Daughter's memory lives on through special quilt

Published: Dec. 24, 2018 at 5:12 PM CST
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An Omaha mother will be spending Christmas without her daughter for the first time.

Nicollena Cabello Hartzell died earlier this year, but her mother did all she could to make sure her memory will be there with the family this holiday season.

Sandy Cabello collected dozens of pictures of her daughter Nicollena. Her baby picture, here graduation pictures and a picture of her when she joined the army.

There's one pictures that has extra special meaning. It's a picture of Nicollena and her dog lying on a blanket.

"Her grandma, it's my mom, made (it for) her when she was little, and she would carry that blanket all over the place with her, even though it was shredded to pieces, she still had it with here," Cabello said.

Nicollena passed away suddenly in April at just 33 years old.

"I still won't accept that she's gone. I mean, I look at her pictures, I talk to here every day. The phone rings every day and I think it's her," Cabello said.

The blanket Nicollena's grandma made for her may be in shreds, but its special meaning was almost lost when Cabello's husband cleaned out some of his daughter's things.

"He goes, 'Honey, it's no good. Can't you see this blanket was shredded to pieces?' She would tell me, 'Mom, I love his blanket so much mom. And I don't care how old it gets.' She said, 'I'm going to keep this blanket.' And that's one thing I want to do in memory of her. I've had to do some cutting around the holes and stuff like that," Cabello said.

Quiltmaster Connie Rose was hired to save some of the blanket and all of the memories.

She used pieces of the old blanket and pictures. Most notably, the picture showing Nicollena and her dog on the blanket.

"That's part of a memory quilt is that you use what was there an enhance it somehow, so that's its relative now," Rose said.

The finished quilt and saved memories mean the world to Nicollena's mother.

"Nicollena, she was a very loving person, and that blanket, I know that blanket meant a lot to her," Cabello said.

The mother plans to frame the quilt and hang it on the wall.