Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Good Man

In recent posts I've mentioned my pop-in-law's medical crisis.  It has now come to an end and I feel compelled to share.  Bear with me.  This is an art blog and I'll include how my artist was affected, though it seems a small thing compared to his struggle.

2014 will always be the year without spring.  Flowers bloomed, leaves appeared, and nests were filled.  We scarcely noticed.  Early tulips held no joy.  Recent irises are melancholy.  I couldn't draw spring.  I managed a few other pages.  Some held concerning objects like prescription bottles and hospital masks.  Others, though not medical, will forever be markers of the ordeal, such as the day we took my pop-in-law back to the hospital or the moment of hope at the nursing facility.

Days and weeks passed.  Improvements were fleeting.  Father and son are close, having farmed together since forever.  The growing concern weighed on my husband.  My sisters-in-law came often, but between visits relied on us for information - worrying at times from afar.  I had no desire to sketch or even cook.  We existed on a drive thru diet to and from the hospital.  We watched my pop-in-law's health sink beyond hope.  There was little comfort in food or nature or art.  I've seen other bloggers draw their loved ones in the hospital.  I couldn't.  The man in the bed was not the spirited, jovial man I had known for 30 years.  To draw him now seemed a betrayal.

Al lived a long, good life and was a man of faith.  He was a husband, father, grandpa, farmer, veteran, dancer, welder, crooner, poker player, bowler, galushki maker, and favorite uncle.  Extended family was precious to him.  He was quick-witted and had an amazing knack with one-liners.  He was ready to lend a hand or give advice.  When he offered praise, it was honest and true.  He was grateful for harvest field meals, but it took years to earn a firm compliment of my cooking.  What a day of victory that was!  I will miss our banter.

We are in process of digitizing old faculty files in my office and last week I came across a lovely comment regarding the 1941 death of the university president.  The sentiment expressed suits my pop-in-law...

My son aptly stated yesterday - It's still sad and weird, but we will be alright.  Healing will be found in each other and, to some extent for me, in sketching life continuing around us.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our Day of Color

My pop-in-law entered the rehab facility yesterday.  He responded quite well and showed obvious relief to be out of the hospital.  Optimism was rampant.  Last night I felt ready to dive back into Sketchbook Skool and tackled a colored pencil assignment.

Early this morning it was back to ICU with a not so great prognosis.  Whatever happens, I thank the good Lord for our one day of color.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Crisis and Recovery

My pop-in-law has been hospitalized for nearly a month now.  It's been a very tough ride for him and difficult to watch.  However, within a week he will be released to a nursing facility for continued recovery and rehab.  This is wonderful news!

The tractor sketch in the previous post was done hours before we took him back to the hospital in April.  Since that time, my heart hasn't been in a creative place.  While my sisters-in-law were in town & on hospital duty one evening, I rode along to help my husband with farming tasks.  A little time sitting in the pickup resulted in the first pages in 3 weeks.  My fingers felt heavy and the voice in my head was awfully loud about how not-so-great it was, but whatever.  In the end, it was a bit of needed therapy.

These are both in my little Moleskine - first pen & watercolor of a houseless farm in the distance.  Those little brown things are box cars, which are often used for storage.  This paper doesn't like watercolor washes.  The second page was fairly quick - recording what I could see in the side mirror as my husband finished up the field.  Didn't have time to add the bottom half.

There is hope again.  We look forward to some sense of normalcy and a little bit of boredom.  As I told my sister today, considering the past two months, boring is awesome!  Maybe we can get back to the house updating soon and I can move into the studio room and my pop-in-law can sit in his living room again and cuss about the wheat price.
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