This is a true story of parents love for their daughter. I will attempt to tell the story without too many tears and emotions, for it is a very beautiful story indeed.
I graduated from nursing school in 1979. I was offered many different positions upon graduating. I chose to work in the town where I grew up so that I could be close to my family. My fathers health was not good and I wanted to be close to home at this time. He was battling a failing heart as a result of repeated heart attacks. There were many ups and downs in his battle with heart disease. Countless admissions to hospital, two open heart surgeries for coronary artery bypass procedures, and many repeated episodes of congestive heart failure. Through every admission to the hospital, my Dads spirit was always positive for he had so much more living to do.
I arrived home from my schooling and began my first nursing job. After studying for so many years with so little time, now I quickly learned I had to much time on my hands with nothing to do. My mother suggested a hobby. She thought that making a quilt would be a very good winter project and would be useful in the years ahead. A very good idea indeed. The following day I went to the fabric store a purchased all the materials needed for this very elaborate and ornate quilt. Surely this would occupy my time and keep me busy. My parents watched me work feverishly cutting and measuring all the pieces for the squares for this quilt. All the time my Dad was taking bets from the rest of the family members that this quilt will never be finished. It was an ongoing joke in the family, when will this quilt be finished? My dad answer was to say " In the new millennium I think"!
Well, it did not take but a month for the quilt to take a second place interest to other things I found to occupy my time. The quilt pieces now stored in closet and almost forgotten. After two years of living at home and my Dads health slowing improving, I decided it was time for me to find my own place in life. I moved to Winnipeg and started a new job and career. I again attended another school of nursing, this one for Intensive Care Nursing.
For the next 14 years I worked in the Adult Medical Intensive Care Unit. One day I got a rather troubling phone call from my Mother. Dad is not doing very well, and is in the hospital. His heart is giving him more trouble she told me. With that information, I called my husband and we were traveling home to see my Dad. My every instinct was telling me this was a very defining moment in my life. We arrived at the hospital, and my eyes immediately filled with tears. Deep down in my own heart I knew my Dads heart was far to weak to endure this one more episode of heart failure. How do I tell this to my Mother and my brothers and sisters? I could hardly believe it myself, after all my Dad was invincible. I made arrangements to have him air-lifted by plane to Winnipeg where he would be given every possible chance at life. After three long days of struggling for life, my fathers fight for life had ended. I was completely devastated,how could this be happening? My family and I had lost someone whom we loved so dearly. In his final hours and moments of life he gave so much of his love to us so unselfishly. Even now when I write these moments down, I feel such a terrible sense of loss. It never seems to get any easier as time goes on. My Dad died on Sept 10/ 1997.
My 41 st birthday was now at hand. I was visiting my Mother in my home town that particular weekend. My Mother told me she had a very special gift for my birthday and it was from both my Dad and from my Mother. I had no idea what she could mean by that statement, I was quite confused by it. She handed me this beautifully wrapped box and I was asked to unwrap it. All my brothers and sisters were now present in the room and I noticed that they were all crying. Now I was very bothered by all of this strange behavior. I unwrapped the gift and immediately began to cry myself. I was holding the quilt that I started making more than 20 years ago. It was completed, but by whom I asked? They were working on it the whole time I was living away from home. Mom told me that Dad did much of the work himself. My Mom had the finishing touches done by her ladies league group.
I cannot describe the emotions I felt at that very moment. I was overwhelmed by love, that my parents loved me so much that they would do this for me. To receive this beautiful gesture of love four years after fathers death made it just that more meaningful.
As I wrap this quilt around me every night, I feel as if I have my fathers arms wrapped around me. It brings me so much comfort. Thus, I know now why they call them "comforters"!