I am working on my Mother’s Day Project name. I got the name from project founder Anne earlier this week, and it’s surprising what just a name can evoke. The name of the woman I am to memorialize in stitchery is “Debra Banaszak.” The first name is spelled like my 4 year old niece’s middle name. Her middle name is in honor of her mother’s sister, who passed away nearly 10 years ago — one of the most vibrant and amazing women I’ve ever met.
Anne’s letter that accompanied the muslin cloth with the name on it suggested we do a little research about our person. So I did a Google search, and learned that Debra had died in 2005. She was a 1st Lieutenant, and worked for the Air Force’s 1035th maintenance battalion that had been stationed in Kuwait at Camp Victory. She hailed from Bloomington, IL, and was 35 years old. She apparently died of “non-combat related injuries,” but apparently they had to launch an investigation into why she died because at the time little was known (or said).
Debra had a then-15 year old son, Mark. He chose to put sunflowers in her casket “because that was what she liked best.” Someone else said her entire kitchen was done in sunflowers.
Debra was also, it seems, single minded and very strong willed. Someone not to be deterred; intent on accomplishing the goal, whatever that goal may be. Sounds like a very good person to have around. I feel for her son, but he has inspired me.
Anne had said in her letter that we could add something in stitchery to our name if we wanted, but that it would be used perhaps elsewhere in the design. I took that to mean that if I embellished the name with some sunflowers and perhaps a wrench, that they might not show up right around the name. Which is fine. I’m not sure what Anne has in mind there, but I felt that it was worth asking her if I could add a sunflower and a wrench, but could I do it in cross-stitch fabric rather than the muslin? My hand stitching is awful, so any help or guidelines via fabric is always helpful and appreciated. I didn’t want to mess up Anne’s design, though, by introducing a new medium, so I wrote and asked if it was alright. She graciously gave me permission, and I found a sunflower pattern this evening, and am looking for a wrench pattern, although I think I could figure it out on my own if I have to.
And so the tribute stitchery for 1st LT Debra Banaszak continues. It makes me proud, sad, inspired and happy all at once.