I know I normally chat solely about decor and design these days- and so far in the history of the blog, I have yet to publish a really personal post. Sure, there have been milestones… moving, renovating, trials, triumphs, and everything in between, but I sometimes have a difficult time being truly vulnerable and sharing certain parts of my story publicly. Being vulnerable is hard, but this is for a good cause and I feel lucky to have so many happy memories. Despite the good memories, today marks a tough a day for me. It’s a day that I’m finally ready to shed some light upon to support a cause. It has been six years since my dad passed away and I wanted to do something in memory of him. Click through to find out more and shop for a good cause!
Growing up, I was a typical dad’s girl. We played countless games of catch, went fishing together, and both shared a deep love for the outdoors. He was a good one… the parent who was always the coach, the 4-H dad who was also on the committee, and the guy cheering me on from the stands. Things I get from my dad? My deep appreciation for nature and the environment, my softball skills, my outgoing personality, and my love for people. He spent most of his life working as an advocate and being a voice for those struggling with disabilities and rehabilitation. He was a good guy with lots of friends, an optimistic attitude, and a fun personality. Basically, he was very likable.
During my senior year of college, my dad called one evening and informed me about a recent trip to the doctor that didn’t go as expected. I’m a worrier, and even though he told me not to worry, our conversation weighed heavy on my mind. I hung up the phone, headed to my friend’s art gallery opening, and spent the evening pushing negative thoughts of anticipated test results out of my head. A week later my fears were confirmed… the “C” word seemed second nature to his oncologist who casually tossed it around.
I won’t bore you with the knitty gritty details of my story, but I’ll do a quick synopsis. Obviously my dad didn’t get a happy ending. I went to every doctor appointment, drove us to every single chemotherapy appointment, administered medication, and kept my siblings in the loop when they couldn’t be there… but no matter how much effort, care, or love I devoted, I felt pretty helpless. Although it was difficult, I took a cue from my father and opted to find good, even amongst the toughest situation.
As a senior BFA student, who was taking 23 credit hours at the time, while simultaneously working on my thesis art show- I’ll never forget the kind hospice nurses (alongside my awesome siblings) who helped me cut templates, fold paper, and prep for my biggest design project to date. I kept busy because that’s all I could do. I kept it together by keeping my eye on the short term goal and appreciating those around me who were offering support and help. Those little acts of kindness meant a lot to me and didn’t go unnoticed.
The last night I spent in hospice with my dad, I held his hand, said goodbye, and watched him pass from this life to the next. His funeral was on Emmett’s birthday, and I went to my gallery opening a couple days later with my finished project and a forced smile on my face. It was what I had been working toward all year along. Within six months, I lost my dad, graduated college, got married, and moved. Talk about an emotional roller coaster… but when I look back at that year, the best / worst year of my life, I’m able to smile and appreciate the memories I made- just like my father would’ve wanted.
I spent many years learning lessons from my dad, and although he wasn’t into my creative or artistic side- and even suggested I try for an engineering or math degree instead (haha!), I’d like to think I made him proud. This chapter of my life was one of growth and challenges, but I know it made me a better, more compassionate human. Despite the slim chance of beating the disease, my father was so incredibly optimistic. He had the best attitude and there is so much I took away about positivity and mind over matter. So on this weird day that I usually dread, I’m finding the silver lining and hoping to do some good! Another silver lining and side-note… our custom bed came from him, and it happens to be one of my all-time favorite pieces of furniture, that makes me smile everyday.
In honor of my dad, I want to do my part, be positive, and hopefully make a meaningful contribution to the NPCF next week! Help me with my goal, shop for some goodies, and support a cause near and dear to my heart. It would mean so much.
Sadly, everyone has a family member, friend, or loved one who has experienced loss to cancer- or maybe you’ve even encountered the disease yourself. It’s nothing new and my story is no more important than anyone else’s. I was honestly conflicted about sharing this because I didn’t want anyone to think the motive behind this post was for any other reason than honoring my dad and supporting a worthy cause.
Thanks for listening to a tiny part of my story that makes me who I am. In the meantime, go getchya one of my gorgeous windmill prints (if I do say so myself) and I’ll send the proceeds to NPCF next week. Hopefully this will empty out the shop for a good cause, help those in need, and make room for new goods I have coming next month.
Everyone have a fantastic weekend! Thanks again friends- Happy Friday! xox