Friday, September 01, 2006

The Longest Day

(Long and personal, with very little knitting content.)

August 27, 2006. Our 12th wedding anniversary

(Yes, this is us in younger days)

After 12 years, the words “for better or for worse” start to really mean something. Because you haven’t just said it, you’ve lived it.

After 12 years, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t get a chance to celebrate the day, because your father in law is sick in the hospital, and you choose to go support your mother in law.

So, we left St. Charles at 10:30, right after church. It takes a little over an hour to get to Rockford. Dave’s dad had had a relatively routine back surgery the week before. The surgery itself went fine, but a few hours into the recovery, he complained of chest pains and an xray showed his lungs filling with fluid. I don’t have a lot of medical knowledge, but I believe that because the doctors had to put a tube in, he was heavily sedated again, because it is so uncomfortable.

He had been breathing with the tube all week, and still under heavy sedation, not really awaking much or recognizing anyone. Dave’s mom had been staying at the hospital, which was over an hour from her home, with periodic visits from her sons (all living a few hours away) to brighten some evenings. When they had weaned him from the tube a week later, and tried to take it out, he had such severe panic attacks that after a day of trying, the doctors gave up to let him rest.

So, that was the state of things when we went up last Sunday to visit Dave’s mom. Knowing that she might very well be there another week, we wanted to cheer her up with the grandkids. We arrived at the hospital and Dave went in to see his dad and get his mom. We took her to lunch, and then back to the hotel for a swim. The pool was cold, but the hot tub was nice, and at one point, I found myself in the hot tub with Dave, all 3 kids, and his mom. I scooted over next to him and joked, “I didn’t think I’d be getting to spend our anniversary next to you in a hot tub.” His mom piped up “and it couldn’t be and less romantic now, could it?!” and cracked us all up. I told her when Dick was better we’d hit them up for some serious babysitting and get a chance to celebrate.

Later we were joined by Dave’s little brother M, and his wife H, just returned from living in England for almost two years, and had a wonderful afternoon in the hotel room catching up. We sat on the hotel beds, we let the kids watch a movie, since they weren’t really into the conversation. Sophie, completely wiped out from lack of nap, just ran around the room from person to person fussing. Getting up, wanting down, up, down, as toddlers do.

Dave’s mom had been a knitter 40 years ago, before she had twin boys, and after seeing Lauren’s post about the Griffendor scarf, I had the idea that Dave’s mom might like to have a handwork project to keep her busy in the hospital, and since his dad was a big Harry Potter fan, and the scarf was easy, that this might be the perfect project for her to return to knitting with. Of course, my ulterior motive being to convert one more person, in an effort to one day rule the world with knitting. (Mwahahaha)

So I had purchased the yarn and needles, printed the pattern, cast on for her, and we spent a little time going over the pattern (knit 90 stitches in the round for 300 miles, and occasionally throw in a stripe). When I say “a little time” I mean it: all I did was show her one stitch and she took it from my hands and started going. “It’s just like riding a bike!” She told me, and I was thrilled to see her going to town with it, and genuinely enjoying it.

It was one of those afternoons that lazily stretches into eternity, the hours seem to slow down and everything is savored. Chatting with M and H, watching Gail move over to the good light so she could knit, knitting myself, enjoying everyone’s company. Eventually we had to break it up and get home, and as it was a school night for us and we needed to get home, and the others were going back to the hospital.

As we left, the others were teasing Gail about the knitting, and saying “when dad wakes up he’s really going to see how long he was in the hospital when you’ve knitted a mile-long scarf.”

We set out for the hour-plus ride home. When we were about 15 minutes from home, Dave got a call on his cell phone. His dad had gone into cardiac arrest, they were in the process of reviving him. We were stunned. Yes, there had been complications, but no one expected this. We finished the ride, discussing what we needed to pack to turn him right back around to drive up there.

Ten minutes later, we were unloading the kids from the van, when he got the call. He looked at me with a grief stricken look I will never forget. "My dad is dead."

So, Dave went back to Rockford to console his mother and be with his family. I stayed home to keep the kids in school and make life normal for the week. We've all been busy, them making plans for the funeral, me cooking food to feed the army. I'm leaving as soon as I finish typing this to be with them. The funeral is tomorrow.

Goodbye friend.

I'll be back in a week or so with the regular crafting updates and will reply to the buildup of comments and e-mails then. Thanks for listening.


Anonymous Jean E said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
My wedding was also 12 years ago (august 20th) and it was the last time I saw my father before he died.
Take care.

5:04 PM  
Blogger I need orange said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

-- Vicki

6:02 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I'm sorry Emily. I hope that knitting continues to be a solace for you and (hopefully!) your loved ones.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

Seems like we're walking in each other's shoes this week. I'm so sorry. You'll be in my thoughts and I hope that helps you as much as everyone's good thoughts have helped me this week. Hugs, dear Emily.

9:24 PM  
Blogger textilejunkie said...

I hate that grief stricken look, how you know the words even before they are said. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Have a safe trip.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous caro said...

Oh my. Words fail. I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous diane said...

My condolences to you and all your family. I cannot even begin to tell you how sorry I am to hear of your loss.

Please take care.

10:54 PM  
Blogger K said...

Love and blessings to your family. I wish you healing and peace.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Diane D. said...

I'm so sorry Emily. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Maryann said...

Oh Emily, I'm so sorry. Hang in there.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Oh Emily! I am so so sorry dear!

11:05 PM  
Blogger judy coates perez said...

Emily, I am so sorry!!!! I have tears in my eyes from reading your post. that is just too sad. I just spent the week with my mom and step dad, they seem so healthy but they are at the age when this sort of thing can happen when it is least expected and makes life seem too short. big hugs, take care.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Trope said...

Oh, Emily, hang in there. I hope that you and Dave and his family all take good care of each other during this time.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. I'm thinking of you.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

Oh, I am so, so sorry. I will keep you all in my thoughts. Take good care.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry to read about the death of your dear FIL. Please accept my sympathy. I don't know your family but your mail really 'threw' me. Take care of yourselves.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Jo Griffith said...


So sorry for all of your family's sadness. Will keep you all in my thoughts.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Anne Lullie said...

I am sorry to hear about your loss. I had a strong urge to read your blog tonight; and see what you were up to . I am can't believe that happened so suddenly. At least you were all there that day to support one another. My condolences to you and Dave both.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous sprite said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your family will be in my thoughts.

12:23 AM  
Blogger lisette said...

oh emily i'm so sorry - sending many hugs to all your family. what a horrible shock for you. how is your mother in law coping?

27 august is my birthday as well as your anniversary

1:35 AM  
Blogger teri springer said...

Oh Em....I am so sorry for your loss. Give a hug to your husband, kids and mil for me.


6:18 AM  
Anonymous Emma said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for a most beautiful post and sharing all that love. For good and worse, you do seem to have a wonderful family. Take care!

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Diane E. said...

Sorry for your loss, Take Care.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Lori said...

I am so, so sorry! Take care and remember that our thoughts are with you all!

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please know that I'm keeping you and your Family in my thoughts and prayers and that I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing with us. All the Best to you and your Family.
(I am so enjoying your tote bag- thank you.)

1:12 PM  
Blogger Claudia said...

Oh Emily, Thankyou for sharing your family with us, we share in your sadness, and wish you solice in this tough time. Much love to you, and your husband's family.


4:15 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

So sorry to hear about your father in law's death. It is never easy to lose a loved one. Just know that we are all thinking about you and your family.

11:35 AM  

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