Farmers' Day has different meaning for Salisbury woman

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
Farmers’ Day, in its origin, is about remembering the past and honoring tradition. For Cindy Sipp, remembrance and honor has a different twist.
Sipp, a Salisbury resident, began designing quilts in 1990, when her children were small. In 2008, she made a quilt using the military uniform of her late son, Alex Thomas.
Farmers’ Day and other events around Rowan County allow Sipp the opportunity to show her quilting talents and remember her son.
Since then, Sipp has created eight “memory quilts” for those who have lost loved ones. Her quilts are composed of clothes from the departed.
She said it’s emotional, especially because some of them are for people she’s known for years.
“Every time you’ve lost a loved one, it’s a healing process,” Sipp said.
The first memory quilt Sipp made after her son’s memorial quilt was for a friend who lost her husband.
“I wrote that woman a note,” she said. “I knew what their Christmas would be like for her without him.”
For her, the quilt helps keep the memory of a lost loved one alive.
“It will help that family with their healing process,” Sipp said.
Sipp’s son, a marine and airframe mechanic, committed suicide in May 2008. According to Sipp, he attempted suicide before, but he was transfer to another unit. She said it was not notified of his mental state.
Sipp said the number of suicides among active-duty soldiers is too high.
“We need to find out why,” she said.
According to a U.S. Army report, 156 soldiers were suspected or confirmed suicide cases in 2010.
Sipp also cautioned young people considering suicide to seek help.
“It’s not a reset button. They don’t want to take the time to work through their problems,” Sipp said. “You can’t bring them back.”
Sipp is preparing to travel north to see family friends who have lost their son to suicide. The son was the best friend of Sipp’s son.
“I’ll be going back north and bringing his clothes home,” she said fighting back tears. “That will be difficult.”