Sunday, December 2, 2012

In Thanksgiving

I finished stitching "give thanks" last night. This project will forever have a different meaning to me after the events of the last week. My brother passed away very suddenly the day after Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I was able to drive back home on Thanksgiving morning and arrive in time to be able to speak with him before he began to slip away from us. I give thanks for that. Over the next twenty-four hours, friends and family drifted in and out of the ICU waiting room. Family members whom I hadn't seen in many years were there to strengthen and renew family ties while giving comfort and support. I give thanks for that.

I give thanks for a kind Christian doctor who was there with us as we made the difficult decision to discontinue treatment when it was so obvious that there was nothing more that medicines and machines could do for my brother. When the machines that buzzed and beeped and tracked every breath my brother took were removed and the room became very quiet, this doctor put his arms around my sister-in-law and I and said "Pierce is on his way to meet God now". I am thankful that he was able to express his own faith to us in that way. I also give thanks for one of the nurses who was quietly working in the background during this time and softly humming a hymn. I don't know the hymn but it immediately took me back to our childhood and a much loved woman who worked for our family and often went about her work humming hymns. I am most thankful that my brother died quietly and peacefully surrounded by those who loved and cared for him.

I give thanks that we laid my brother to rest next to my mother on such a beautiful, late fall afternoon this past Monday. We were overwhelmed at the number of friends who came to pay their respects. I was so proud of my nephew, Derek, who gave a very heartfelt eulogy for this father. I give thanks for the minister who officiated at the service. He knew my brother for many years and their long friendship was so evident in the scripture he chose to read and the personal remarks he made during the service.

I give thanks that I have a son who never fails to step up and take on responsibility when it is placed upon his shoulders. My father had a habit of always telling Andrew to "look after my little girl" - me - and Andrew took that to heart. My father would be so very proud of him and the fine, honorable man that Andrew has become. I give thanks that I have a son and daughter-in-law who wanted to go to the cemetery on the day before the funeral to clean the cross and markers in our family plot. I know my mother was smiling down from heaven as we worked.

When I chose to begin stitching "give thanks" a few weeks ago, I did so because it seemed like an obvious project for this time of year.  It seems there was a greater plan involved in that choice. It has given me the opportunity to sit here and reflect on this past week and be reminded of the many things and special people for which I am thankful. I give thanks that my son encouraged me to begin blogging about needlepoint because it has allowed me to make so many wonderful friends - most of whom I will probably never meet except through this blog! But we have a shared love of needlework which makes us instant friends. Earlier this week, those of you who knew of my loss were quick to reach out to me. I could feel your hugs and love around me. I give thanks for you!

I am most thankful for my brother, Pierce
February 8, 1957 - November 23, 2012


  1. I'm always fascinated by the back story of the pieces we chose to stitch and what they mean to us. Thank you so much for sharing this very moving story with us. You should attach this post to the finished product if you can. (Print on the back of the frame, stuff it in the pillow just to make sure this story doesn't get lost.) Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family this holiday season.

  2. Melinda, I am sorry for your loss. It had to be a tough Thanksgiving but the story is very touching. Your Give Thanks Will always be a special treasure, Margaret

  3. I am thankful for knowing you and having met you. Your brother was truly a lucky man to have you as his sister. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.

  4. Melinda,I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful way to remember him. Writing down all the nuances of the moments will keep them closer to your heart.

  5. Your blog is always special but this week especially so. Your tribute is so touching and so heartfelt. You are in my prayers thru this difficult time. Many hugs

    Sue V

  6. Melinda, I'm so sorry for your loss. Just want you to know that I'm sending hugs and prayers your way.

  7. Oh dear, Melinda, my eyes are brimming over with tears as I type. Thank you for so eloquently expressing your thoughts and your loss with us. I am moved beyond words and am so very sorry for your loss. My brother has stepped up
    as the man in the family since my Dad's passing, and both Mom and I have leaned on him greatly. I can't imagine losing him.
    Your Give Thanks will truly hold the link to that memory forevermore.
    Blessings and prayers to you.

  8. Melinda,

    My condolences on the loss of your brother. Your tribute to him was touching and heartfelt. My thoughts go out to you at this sad time.


  9. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that all the love you shared will be your strength over the days ahead.

  10. Dear Melinda,
    I discovered your blog some time ago and often check in to see what you are stitching...and basically catch up. I am saddened to hear of the loss of your precious brother but am so thankful that you have a wonderful support system in your son. He sounds like a remarkable young man who is married to a very sweet girl. Please know that your friends out here are lifting you up in prayers for strength and peace. All the best to you, sweet friend.

  11. Dear Melinda,
    I am a regular reader of your blog and I was saddened to learn of your sudden loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you as you deal with your brother's passing. I shared your experience three years ago when my brother joined God at the age of 54. May the love of God, family and friends keep you at this time. Judy

  12. Dear Miss Melinda. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post and tribute to your brother. I am thankful to YOU for it. I hope that you find peace and comfort in the coming days. With love from a stitchy pal,

  13. Melinda-It saddens me to hear of the loss os Pierce. My brother died when he was 10 years old and I was 16 and it was devastating and I still miss him. I am so glad yu were there. xo Carolyn

  14. I am still thinking about you and hoping all the messages from friends are giving you comfort.