My dad died this week from cancer. That might not sound like something to be thankful for, but I will explain.
- I am thankful that I had a good dad. He was a character who wore an eccentric moustache for most of his adult life. He could talk for hours without pausing for breath and tell you the same story a hundred times, but he was an unwaveringly honest and ethical person. He had no shades of grey; Dad’s world was all black and white. Something was right or it was intolerably wrong. He could be an opinionated bore, but he was not racist, sexist, homophobic or in any other way nasty. He was fiercely proud of his Welsh heritage. He loved Terry Pratchett and World War Two stories about Douglas Bader and Lancaster bombers, and he spent his life trying to find the perfect pork pie and Cumberland sausage. He believed in only two food groups: pork and sugar (especially bacon, ice-cream and chocolate).
- I am thankful that Dad had a good life. He travelled a lot, read voraciously and had heaps of hobbies and interests. He started life as a British farmer and ended his life on the opposite side of the globe and in a completely different career where he was extremely well respected.
- I am thankful for the wonderful and loyal friends my dad made.
- I am thankful to the countless medical staff and others who looked after him: doctors, nurses, cleaners, pastoral care workers, physiotherapists, paramedics, pharmacists, caterers and volunteers. They all do an amazing job.
- I am thankful to live in an age and a country that has modern medical facilities and universal healthcare. He was given the best possible medical care. The cancer, which spread from his prostate into his bones and the rest of his body, was simply more than anyone could beat.
- I am thankful to whoever made the quilts that adorned the beds in the palliative care hospice my dad stayed at.
- I am thankful I have a peaceful and meditative hobby, which can be calming and soothing. Being miserable and self-pitying would not have changed what happened. Sewing has been a sunny refuge. It has kept my mind occupied and been my happy place. I am especially thankful for English paper-pieced hexagons. You can sew a lot of the little suckers in medical waiting rooms.
- I am thankful for fabric pick-me-ups. Sometimes, when things are grim, a small treat or indulgent spend in a fabric shop is a pleasant distraction.
- I am thankful to all my sewing friends, both local and online, for keeping my spirits up throughout Dad’s illness. Sometimes, all you need after a day spent with a dying relative is a parcel marked ‘fabric and chocolate’, or a day spent out of the house with a group of like-minded and kind-hearted women. Sewing with friends is much better than sewing alone.
- I am thankful for my non-sewing friends too; they have been sending words of support and stopping by to check on me as the news has spread.
- I am thankful for doggy cuddles. My husband fractured a few ribs a week ago, so Lucy is on hugs duty. (Dad did not think of Lucy as a proper dog as she cannot herd sheep or cattle, but he liked the ‘silly-looking little fleabag’ all the same.)
- I am especially thankful for the support my husband has given me. He supported my decision to cut my working hours so I could shuttle Dad between medical appointments. (I am self-employed and can take on fewer projects to suit.) He helped Dad with his finances and paperwork when Dad no longer had the energy to manage his life by himself. He acted as a protective buffer between me and difficult relatives, and he has taken on the role of executor of Dad’s will. I think he is a keeper.
I expect I will be a bit quiet in blogland for a while. I will continue to sew my bee blocks and round robin borders, and read about everyone’s wonderful creations on their blogs when I can, which will probably be at 3 am as sleep is not my friend at the moment, but I will probably not comment or reply to comments until I am in a happier place.
I plan to block comments on this post. If you comment, I will not know how to reply other than with thanks, and I will probably tear up all over again at your kind words. I know how supportive the sewing community is; you do not have to tell me.
I am tough. I expect I will be back soon. Dad has asked that we play Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ at his funeral. That really sums it up.
(Thanks too to Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl for starting Thankful Thursday and encouraging us to remember to be thankful, even when things seem a bit grim.)