Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Fathers Day

This is my dad. 
My dad

Yes, I take after him :-) 

Daddy's Girl

He passed away in 1998 and I miss him everyday. The grief never really goes away. You try not to dwell upon it constantly. You eventually learn to think of happy memories when you think of them. 

One of my happy memories of my dad is when he would return from an out-of-town work trip.  In his shirt pocket, there would be a 5 Star candy bar .  As soon as we heard him or saw him at the door, we girls would run up to him and he would lift one of us (whoever got there first) into his arms. I remember many an occasion of grabbing that 5 star candy bar out of his shirt pocket, a pile of joyous giggles.

Since there was always just one candy bar, we sisters had to share. Dad made sure that I divided it and that my sister got to pick. Although I was his favorite, fairness was ensured.

On May 24, which happens to be my dad's birthday, I was telling this shirt pocket and candy bar story to Paul when the Uvalde news broke.  

It was heartbreaking. As details emerged, it only got worse and worse.  How the law enforcement failed the community, how the politicians continued to offer empty platitudes, while making sure their interests are protected and pockets well-lined. The world condemned the shooting, the nation grieved, and most of us moved on.

But I was stuck on all the empty shirt pockets that will never hold a candy bar. 

Shirt Pockets


This is the thing about grief. It is debilitating. It affects you physically. It drains you of all energy and the will to move. I made this quilt to process my feelings. 


In my backyard


Made of old shirt pockets, emptied. I ironed it and basted the pocket openings shut to avoid the creases. Eventually I had to accept the fact that grief is messy and uneven and full of creases and so this quilt will be. 


Messy and Creased


I removed most buttons to ease the quilting process. But four buttons from two pockets were stubborn and I could not remove them without tearing the fabric.  I maneuvered around them.  


Maneuvering around the buttons

I imagined that one of the Uvalde dads works in IT, one works in a factory, some like red and orange, most prefer blue but some prefer muted khaki or plain white. They may have seen each other at the Honor Roll meeting or shared the room at the PTA event. But now all they share is their emptiness.


Stitched Together in Grief


My dad was 53 when he passed away. His death was untimely but he was lucky that all his children outlive him. The Uvalde dads were not. Their grief is unfathomable.  I cannot do anything to lessen their pain or ease their journey. But this is my attempt to acknowledge their grief as I process my own.   


Beautiful Day, Plain Quilt


Paul: What will you do with this quilt?
Me: What can I do with this quilt? It is too plain and too meaningful.
Paul: You should keep it.
Me: For dad?
Paul: For all dads.

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.  If this post has struck a chord with you, feel free to share it. No permission required.

I am managing my grief. But I am also experiencing despair at what has happened and continues to happen (mass shootings continued after Uvalde). I am disgusted at what does not happen, because a handful of politicians choose personal gains over public wellbeing. 

If you have children (or grandchildren), how do you gather the courage to send them to school day after day? More importantly, won't you consider how your vote affects their safety?

37 comments:

  1. The is a beautiful post and a very meaningful quilt. I can't even begin to comprehend how stressful it is for parents in the US in doing something as basic as sending their kids to school and in the back of their minds, hoping that nothing happens and their kids come home safely. It's heart breaking.

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  2. You always churn out a quilt so quickly after a crisis and never fail to make something wonderful. While I sit and despair over the thing that has happened (and there seem to be far too many lately), frustrated at being just one person with one (often marginalized, ignored or otherwise dismissed) voice, you go do something. I need to be more like you! The story of you dad is a great one and you do look a lot like him.

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  3. The state of our country is heartbreaking. Thank you for your words and your quilts. Hugs, quilty sister!

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  4. Your words say what I can never really get across but I feel the same way - when will the politicians do the right thing - yes mental issues are a big problem but they are compounded by the easy access to weapons - combine a solution as so many people want
    I'm sorry you lost your dad way before his time - mine died at the age of 64 before his time as well - I know the grief

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  5. Oh, Preeti-- big, big hugs! I feel very lucky to still have my dad, and my heart is broken for the Uvalde dads. What a great quilt, and a great memory in your story.

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  6. Preeti,
    You never fail to capture the most meaningful message from events, and this message and quilt touched me in ways it’s hard for me to express. My late father came home from work with treats in his pocket, he died too young, and the unspeakable events in Uvalde are tearing me and our country apart. You nailed it!

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  7. I am so sorry that the Uvalde shooting happened at all, but I am especially sorry to hear that it happened on the anniversary of your father passing away. Grief is such a strange beast. I have a grief anniversary that nearly overwhelms me every year on October 31st. I have a coping strategy in place that I hope will help for this year, but only time will tell, and as you are well aware, each day and each year are different. I continue to contact all my representatives, and I pledge to continue to vote for those who would be better humans. Sending you love.

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  8. A wonderful memory of your day and a fitting tribute to other dads.

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  9. Don't forget those who watch their parent(s) go to a job they love and never come home. Our educational systems are being degraded enough by politicians without the NRA and shooters.

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  10. A quilt to process your grief is quite fitting, Preeti.

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  11. A beautiful tribute to your Father... and all the wonderful Father's! We always teased my Dad about having a plastic pocket protector inside his pockets where he safely stored a pen and pencil at all times :)

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  12. Oh gosh, Preeti What a nice post. About your Dad, and you, and loss, and memories . . . I could hardly read toward the end but wanted to give you a {{hug}}. And to thank you for sharing. Sewing the pockets shut - OMG. How symbolic. On a happy note, you sure do take after your father! There is no doubt about it, and what a wonderful man he was to have such a fabulous daughter. {{Hugs}} a whole bunch more! ~smile~ Roseanne

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  13. Thank you for a moving post. When I left my grandsons at the school door last week, I wondered if they would be in one piece when they came home. Such a terrible thought to contemplate and all because our elected leaders are spineless.

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  14. Thank you for a window to a happy family with such a loving father. I am so very glad you shared that with all of us, as we can now face the world with the knowledge of another good person who dwelled here with us - and the knowledge of you and your husband, dwelling here now and making the world brighter.

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  15. My Dad was a bus driver and when he came home he put his hat on my head and handed me his lunch box - I can still remember the smell of the hat and how it felt - he too died before his time at 59. Use this quilt to watch movies, sit in the park with a picnic, get a little mustard on it, love it. It is beautiful and a treasure.

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  16. Your writing resonates with my feelings about the sadness for these dads. Thank you for sharing your feelings in words, it is helping me process my despair and sadness too. Your quilt is a lovely tribute to your own Dad, and dads everywhere. Thank you for all your sharing.

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    1. Ditto, with gratitude for your sharing.

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  17. It surely made me cry… and I felt like you calling didi as I used to some time ago. 😘😘😘

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    1. Please identify yourself, my love!

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    2. Your post meant so much to me on so many levels! I do feel the anger and frustration and the pain of the families! Two years ago, I lost my 51 year old son to Lou Gehrig's Disease. Eight months earlier I lost my 59 year old son to Cardiac Arrest. I cannot imagine the pain these families feel losing their babies. I grieve daily and miss them both as these families will. We live on and function and survive and there days when I laugh and smile but the loss never goes away. For our lost ones, we continue with our lives ...living the best lives we can for them.

      My Dad lived to 87 .. I was fortunate. My mother was 61 and my older sister 59. I will be 85 thismonth. I have been blessed in so many way. Thank you for your beautiful tribute and post.

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  18. You and your father has such lovely open faces, and how beautifully he is remembered and shared with us. And yes, the disgust for politicians and authority figures is beyond words for me.

    ceci in VA

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  19. Beautiful sad post ... I'm sorry ...

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  20. Again, I have no words for the sheer and utter horror of this situation. I am sorry it happened on a significant day for you, but pleased you were able to share the memories of your father, a pocket, and a candy bar in such a poignant way. The quilt that came from these memories is such a contrast to your experience but woven into your life in a unique way. Grief is hard and unpredictable and comes and goes. Hugs, my friend.

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  21. The shirt pocket story really made me smile - and think of my own father who passed away in 1990, also too young. And I love the pocket quilt. I have no words either for the grief of Uvalde. As a teacher for most of my adult life I found myself trying to imagine how it would have been impossible to keep my students safe in the old school building I taught in - because my classroom door didn’t lock.

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  22. Thank you for writing this, and for sharing your grief and your quilt. We all grieve with you. Hugs, Sylvia

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  23. This was a timely post for me to read today, as tomorrow marks the anniversary of my own father's death in 2016. I still have the Father's Day card I was planning to give him that year, tucked away in one of my desk drawers. I love your memories of candy bars in pockets -- have you ever read or seen the play Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon? The character Nora is a teenage girl who has lost her father, and she has a monologue where she's sharing her memory of him with her younger sister: "When I was six or seven he always brought me home a little surprise. Like a Hershey or a top. He'd tell me to go get it in his coat pocket. So I'd run to the closet and put my hand in and it felt as big as a tent. I wanted to crawl in there and go to sleep. And there were all these terrific things in there, like Juicy Fruit gum or Spearmint Life Savers and bits of cellophane and crumbled pieces of tobacco and movie stubs and nickels and pennies and rubber bands and paper clips and his grey suede gloves that he wore in the winter time. Then I found his coat in Mom's closet and I put my hand in the pocket. And everything was gone. It was emptied and dry-cleaned and it felt cold... And that's when I knew he was really dead." So this play is set in Brooklyn, New York during the Great Depression, and your indelible memories of candy bars in your father's pocket were formed decades later in India. Even though it's a private, personal memory for you, it must resonate with so many grown children who delighted in the treasures found in their daddy's pockets, and the finality of stitching all of the pockets closed is so profound. I love this work, with its grief-creased messiness and all. Sending you hugs.

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  24. I am taking strength from you calling out this insanity with guns. Let me be even more specific... no one needs an automatic assault rifle with mega cartridges. Hopefully there will be a small change in the guns laws (as I'm sure they won't vote a bigger change...) Your quilt is wonderfully creative. And, the first thing I thought as I saw a man's picture in your link was, hum, he looks like Preeti. Or I should say you look like him? I'm learning to speak out for what I believe in from you. Thank you for being open about your opinions.

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  25. This year is the 20th anniversary of my father's death and you are right... grief never goes away. We just learn to live with it. Your quilt is so meaningful in a number of ways. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. Peace to you.

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  26. enJOYed seeing your memory projects. I've been making Memory quilts since 2012 from my parent's garments for family and caregivers. Then I started offering them in leu of flowers to extended family and close friends. Now, sadly, I have to make my own with my dear Mr. G's garments after losing him to the virus Nov. 30. I know what you mean by debilitating. Some days, I just don't have energy, the drive or the mojo to sew or do anything. Good luck with processing your loss.

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  27. A beautiful memorial to you Dad and all Dads!

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  28. Forty-four years since my dad died, and I still miss him every day. But I was an adult, and he was 64. My heart breaks for all of the families of those children in Uvalde-- the parents, the siblings, the cousins, the grandparents, the neighbors. The entire community has been destroyed by this terrible, horrible, awful crime, and the authorities are stonewalling them all. I try really hard not to despair, but it gets harder and harder. I love your effort to sew your grief and really appreciate your sharing this wonderful homely quilt. May it give you peace.

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  29. Lovely post, as always. Thank you for sharing your very meaningful quilt on Wednesday Wait Loss

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  30. Preeti, thank you for such a beautiful post. I too lost my Dad and miss him everyday. His candy was a roll of peppermint lifesavers, always in his shirt pocket. You quilt is perfect with the pockets reminding you of him each day. Use it daily!!

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  31. A meaningful quilt and post. I wish it would change the hearts of people.

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  32. I lost my father only in January this year but your quilt has brought a smile to my face and fond memories. Such a beautiful idea, thank you for sharing.

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  33. Preeti, you touched a nerve in many people. It's difficult to lose a parent no matter your age. Your quilt will have a good home.

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  34. Oh Preeti, I'm so sorry for your loss, and for Ulvade too. The quilt you made is a beautiful tribute to your dad, and I can't imagine loosing mine. I send you a lot of hugs ❤

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