19 August 2016


i have tried several times to write this post.
sometimes, i hit the backspace button so often, it's all the more discouraging. today, i feel like it's really gonna happen. here's hoping!

it's been 6 months, give or take, since i've publicly communicated with the quilting world. i've had a few of those "close" friends, within the community, reach out to me. and lately, i've received several inquires on my whereabouts, updated teaching schedules, and possible new pattern releases.

here's the whole truth.
the day before my last blog post, my daddy was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 lung cancer. the only reason my last post was actually posted, is because it was already prepped and scheduled for posting prior to our devastating news. (thank goodness.)

this year, has been nothing short of a blur. being that i'm the only one of us children in the state of georgia, i've been the kid here for my daddy. we've endured every imaginable up & down that comes with the cancer territory.

at daddy's diagnosis appointment, it was carefully explained to us that chemo wouldn't cure him. it would only be utilized as a tool to contain the cancer that had already spread. and that chemo would also be used to prolong his life. the room spun. i felt like i was watching a movie of someone else's life. i did "okay" in the oncologist's office, but the minute my daddy left my driveway, i broke down. at this very minute, i can clearly think of that day, and my heart just aches at the thought of what my children might've seen. (to be clear, it's the brokenness i speak of. i didn't hit anyone or break things. i just cried and sobbed uncontrollably for several hours.)

i know it's said often, but now i can, with every fiber of my being, shout to the masses, that "i hate cancer." experiencing this firsthand, with a parent, has to be one of the most heartbreaking things in the world. (please don't read that as a belittling statement. i know there are parents of cancerous children going through this. i'm just speaking from my own personal feelings.)

i went back & forth, for the longest time, on what is/was the "right" or "wrong" thing to say to y'all. i've recently come to realize, that there isn't a right or wrong. although, we live in a society that is offended by EVERYTHING, it's up to me on what i put out there about myself. maybe this post is more about me "getting it out" instead of me telling you where i've been. i don't know.

so, here it is.
i'm mostly a mess.
sure, some days are better than others.
sometimes, i can fake it 'til i make it.
but other times, it's all i do to not completely fall apart.

treatment weeks are hard.
the days following treatment are harder.
watching my big, strong father wither away, is harder still.
with every treatment and hospitalization, i feel like a piece of me dies.

we had a great report one prior visit. we were told that although my daddy was as sick and fragile as he was, the chemotherapy was working beautifully. we were even told that the cancer, which had spread to two main places in his body, was shrinking. the official report was that it had shrunk 50-60%. we had a glimpse of hope. i remember that day vividly as well.

the chemotherapy did start making my daddy so sick, that the oncologist suggested a "break" from treatment. even during the break, my dad was in and out of the hospital. after a while, he started to feel better. he even looked better. he was looking like my daddy again.

then, we went for another CT scan.
the results were devastating, yet again.
the official results were that the cancer was growing at an alarming rate. the exact phrasing was, "your cancer is very angry."
this is where we had the quality vs quantity conversation. yet again, another day that felt like i was watching someone else's life in a movie.

and to top it off, during his most recent hospitalization, we discovered that my daddy needed surgery to remove kidney stones.

we're all adults. we know the world can be a cruel place. we know that life isn't fair. and that we can't always get what we want. does this knowledge make things any easier whatsoever? hell no, it doesn't.

i'm sad.
i'm angry.
i'm devastated.
i'm hopeful.
i'm defeated.
i'm exhausted.
but i'm also thankful.

i've tried, several times, to picture what this situation would be like if i was still living in ohio. i thank god (& my husband) that i moved home over two years ago. well, we moved, not just i, but georgia is my home state. y'all know what i mean. anyways, i just can't grasp the notion of not being with my daddy during this time.

i really and truly try to be positive.
it's easier said than done, but i give it my all.

some positive things that i try to focus on:
--daddy is still living and fighting his cancer
--our oldest, jackson, is a freshman and he played his first game of high school football last night (they won!)
--our youngest, lindsey, is in kindergarten
--our middles, melanie & andrew, are my favorite "little" longhorn cheerleader & football player and they are now in 5th and 4th grade
--my husband holds me when i need held, cheers me up whenever i'm down, and encourages my "i need to go see my daddy right now" moments

i have recently had a desire to quilt. i think it's a form therapy i might need. maybe it'll help me feel like i can create something beautiful during this point in time. i don't really know. i'm winging it a lot these days. BUT i have actually had the itch to sit at my machine after months. i'm sure that means something, right?

i know PS I QUILT is a space where everything is supposed to be beautiful and inspiring, but life isn't always that way, is it? i can't be true to myself if i only show y'all the "highlights" of my life. and maybe i'm just being a little selfish. maybe i just need/want something back in my life that isn't entirely about cancer, my daddy, my kids, or my husband. does that make sense?

i hope this "needing to create things with fabric" feeling sticks around. i never know what i'll wake up to, so i can't make promises. if i do have the ability to sit at my machine and share it here, i will. i don't know when i'll post again, or what it'll even be about. i do know, it's just comforting knowing that i have this space to be me; wether it's good, bad, inspiring, honest, beautiful or ugly.

xo, rachel

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