I love this picture of my Dad. It was taken soon after he graduated from college...and around the time that he and my mother married. Dad finished his freshman year of college and then was drafted into the Army...and served in Korea. He finished up college when he returned...I think he looks so dapper!
My Dad was always super healthy. He played professional baseball - and even as he got older he had the physique of an athlete. I think that is what has made the past 10 months so hard. At 84 he was totally embracing life...traveling, hunting with his brother and playing golf several times a week. Back in January he had a regular doctor's appointment and his bloodwork came back with a total surprise...Dad was diagnosed with leukemia. He was referred to an oncologist - but the doctor sent word to Dad's doctor that he didn't really need to see him - the leukemia was so advanced that he would not recommend any chemo therapy for someone as old as my Dad. Even today, that both makes me smile...and a little MAD! *smile* Just goes to show that none of us know EVERYTHING! (I especially need to be reminded of that myself on a regular basis).
We insisted that the doctor actually SEE Dad before he made his final prognosis. When he walked into the examining room and took a look at Dad, his first words were, "you certainly are not what I expected!" Dad began a journey that day ... and he approached it much like he approached teaching me math! "This isn't going to be FUN - but we're gonna do it the right way!"
Dad continually surprised his doctors - he withstood three rounds of chemo...and began to get stronger. They would just shake their heads...he wasn't doing what they expected - but my sister and I were not really all that surprised...Dad always did the unexpected!
Because Dad was a fighter...we were blessed to have 10 very special months with him. He lived in Dallas and I live in Nashville - but I was able to make several trips home to see him...and we spoke daily on the phone. We had some priceless late night conversations...and every night we would end the conversation with me saying, "good night Dad - I love you!" and he would respond, "I love you too sugar!" Those words had the ability to take this 50 year old woman and transport her back to an eight year old little girl.
Dad finished his journey on Thursday morning - November 3rd. We were blessed to have home hospice there for the last few days of his life. I will always remember one of his nurses, Quinita. She is a very special lady. Her care for my Dad was gentle...like she was caring for her own father. She was always aware of what was going on...and just took care of things - allowing Ruby (my Dad's wife), my sister and me to just spend our time together loving on him. Very precious hours.
I know I have been absent for a while but I am hoping to be back soon with some fun projects to share with you. Life just got a bit overwhelming between the death of Jess (husband to one of my best friends here in Nashville) and then Dad's health deteriorating so quickly. I hope to have some quick last minute Thanksgiving projects to share...I made some fun cards, Thanksgiving dinner place cards and a little accordian mini with tags for each person at dinner to share what they consider their greatest blessing of the past year. I made them prior to heading to Dallas because a friend of mine and I were going to to have a booth in a local craft fair. She was super sweet and took the projects that I already had completed and sold them along with her own delightful home decor and holiday gifts. I have the BEST friends!
I have missed you all - and I am looking forward to being back with you in my studio soon! Hope you are headed towards a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am certainly counting my blessings...and you all are right there on the list!