disease will be a hug or embrace from Mom. In a way - it's her way of saying....it's okay. Everything will be fine.
This is an exciting endeavor and it could not have come to fruition without the amazing help of Danielle Bowen. Danielle and I worked on creating the patterns to be used especially for Alice's Embrace. She played an integral role in putting the knit patterns together. I will be forever thankful for all of her help and support with getting Alice's Embrace off the ground.
We make deliveries to entire memory care facilities. If the facility has 20 residents, we bring 40 items. We really want each resident to be able to choose their own special gift. We place all of the Alice's Embrace hand-crafted items on a large table. To make it easier for the residents to choose their item, we have "Lap Blankets" and "Prayer Shawls" labels under the pertinent pile. After they choose their gift, we write their name on the Alice's Embrace label - that way they know it is theirs to keep. Our deliveries have provided lap blankets and prayer shawls to many, many deserving people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Along with a variety of photos, the Gallery shows some pictures of very happy recipients of Alice's Embrace items. It is very exciting to see that what we are doing is bringing so much joy.
I have a soft spot in my heart for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I know that his or her old self is still inside - even if just a little bit. It seems that Alzheimer's is affecting more and more families. I feel that there is a need to provide this warmth and comfort and Alice's Embrace will do just that. With your help, we can make this sad, frustrating illness cause a little less pain and anxiety. Please take a look at the patterns and yarn suggestions and make something special for someone who will be forever grateful.
**Below is a very special voicemail I received from my mom. It was the last one left on my cell phone about four years before she passed away. You can tell she struggles with her thoughts until it comes to speaking from her heart....and then it just flows. Just hearing her voice helped me through difficult times and this message will be forever treasured.