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Bye Dad...

1 Sep 2006


My father passed away yesterday; he died of lung cancer and died young (age 59). He got the diagnosis in late June and went very rapidly. I thought about whether or not it was appropriate for me to be posting something so personal on this blog, but decided that I’d really love for something positive to come of his passing.  If you haven’t heard already, fiber artist Virginia Spiegel is heading an effort among fiber artists and fiber art collectors to raise funds for the American Cancer Society with Fiberart for a Cause (FFAC). With the help of hundreds of fiber artists, she’s raised $53,000 so far and is shooting for a goal of $100,000 by the close of the year. To find out more about what you can do, click here. So many of us (too many of us) have witnessed the loss of life taken by cancer, a nasty, painful disease. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to triumph over this?

Since yesterday I’ve been flooded with memories. I remember my dad taking me to feed the ducks in San Francisco; stopping at The Nut Tree on our way to Tahoe to people watch and eat peanuts; or at my wedding, when just before we embarked arm-in-arm down the aisle, him telling me a really dirty joke.

My dad has always loved the sea. Here we are in the San Juan Islands in the 70s on the bow of his boat. I think he’s about 31 or 32 in this picture, younger than I am now. He’s happy, healthy, and in his element.  Nothing made him more content than standing behind the helm of a boat, looking beyond at the horizon.  And not surprisingly, he really loved the song, “Sailing” by Christopher Cross:

It's not far down to paradise
At least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find tranquility
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

Takes me away
To where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

Bye, Dad. I’ll miss you and I hope you're at peace…

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Cheryl wrote
on 1 Sep 2006 2:16 PM
I'm not really good at saying things at times like this, but may memories comfort you. I'm going to make FFAC postcards in memory of your father.
sue wrote
on 1 Sep 2006 4:03 PM
so sorry to hear about your dad. I lost someone early this year to cancer as well. It's such a tragedy that we lose so many to this horrible disease. I've sent in two postcards to Virginia. I wish you strength, peace and comfort during this difficult time.
Von Biggs wrote
on 1 Sep 2006 6:34 PM
I know first hand the experience your going through.. my father died over 7 years ago of bone cancer at age 55. The memories are still there... thank God... I will have you and your family in my prayers during this time.
Tammy wrote
on 1 Sep 2006 7:40 PM
So sorry to hear about your father. I've never chimed in here before, but wanted to extend my sympathy - you are very lucky to have such beautiful memories of your dad and to want to make something positive of his unfortunate passing.
Vivika wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 9:04 AM
I am so sorry to hear of your father's death. Both of my parents died of cancer, my mother only a year ago. I miss them very much and know that you will miss your father too. Postcards for a cause will be in the mail this weekend. Peace- Vivika
Maggie wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 9:14 AM
Hugs and prayers for you Pokey. I too know the pain you are experiencing. my father died almost 10 years ago. Eventually the pain and tears will subside and your wonderful memories of lessons your father taught you will make you enjoy life again. May the comfort of your family and friends help ease your pain in the coming weeks. I will be sending postcards. Maggie
Pat wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 9:32 AM
I will never forget the feelings I had when I had the news that my dad had died - it was 30 yrs. ago. The memories of him when I was a child are as bright today as then. You too will cherish those special memories of the two of you. Take care of yourself.
Sarah Ann Smith wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 9:45 AM
Pokey: hugs and prayers and white light for you, your dad and all your extended family. My dad (who had beaten throat cancer when he was 82) was a very old 96 when he died, and even though at that age you can't say it was unexpected, it is still a gut-punch when it finally happens. Despite your schedule, give yourself the OK to just sit and think sometimes, and to remember; it will become less hard and more heart-warming as time passes. And I'm sure your dad is now sailing away, grinning into a fair breeze, with no pain. And also smiling with pride for his daughter and family. Hugs and white light, Sarah
Karen Bettencourt wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 9:58 AM
I'm so sad for you, my dad passed away a few years ago and your post brought back so many memories. As a family we also stopped at the Nut Tree on the way to Tahoe and vacationed on Puget Sound in Washington. My heart goes out to you and I thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories to me.
nina wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 10:47 AM
i'm very sad to hear about your loss, pokey...i lost my brother this year as well, quite suddenly. i'm thinking of you. much love, nina
Cay Denise wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 11:19 AM
My sincerest condolences to you and your family in the loss of your father.
Normajean Brevik wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 11:28 AM
Dear Pokey, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. Take comfort in the knowledge that you must have been a constant source of pride for him. It is the greatest gift that you could have given him. Love, Normajean
jenny walton wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 11:35 AM
Just echoing what everyone else has said. Time is a great healer - you are in our prayers. love jenny
Doris Arndt wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 11:50 AM
Dear Pokey, Words aren't enough. I lost my mom and my brother to cancer. Even when you know the end must come it is still a shock and it hurts, oh it hurts. Please allow yourself time to grieve and heal and do know that time does make it more bearable. The grief can sneak up on you and hit you when you least expect it, but let it, it is all part of the process. Be gentle with yourself. Rest and drink lots of water. It's important, honest. My heart goes out to you. And I love the idea of turning loss into a better thing with the Fiberart Postcards. I need to get to work on at least two. much love to you and yours.
Marie Johansen wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 12:00 PM
Blessings and peace to you and your family. My mom died at 46 - and now that I am older than that she remians forever young in my mind. May your memories sustain and support you. Marie Johansen, San Juan Island, Washington
monica smith wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 2:26 PM
Pokey it is so hard to loose your Dad. Now it seems like everything painfully reminds you of him and you mourn his absence from family. In time when the pain of your loss passes the memories will make you laugh and give you comfort.
Kim LaPolla wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 4:15 PM
My heart felt sympathies to you and your family. I lost my Dad this year, too. And also have fond memories of the ducks in San Francisco and the Nut Tree.
sharon wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 4:38 PM
debbi crane wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 4:51 PM
So sorry...
Laura Krasinski wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 5:19 PM
Pokey, I hope the memories of your father gets you through this very hard time. I have you and your family in my prayers.
Sandy Jandik wrote
on 2 Sep 2006 9:39 PM
I wrote this when my daughter-in-law's father died of cancer, but I think it is a good philosophy. We meet for a while, enjoying the company, learning from each other, and passing on to other places. Treasure the times you had together and the memories. They help to make us who we are. Love and thoughts, Sandy Jandik
Kelly wrote
on 3 Sep 2006 1:33 AM
Pokey, Sending you lots of good thoughts and prayers...I am extremely sorry for your loss. Whenever and whatever you need to "spill and share" with us, we are here for you. Hugs, Kelly
Chris Horne wrote
on 3 Sep 2006 6:13 AM
Dear Patricia,Please know that I,m thinking of you and your family as this sad time.
Vicki Jensen wrote
on 3 Sep 2006 9:04 AM
Dear Pokey, My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Hugs! Vicki
Elaine Gentry wrote
on 3 Sep 2006 11:19 AM
Patricia, My prayers and thoughts are with you in the loss of your wonderful father. You are so blessed to have such loving memories of him and I know he was so proud of you! Let your family and friends help you through this time of grief.
Kelli Perkins wrote
on 3 Sep 2006 12:13 PM
As a cancer survivor, I am appreciative of Virginia's efforts. My daughters almost lost their Mom when they were 7 & 9, but we have beaten the monster for six years and counting. Life is precious and I know your Dad was comforted by your love and concern. Enjoy every moment of this wonderful life. Kelli
darlene wrote
on 4 Sep 2006 3:36 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. Please take extra care of yourself as you work through your grief. I know how terribly difficult it is to deal with a parent's death. Take care, Darlene
Alexis Kelly wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 2:33 AM
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts at this sad time. Take care. Alexis
melanie wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 10:00 AM
How true that we all have been affected in some way or another by this awful disease... I am so sorry about your father; I wish you many good memories and much strength during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging support of Virginia's efforts.
Karen wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 11:26 AM
I'm sorry to hear you lost your dad. I lost mine 4 years ago and I still miss him but when it becomes too much, I sit back and remember my favorite day with him and it brings a smile to my face!! Take care and you're in my thoughts.
terry grant wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 12:08 PM
When my Dad died a friend said, "this morning I pictured your Dad out sailing with Phil and Uncle *** (his two sailing buddies who preceded him in death). I think they are having a wonderful time!" I hope your Dad is sailing, too.
Bonnie Sabel wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 3:27 PM
Pokey, Your dad would be honored by your tribute of wonderful memories of him. My uncle Fred loved sailboats as well, and we have often pictured him being able to sail offshore Hawaii, or anyplace of his choice, each day. Your dad will have good company, and someday you'll be together again. Bonnie Sabel FFAC Supporter
barbara matthiessen wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 4:07 PM
Please accept my condolences, I lost my Dad the same way 3 years ago and know the pain you are feeling. This morning has been spent contacting every fiber artist I know to encourage them to contribute to FFAC. I know it will be touching and inspiring to view all these at Quilt Festival. Take care of yourself and know you are in the hearts of many.
Dianne Marcoux wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 6:26 PM
I'm so sorry to her about your loss. I just returned from visiting my lovely cousins family. She just passed away from cancer last week. We just all talked of all the lovely memories about her. I know she was listening and smiling.. I know your Dad is smiling at you and will always be around you, so talk to him and he'll hear you.. My prayers are with you... Dianne
Pat Richter wrote
on 5 Sep 2006 10:11 PM
Dear Pokey, Your Dad is now the Angel flying close to your heart. He will be with you always. I lost my mom 43 years ago when I was 7 year old. I still feel the sadness. I have to thank you for your post because my Dad just asked me to join him on a visit to my little sisters in Florida. I was going to say I was busy. I just booked my ticket so I can spend the time with him Life is to short. I send you virtual hugs and prayers. Pat
jenny walton wrote
on 6 Sep 2006 5:41 PM
hi, I do hope things are improving. If you are anything like me he will sit on your shoulder advising you for ever. hugs jenny
Marylin Huskamp wrote
on 6 Sep 2006 8:34 PM
Patricia, I read your blog and wept for you. I feel your pain as I am going thru the same thing with my mom right now. She,too, has lung cancer. What a horrible illness! You are in my thoughts and prayers. Bless you and your family! Marylin Huskamp
Tracie Lyn Huskamp wrote
on 6 Sep 2006 9:21 PM
Patricia, Please accept my deepest condolences. My heart aches for you!!! My mother-in-law's mother is currently suffering with lung cancer, and it is very hard to see her steadily going down hill. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!!! I know your father's light and life will continue to live through you. Sincerest Wishes Tracie Lyn Huskamp
Eileen wrote
on 7 Sep 2006 5:32 PM
I lost my father to lung cancer when I was 16. 34 year later I still miss him. My father was my biggest cheerleader when it came to my creative spirit. I often wish he were here to see that I have become the artist he knew I would be. No matter how old we are we are still our dad's little girl.It sounds as though you had a remarkable connection with your father. That in itself is the greatest gift he could have ever given you. -Eileen in Northern California
Camille Fano wrote
on 7 Sep 2006 8:14 PM
Lung cancer stole my Dad when I was 23 and he was 44. I understand your pain. And bless the memories and the legacy of a father who mattered.
Carolyn Shanks wrote
on 8 Sep 2006 1:40 PM
Your memorial to your Dad is most needed and I'm glad you decided to post it. The way in which you wrote about him and supported the efforts of cancer fund-raising speaks volumes of your caring, not only for your family, but for all of us whose lives have been touched. May your message reach many people. May you continue to find peace in knowing your father so well and having such sweet memories of him.
Michele wrote
on 8 Sep 2006 8:13 PM
I started my postcards for Virginia 4 weeks ago when mom was in the hospital. She's suffering through the chemo and it's so hard to watch such a strong soul suffer. Cancer survivors are not only the people who had cancer and survived, but we are survivors as well. But in the saddest way, because we are the ones left behind with our heartaches, tears, and empty arms. My prayers go out to you and your family.
BJ Reed wrote
on 11 Sep 2006 9:05 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss Pokey, I lost my second father this summer to Parkinson's (my first father died at 53). As difficult as it was to sit by his bedside those end weeks and see his physical body leave, I was given a special gift of watching his spiritual being at peace and in that moment I knew there was a heaven, it was a spirital encounter unlike any that I have had. Be at peace, bless you.
Virginia A. Spiegel wrote
on 24 Sep 2006 5:35 PM
Dear Friends of Pokey - I have thanked Pokey privately for her most generous gesture in memory of her father, but I wanted to let you all know what a difference you have made. Our goal for Fiberart For A Cause at IQF-Houston was 1800 fiberart postcards. With a week to go, we already have more than 2000 fiberart postcards. Thank you for so generously donating your artwork and I do hope to meet many of you in Houston. Warm regards, Virginia A. Spiegel Fiberart For A Cause: Fundraising for the American Cancer Society
tongue in cheek wrote
on 24 Oct 2006 4:39 PM
My heart holds you...
Ina Magedanz wrote
on 24 Oct 2006 5:20 PM
Dear Patricia, first of all meeting you in the UK was great! Wish both of us would have had more time to chat. Secondly, I decided to come browse your blog today because I was feeling really sad and figured this is a good place to get away from it all. My godfather passed away today. We were really close so I know where you are coming from. I can only give my sincere condolations and tell you that you are not alone. Never alone! You inspire me to be brave and keep up the good memories. Thank you for that and thank you for posting something so personal. It really moves me at this time in my life which is not very different. Well enough typed. I hope nothing comes across as unsincere. It was not my intend. If it did, I apologize, then it is a language barrier. Warm Regards, Ina of
Dean5 wrote
on 12 Jun 2009 8:10 AM

Pokey, I think it is very special that you feel you can share your loss with us.  We all love you and want to share your sad times and your happy times.  How wonderful your dad had a chance to see you become so successful with your magazines and all the other things you are involved in.  I know he was very proud of you.  He will always be alive in your heart with wonderful memories.  My love and prayers are with you.  Hugs, Dean