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English Muse: My Dad

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Dad

Dear Friends, as kind Liss informed you, my beloved father passed away last week after a long illness. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated not only the inimitable Daydream Lily and all the other bloggers who stepped in to keep this site going, but also all the expressions of affection and support you have left here. I feel so fortunate to be part of this wonderful community.

Before I resume regular posting next week, I want to share with all of you a few thoughts on my remarkable Dad. He was born in rolling hill country along the Kentucky-Ohio border, where his surviving sisters live still. For 35 years he worked for General Electric as an aerospace engineer. He held several important patents for his inventions, and if you've recently flown on a Boeing airliner, chances are he'd devised the engine seals that kept you airborne. He loved his family and New Mexico, where I grew up, but his private passions were painting and sculpture. My home is filled with his art and every time I look at one of his paintings or sort through his watercolor portfolios, I'm reminded of how his character combined, in equal parts, an engineer's precision and a gifted artist's sensitivity and intuitive insight.
I will miss that very much.

One of the benfits of being formally jobless during his last illness was that I enjoyed the unexpected blessing of being able to spend a great deal of time with my dad. He'd always loved our moments together and looking back at how much we both enjoyed just going out for coffee and talking,
I so wish we'd done it more.

The hours we spent together during his final year and, particularly, during this past month are something I'll treasure for as long as I live. I had that rare privilege of hearing my father assure me of his unconditional love and of his great pride in the woman I'd become. I vividly recall how my heart soared when he called my daughter Isabella, his only grandchild, "your marvelous girl." It was his last gift to me--and one of the most precious among so many.

After he died, I asked my mother for his paint brushes and I've arranged them in vases about the house, each one a flower of memory, a reminder of the gentle but skilled hand that once held it. In one of our last conversations, my father said to me, "You've always been my shining star."
I know now that, if I glitter, it is with the light he gave me.

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Blogger Giulia said...

Beautifully said, dear Tina. I am so very sorry.

May 28, 2010 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger kayemkay said...

Beautiful indeed. May God grant you peace in the pain. Sending my love.

May 28, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

So beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss, but it is obvious his spirit will continue to shine so brightly.

May 28, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

It's like one beating heart. I lost my "scientific" father 19 years ago, and have one of his "beatific" paintings in my bedroom. Remembering often makes me miss less often. Thanks for putting your thoughts into words at this time.

May 28, 2010 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger kimberj said...

Your father sounds like a wonderful man. I think you two were equally lucky to have had each other. The confidence he instilled in you is the gift you'll give Isabella. How interesting life is, your job loss gave you time with your dad that no one can ever take from you.

May 28, 2010 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Razmataz said...

How wonderful to have such a lovely realionship with your father and to have had the time to be with him when he needed you most. I am sure he has succeeded in making you and your daughter feel very special, which in itelf is a wondeful blessing. Seeing those paint brushes brought a tear to my eye. To think he spend hours and hours with his hands on thos brushes. What a lovely idea to arrange them as a bouquet.

My sincere condoloences on the death of your father.


May 28, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Hello said...

You clearly had a special relationship, a special bond and the words he gave you must be forever in your heart. My best wishes for you at this time of great sadness.

May 28, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

i am glad you put the paint brushes around the house. i hope they stir sweet sorry for your loss tina.

May 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger alli/hooray said...

This was so touching, thank you for sharing. Wishing your family peace.

May 28, 2010 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Saudade said...

Just wonderful.
Lots of kisses my dear.

May 28, 2010 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Sending you my thoughts and much love! xo

May 28, 2010 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Jg. for FatScribe said...

truly touching and a tribute that only a loving daughter could offer. heartfelt condolences, Tina, to your entire family.

May 28, 2010 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

it would have to take marvelous parents to raise such a remarkable woman... in a time of which I would find so unfathomable, you take the time to remember, heal and love.

May you always shine through your Daddy's eyes.

May 28, 2010 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Tonia said...

How wonderful to have had those last thoughts and times with him, and how very kind of you to share them with us. I'm so sorry for the huge gap he must have left.

May 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger vintageNsome said...

I am very sorry, but i am very happy that you have an eternity of beautiful, precious, wonderful memories shared with your Father and that is the most important thing. Love

May 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Shokoofeh said...

My very dear Tina. I am deeply sorry to hear about your father. Deeply in my heart something is just so sad like it's burning...
Your words are truly beautiful. I am sure he's so proud right now.
It was about one year ago that he was in hospital and we all had been praying for him all around the world and you read our messages to him and they made him happy. I am sure that he still can read our messages and he's still so happy.

love you.

May 28, 2010 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Tina- may you find comfort in your many wonderful memories. You are so fortunate to have had such a loving and brilliant father in your life.

May 28, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger The Cottage Cheese said...

Dearest Tina, your father sounds like the greatest Dad a gal could have. And although he has struggled and suffered through this terrible illness, I know that your special relationship with him helped give him strength. I'm happy that you've been able to surround yourself with so many deeply personal reminders of this wonderful man. Take Care, you and your family are in my thoughts. XO, Marsi

May 28, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Sonia Luna said...

Beautiful words, beautiful memories.
This post brought tears to my eyes, your father sounds like a truly amazing person. I'm truly sorry about your loss and I hope all the wonderful memories you have of him and your time together will give you strength and joy in times to come.

May 28, 2010 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Ms Smart said...

awwwwwwwwwwww. "What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." -Lao Tsu My thoughts are with you lovely one.

May 28, 2010 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Tine, what a loving tribute to your father. He sounds like he was a wonderful man. Memories do not replace a person, but they will help you to keep him close to your heart for the rest of your life.

May 28, 2010 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. Your father sounded absolutely wonderful and I'm so glad that you were able to spend so much time with him. I know that he will always be with you.

May 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger Jen Zahigian said...

Beautiful, Tina. Love to you and your family.

May 28, 2010 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger TeamMcDonough said...

Lovely ...just lovely ...May you hold your memories close to your ♥ and fresh in your mind always.

May 28, 2010 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Carrie Miller said...

May the memories of his love for you last forever, his breath is now the air you breathe. You are who you are because of him and it will shine through, sun or rain. My deepest condolences to you and your family. May God grant you mercy and peace.

May 28, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger kelly ann said...

i'm crying, this was beautiful, tina. i have no doubt your father is SO proud of you and that he's smiling down on you right now. <3

May 28, 2010 at 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thoughts on your father were beautiful, sweet, kind and real. I loved reading them. I'm glad you got to spend that extra time with your dad you spoke of. Time spent with parents as an adult is priceless and something that's far too often overlooked and taken for granted. xo

May 28, 2010 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Cheryl G. said...

A lovely tribute.
I'm so sorry about your father.

May 28, 2010 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger SustainableFamilies said...

I'm thinking of you. I'm so sorry.

May 28, 2010 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger k.o'brien jewelry said...

what a wonderful man who was truly beautiful and sweet. his words were so prosaic, meaningful and perfect. enjoy the memories!

May 28, 2010 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Marthe said...

What a wonderful entry about a loving father. Keep those words close to your heart and he will always be with you.

You have all my love and thoughts in this difficult time. :)


May 28, 2010 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Continue to keep all the fond memories Tina. He was a remarkable father & man, you are truly blessed*
xo as always~

May 29, 2010 at 12:41 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Very beautiful. I'm sorry for your loss but far more glad for the great gift he was to you. There's nothing in the world like having your dad say how proud he is of who you turned out to be.

May 29, 2010 at 2:46 AM  
Blogger missb@dragonflyvintage said...

Tina, I'm so very sorry for your sad loss. He sounds like a lovely man who was very proud of you - you shall have that in your heart always.

And yes, isn't it interesting how things that seem tragedies at the time (the loss of your job) can, in hindsight, turn out to be blessings. How wonderful that you had the opportunity to spend time with your father before he passed.

The paintbrushes are so dear...and such a nice reminder of your father to have around your home...

Wishing you and your family peace...


May 29, 2010 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger liza said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Tina. What a beautiful tribute to your father.

May 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Kristin Hjellegjerde said...

Sending love and thoughts, welcome back!

May 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Cassandra Marie said...

This post was beautiful :)


May 29, 2010 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Ann-Cathrine said...

My deepest sympathy goes to you and your family. He seems like a man everyone should have known. And what a wonderful tribute to one of his favorite things to arrange the brushes like flowers. I almost cried when I saw it after reading your post.

May 29, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Selma said...

Beautifully written! Nonetheless, I'm so incredibly sorry Tina. My thoughts are with you and your family.

May 29, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

My thoughts are with you during this difficult period. Your writing and thoughts are so pround and sentimental. Embrace the haapy times you shared with your Papa. His spirit is alive - he's always nearby. XX

May 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger nicóle said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Your words brought me to tears, very beautiful and touching. I love the idea of having your father's brushes about the house. I think it's wonderful.


May 29, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Maggie May said...

such deep love makes loss more sharper, and ultimately more bearable. i wish you peace,

May 29, 2010 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Louis Duke said...

Beautifully said. You're in our prayers.

May 29, 2010 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger B said...

What a beautiful post. Praying for whatever brings you peace to your heart.

May 29, 2010 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger liza said...

those paintbrushes are a priceless treasure. i'm truly sorry for your loss.

May 31, 2010 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger Shelley Trbuhovich said...

absolutely gorgeous post and tribute, tina. the idea of your dad's paintbrushes is divine. i'm so sorry for your loss. take care. x

May 31, 2010 at 5:03 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

my thoughts are with you and i'm sorry for your loss. it must be very hard


May 31, 2010 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Ursula said...

Such a lovely post! He will always live on in you. May time heal your pain.

May 31, 2010 at 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderful post .... take care tina xo

May 31, 2010 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger mina said...

a really beautiful post. i'm so very sorry for your loss.

May 31, 2010 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Green Pickles said...

God Bless You - what a beautiful post!
My mum passed away 6 years ago from a long illness so if you need to talk just email me:

Take care of yourself!


June 1, 2010 at 2:53 AM  
Blogger Miki's scrapbook said...

I'm so sorry you've lost your dad. I lost my mom not so long ago so I fell I'm entitled to tell you that the pain leave eventually. Just don't let yourself grieve for too long.

You both were lucky to have been able to give each other a porper goodbye. All thet he's taught you will stay in you forever. So in a way, he'll keep living in you.

A super tight hug for you!

June 1, 2010 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Micaela said...

this truly truly touched my heart. i have tears rolling down my face... of sadness yes; but also of joy that you were there for your father.

i love that you have his paintbrushes around your house as sweet reminders.

do glitter my dear friend. xo

June 1, 2010 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Trina said...

Thank you for posting such a thoughtful and open tribute to your dad. It makes me cherish the time I have left with my dad, though it is limited (he has Alzheimers). I'm reminded that the cheesy moments now will be the ones I will certainly miss the most. I needed to read this.

June 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Penney said...

Dearest Tina,
I had a very similar experience, and I cherish, to this day, every moment we got spend together.
How wonderful for you to have treasures of his spread around.
I think of you often...

June 4, 2010 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I'm sorry this comment is coming a bit late, but I want to tell you how beautiful this post is. I lost my dad some years ago. I am so happy you were able to spend good quality time with your dad in these past months. It really helps. Much love to you!

June 4, 2010 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger The Lil Bee said...

This was the most beautiful tribute you could've ever given your father. He lives on through you and your daughter, and I love that you'll be able to remember some of those moments daily just by looking at his paint brush arrangements.

June 7, 2010 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Geisslein said...

I´m so sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing this heart touching post with us! I wish you a lot of strength and peace! Sending you a big hug from germany, geisslein

June 7, 2010 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

it's clear your father had so much love in his life!! prayers for you and your family.

June 7, 2010 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger sisters in black frocks said...

so sorry for your loss

June 12, 2010 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger roseleann said...

As Father's Day approaches, I am also thinking about my Dad, whom we lost in late November. He would have been 92 on June 8th; he lived a good, long life, but he seemed to go so quickly at the end. I guess you can never quite be prepared to lose someone you love so much. God bless you in the days and months ahead as you remember all the good times you had together.

June 14, 2010 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Woodhead said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but so touched by your post. I found this a while back and I found it moving.

Take care, and much love from England,


July 1, 2010 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Jazzie Casas said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!

Proud to be a Single Dad

February 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM  

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