Monday, January 14, 2013

Walking...and Fishing...and Playing with Puppies

I don't usually talk much about my personal life here, but I just lost my father, so I hope you'll  indulge me for just a moment.

I'm not close with my family, but I have / had a deep respect for my father. My dad was a hard worker, a respect-er of women, a man who always put the best face on everything, and the most loyal and patient man I have ever known. I often tease Brett that "I married my father" but in reality I married the best parts of my dad (my husband is also quite long on patience, thank goodness, among his other qualities).

In the last week or so, every blog in the world seems to be talking about new year's resolutions, and though I have several, I think that this one (that I'd posted on another blog) pretty much sums it up:

[My resolution is] To honor my father, who is dying from cancer. His dying has been slow and steady and given me time to think about my relationship with my family, where I am in my own life, and how I want to go forward. 

My father worked his entire life straight through to retirement and never complained. Many of those years were spent working in an un-air-conditioned shop in Phoenix, Arizona...I spent a summer working with him when I was a teenager and it was uncomfortable, to say the least in the hundred-degree temps. The year that he and my mother retired, he was diagnosed with both prostate and bladder cancer. He had surgery, but the prostate cancer was already Stage IV, incurable. 

As the cancer's hold on him has grown, true to form, Dad's never complained. He's taken each change for the worse as practically as he's approached everything else in life. It spread to his bones, and eventually ate away at his spine. He spent a year in a wheelchair. Now he's on hospice care. 

During this time, I left my unsatisfying corporate job and began working for myself. I design and fabricate jewelry, and the actual work is bit messy, a little gritty; most days I'm wearing a work apron and not looking glam in the least. But I think about the kind of messy, dirty work my father did for years. Quality work, made to last. The end results were always beautiful, and he delivered them to ecstatically happy customers.

I'm not restoring and reupholstering furniture, but I'm designing jewelry that has personal meaning for my own customers. My actual work happens in a studio that's turned out much like my dad's shop: gritty. Dusty. Messy. I am a shop girl and like my father before me, quite happy to be one. It's the best way I can think of to continue my dad's legacy.


 Family get-together, 2004. Dad is in the lower left corner.

I had two long chats with my mother yesterday, and at one point, she said, "I guess he's walking now." And I said, "and fishing" - one of Dad's favorite pastimes. And playing with puppies...that man had a thing for dogs.  :)

Dad taught me the value of hard work and integrity. The satisfaction and joy of making something lovely and special for others. He showed me the essence of loyalty and patience. He was a man of few words but I know without a doubt that he loved me. And Daddy, I love you right back. Always will. If there is a Heaven, I know you have a wonderful place in it.


  1. Such a beautiful, beautiful post .... thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. Thank you. It's never easy but we are rolling with it as best we can. He was a good man, and I know he's in a good place now. :)