This is my first Father’s Day without a father. Robert David Wurden died last August, and the summer of 2012 was filled with difficult weeks as Dad declined and died. At the same time, the summer was filled with beautiful memories of last trips up north to visit him. My Kentucky-raised husband Mike came up to Bygland on the weekend of the Kentucky Derby and we had a betting contest and drank authentic mint juleps. My mother was an incredible caregiver, and even to the end they hoped for a miracle. Could asparagus be a cure? Dad added pureed asparagus to the small meals he was able to eat. On one of Dad’s last days, spent in the living room looking over the beautiful yard and miles of fields, we asked if he wanted us to raise the bed so that he was sitting up more. “You just want to toss me out the window,” he said. Dad to the end.
So here’s the weaving angle to this story. My parents lived in Arizona in the winter and I visited during the last winter of my dad’s life. We went to church and a cross symbol was on the front of the bulletin. This is the last time I’ll be in this church with my father, I thought, and tucked away the bulletin. In the summer, during my father’s last week, I began to weave the cross image on a small wooden box loom. It sat on the dining room table, near his bed, and I wove a few shots nearly every time I passed it. Sometimes I just sat next to him and wove, feeling inadequate, unsure of what I should be doing or saying.
When I returned home after the funeral, I had a partially-finished weaving (and a kitten).
The piece is now finished and mounted; the weaving is 4 inches square and the mounted size is 6 inches square. I will give it to the lovely pastor of Bygland Lutheran Church the next time I visit my mother. Pastor Karen Young Trenne was a tremendous comfort to my father and to the rest of our family.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I miss you. Robbie