Jul 13, 2015

Bittersweet Monday Update 7/13/15

It was one year ago today that my Dad passed away from soft tissue sarcoma, a rare cancer.  He was a Dad to four children, Grandpa to seven grandkids, Great Grandpa to one, and a Husband.  He was also a military veteran, mechanic, woodworker, fisherman, and carpenter.  He believed in self-sufficiency and doing for oneself.  His clothing of choice was a pair of jeans and a tshirt.  In the past, I've written about him HERE and HERE

Last Saturday, we sold my parents belongings and real estate by auction.  It was both an emotionally and physically draining day.  Sad to see a lifetime go for pennies on the dollar, literally.  Approximately three dozen people attended the auction.  Most were family members or people who worked with my brother.  Halfway through the auction, it started raining.  In hindsight, we would've been better off selling my Dad's mechanic, machinist, and woodworking tools ourselves and then donating the rest to Goodwill.

To illustrate my Dad's woodworking skills...  Twenty-four years ago, I saw a blanket chest in a catalog.  I think it was Fingerhut.  I tore the ad out and asked my Dad if he could build me something like it.  With no hesitation, he confirmed he could and hung the little piece of paper on a nail near his toolbox in the garage.  It hung there for months and months.

In 1992, he presented me with a beautiful blanket chest... with a few alterations he thought was necessary.  He lined it with cedar and put wheels on the bottom so I could move it around easily if I needed to.

Isn't it beautiful?  Handmade by my Dad from a picture only, this chest has moved with me from place to place and it has been one of my prized possessions.

While cleaning out my Dad's work area in the garage, we found the ad I tore out of the catalog... still hanging on the nail where he originally hung it.

Isn't it amazing how similar my Dad's chest is to the ad?  Even the hardware is the same!  I like the stain he chose for my chest better than the ad.  I think he used cherry or maple stain.  I had forgotten what the ad looked like until we found it.  Now, it will stay in the bottom of the chest with a story about how it was built.  A time capsule of sorts.

It's been a tough year for my siblings and me. The loss still brings tears to our eyes and hurts our hearts.  :(  We all still miss him.


Cricket-bug Corner said...

I'm sorry. Selling stuff is so hard. That chest is beautiful.

connie said...

So sorry for your loss Meari..I love the chest your Dad made for you..Hugs

Anonymous said...

Dear Meari

Sorry you are going through such a tough time. Sending hugs

From UK

Debbie said...

Sorry it's been a tough time for you and your siblings. Stay strong.

Nataly K said...

Heavy heart but wonderful memories. So happy you have a hand crafted keepsake from your dad. A true treasure.

Katie said...

Wow I can't believe it's been a year. My mom and me still have bad days dealing with the loss of her parents. I seems like just yesterday but then you realize it's been a long time in reality. Big Hugs. Your chest is gorgeous. I'm so thankful for the things my Grandfather built for me. I'm glad you found the ad. How perfect to always remember just how he did it.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for how your parents things were treated. Their should have been more respect for them ( your parents) than what was shown. The chest your father made is gorgeous. It is a beautiful reminder of the love your father had for you.
Betty in AZ

Joy said...

Hugs Meari! The first year is always the hardest. Next February will mark 10 years since my dad died. I was 21 at the time so he's missed both my college graduations, my wedding and both my kids. It gets a little easier every year but the pain never really goes away.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I hope you can get a better deal on the house with a new roof.

I hope it stops raining soon.

Heidi McJunkin

Faith... said...

Sorry for the experience you had with the auction. People always want something for nothing unfortunately. You have your memories though and that is more important than anything in the world. The chest is absolutely beautiful and what an awesome keepsake full of love he presented you with.

Anonymous said...

Your chest is beautiful. What a wonderful way to keep a memory of your dad. I love your idea of putting the ad and a story about the chest inside --- it will document the chest and it's history for centuries to come.

About the sale of personal things: Remember the saying "All things happen for a reason". You may not know why now, but you will someday and then you can accept that the items were sold for so little dollars.

Judi in Phoenix

Pam in IL said...

The chest is beautiful! I like it better than the catalog. Your story is so special and a great memory to keep with the chest. Sorry that the auction was a disappointment. Sending you hugs and keeping you in my prayers!

Carol said...

What a beautiful remembrance from your talented father, Meari. I know well the feelings you went through as you held your estate sale. It is just so sad to see your history vanishing right before your eyes. My sisters and I had our parents estate sale three years ago and it still breaks my heart to think about that day... You have had one exceptionally difficult year--I do hope this year is better for you in every way. Sending a hug your way!

Deb said...

Your dad's chest is much better than the add. So sorry you are having such a diffucult time with dispersing the estate. This has to be so heart breaking. I hope things become more settled and your family gets good results with the house. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Vickie said...

Hugs for you Meari. This was a neat post. I love that the add was still on the nail in the garage. I got choked up actually.

Anonymous said...

Oh Meari -

You have had a very rough week. My heart just aches for you. I loved reading your blog about your dad. He was so very talented - and handsome too! I love the blanket chest he made for you. It looks much nicer than the one in the ad. I know you'll treasure it for years and years.

It's a shame about the auction and the poor turn-out. It seems people are always looking for some great, fantastic deal and always try to get something for cheaper than the asking price. At least that's what I found out when we were doing garage sales last year. Some people would offer us insulting prices on our furniture - and our furniture wasn't cheap to begin with. Even stuff that we had for 25 cents, people would offer a dime. Really???? We had much better luck using Craigslist to sell a lot of our stuff.

Anyway, hang in there, my dear. I'm told things get better over time.


Anonymous said...

Dear Meari,

I am very sorry for the loss of your father and for the disappointment of the auction. I read the story about your chest. It will always be a good memory for you.

You will always feel the loss but with the perspective of time I hope that like the sundial, you will record only the sunny hours.


Irene said...

Your Dad did a beautiful job on the blanket chest. How cool to have found the ad still on the wall!

I know the disappointment of selling things by auction. It's all done now though, so you can all focus more on treasured memories and good times. He will always be with you.

*-* said...

I'm sorry you have had little success with your estate sale.

What a beautiful chest, your Father was so clever, no doubt you treasure this wonderful gift, made by his hands.

Meari, tears will surely come even after a year. My Mother has been gone for 11 years & sometimes I still weep. I've been told, it is a measure of the love we had for that person.
Sending you enfolding hugs,

gominam said...

He's indeed been a wonderful dad to you and to be so lucky you have a piece of him to cherish, That chest is a treasure. Lost my mom six years ago, and the first ever cross stitch I made which she framed right away still hangs in my parents bedroom, brings so many wonderful memories.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for all you have been through. It isn't nice and have had to do it a few times myself. Hopefully you can sell the house for good price when you have finished and then look to the future.

Luv and hugs
Frances xxx

Justine said...

What a beautiful chest your Dad created! A wonderful reminder of his love for you. Sorry to hear about the auction it must have been very hard. Please try to remember they are just things and the important stuff like memories and love will always be with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Meari

I can remember back to when I finally parted with my parents' possessions, including their home. Although their home sold for a fair price, it felt like their actual belongings were just being given away. Most ended up being either disposed of at a refuse site or a charity shop. I felt awful for months, as if I had dishonoured my parents and their life. But I consoled myself with the knowledge that the people who bought bits must have wanted them - some as reminders of my parents, and others because they needed them. What I'm trying to say is that we all feel sorrow when part of our history is sold for less than we expect. But perhaps in these days and our economy, they have actually sold for a reasonable price without the emotional attachment.
The one year anniversary of a parent's death is traumatic. Each year that passes makes it a little easier - the pain never completely goes away, but I pray that you find it easier to cope with as the time passes. My thoughts are with you.


Anonymous said...


I can empathize on the auction. I tried to get some things cleared out, and put them up. I barely got anything. And all the stuff I told the auctioneer not to put into lots, like antique tools and other antiques and paintings, he went ahead and did anyway. I think I should have put a reserve on more items. It was pitiful the prices things went for, and like your auction, there was hardly anybody there.​


Marexstitch said...

What a truly special memory of your dad and his lovely thoughtful artistic gift to you. That chest is beautiful and its history is priceless. Some things are more than the sum of their raw materials like your chest. It is something made with love and skill and it is something to cherish. Your parents live on through you and those whose lives they touched. It's hard not to associate the love you feel for them on to their things. Good luck with selling the house. I hope another family can blossom and grow as yours did in that home. It has some seriously good ksrma to live up to.

DebbieSFL said...

I am sorry for your pain and having to deal with the auction at this time must have been so much harder. I love the chest that your dad made for you and it is really cool that you found the ad and could save it with the chest.
Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

Meari, you have been truly blessed with a Dad that made such a wonderful blanket chest and I know you will cherish that piece as it was made with love. Sorry to hear about the auction and that is one of the reasons I will not have a garage sale as people want your things for next to nothing. Hope you get a better deal with the house.


StitchinByTheLake said...

What wonderful memories to treasure! blessings, marlene

Anonymous said...

Our life challenges suck sometimes. I dread the day I have to deal with the loss of my parents. They're both in their 80s so I'm trying to prepare mentally hopefully it's uphill from here for you. I laughed at the fact you stitched in your car lol that would be me too.


Anonymous said...


I know it had to be a difficult and sad day for you and your siblings. And, when you see that items sold for much less than their value, that is disheartening. I lost my mother 21 years ago and my father 16 years ago and that first anniversary of their passing was so hard. Each year is hard, but the impact softens a bit. I miss them each and every day, as I imagine you do your parents. Life brings us so much joy - but, some things are just plain tough to handle.

I hope that doing the remodeling work on the house will help it to sell for a valid price. All the best to you and your siblings.

Nancy V in TN

Anonymous said...

Awwwww Meari, sorry the last few days have been hard. I remember taking some of my mother's books and records to local shops to sell them and being disappointed when they either didn't want them or offered a low amount. It is very hard to "get rid" of a parents possessions. Really do understand how u feel. Hope the rain will at least stop for you.

Emily in NC

Anonymous said...

Hi Meari,

I wish I could reach you and give you a big hug! I'm so sorry for all you are going through. I'll be praying for you and your family as you navigate all these challenges and just know we are here for you if you need to talk, vent, or whatever. Hang in there...


Anonymous said...

Hello Meari,

I am so sorry to hear of all your troubles and tears. I can relate to your situations.

Always remember, you can do a mini stitching vacation over here any time you would like. Just give me a few days notice.

I am in the middle of a very long and troublesome cataract surgery. I have encountered every complication known to man including my eye being blackened. BUT, I refuse to let it take me down!!

Love and Hugs,

Anonymous said...

Dear Meari

Sending cyber hugs wish I was nearer so I could actually help

From UK

Anonymous said...

Great story about your dad Meari and what a beautiful piece of furniture that I'm sure will be cherished the family forever. How wonderful you found the original paper that inspired it and it will now be a testament to his love of family.

We've been fairly lucky up here north of you to have missed almost all the rain.


Anonymous said...

Oh Meari,

That would have been a hard weekend even without the rain, low turnout, and low sales. Hugs to you. The blanket chest your dad made is beautiful.

Karin in CA

Anonymous said...


Love the story about your dad. I am sure that you will always treasure your blanket chest, it is beautiful!'


Anonymous said...


I'm so glad I got to read this story about your dad. I agree that the chest he created for you looked better than your original. The stain is beautiful, and it's a wonderful way to remember him going forward.

Sandy in NM

Akila said...

Wow, has a year flown by so fast!!! That's such a beautiful chest he made for you, which will be cherished life long

Kay said...

The chest your father made for you is beautiful! I hope you are doing ok, I know as time goes on you never stop missing your parents.