The New Year

Hi and Happy New Year everyone!

I hope the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 has treated you well.

My apologies again for the looooong pause in blogging.  This Fall was not quite what I had expected.

I’m very sorry to report that, at the very end of October my dad passed away.

Now, when speaking of a 95 year old one can never, with a straight face, say that this was a “total surprise” but it did catch me a bit off guard.  When both of your parents, like energizer bunnies, just keep going and going one can get a bit complacent I suppose.

In any case, we, as a family, had the best possible version of this scenario that anyone can hope for.

We all got to be with him for many days.  He was, although weak, very, very present – making his own decisions (and jokes) the entire time.  We laughed a lot.  He got to say very nice things to us and we, in turn got to truly express how much we loved and appreciated him.

But somehow, despite all the positives, it stopped me cold in my blog-tracks.  Dad really enjoyed the blog – and especially reading all of your comments – and I somehow couldn’t quite figure out what to say…..but I think I have now.

As you all know my dad was an excellent craftsman.  All the pictures I’m sharing here today are of his work.

Handmade Lazy Susan’s by Edgar Cheaney

When my folks moved to their retirement community he immediately established a woodworking shop on the premises.

Dad’s workshop. Yes it was always this clean.

He did projects for himself, took on repair work for other residents and built things for the community.  So all of what you are seeing is work done by a man in his 80s and 90s.

Display case by Edgar Cheaney

And that seems to me to be the ongoing lesson my dad was quietly teaching all of us.

Lectern made from reclaimed wood by Edgar Cheaney

Dad was the definition of a life-long learner-the kid who took the radio apart to see how it worked, built model airplanes and, later in life took apart his computer and put it back together again.

Model Airplane Display by Edger Cheaney

He (and my mom) enrolled in Life-Long-Learner classes on everything from The History of Film to Biblical Studies.  He was a voracious reader and the only male member of the local book club.  When he took on the role of Community Accountant for the retirement community he taught himself, in his 80s, how to use Quickbooks.

Cherry Wood Display Cabinet by Edgar Cheaney

Conversations with him were always fascinating and the subjects wide-ranging.  He listened just as well as he talked, was open to new ideas and even when his views differed greatly he treated everyone with respect.

Shadow Boxes made to go outside the rooms of the Assisted Living patients in the hospital wing

As is often the case in these situations, you learn a lot from the stories other people tell.

At his memorial service the minister related how she’d visited him in hospice and, in the course of their conversation she had asked him how he felt about this coming transition.

My dad paused, thinking for a moment, and then simply said:


I think that one answer sums up him and the many valuable lessons he taught all of us over the years.  Be curious.  Keep trying.  Have an active mind.  Always be engaged.

I’m going to try my best to live up to his example.

Edgar S Cheaney


33 thoughts on “The New Year”

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad, David. Thank you for sharing this with us. And I’m going to take “curious” into this year. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing, David. His woodworking skills were first class and I admire his positive, can do attitude toward new learning. I truly believe the willingness to learn and listen is the key to a happy, successful, enjoyable life. My parents are 95 and 93 so I understand the energizer bunny reference, though my father (93) is slowing down a lot more, compared to my mom. My brother finds it very difficult to talk about the inevitable, which sometimes causes me to feel brutally honest
    This explains a lot about you, which I know would also make your father feel very proud.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss of a wonderful father. I am glad that you have all those great memories and reminders of his life. I lost my own father 3 years ago and still miss him every day. I know that your father was very proud of you. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. So precious are our parents. My heart is
    full of smiles, memories of loving moments with mine, and I pray for you that you are comfortedby yours as well. What an excellent pupil you were to your fathers teachings
    ….. it shows in your work!
    Nothing binds and heals the heart…
    as LOVE does!

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, but grateful for the many years you had with your father. I can tell you were very close and enjoyed your time together. Thank you for showing us some of the creations your father made and telling us a little about him–it’s obvious you inherited his creative and questioning mind.

    I hope time will bring you peace.

  6. I’m sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved father. He was an excellent woodworker and, even though I didn’t know him, I am quite sure he was very, very proud of you.

  7. David, so very sorry for this big loss in your life. Such a blessing that you and your family had some authentic time with him at the end. That makes saying goodbye for now something very special that you will always carry with you. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and inspiring tribute to him. Wishing you and your family comfort and peace.

  8. What a legacy he has left for you and your family. I can see why it took a bit to come to terms with his loss. Happy New Year!

  9. What a great thing it was to find your writing this morning. And I want everyone to know the things you have said here about our dad. It is wonderful to keep remembering him, learning from him.

  10. so sorry for your loss. im glad he kept you curious in his teachings, we all need to keep that. i too lost my mom in October a few years back, and it’s still hard today. He did wonderful work and a wonderful job with you also! we can tell. Bless you, -Lisa

  11. Doesn’t matter how old you are how old they are how ready you think you are, it is just so damn hard to lose a parent. XO Arlie

  12. What a handsome man, quite a “head turner” The smirk on his face is priceless.
    Be at peace, and be assured, your Dad is also.

  13. David, what a fortunate family you are, to have had this amazing person with you for such an extended period. Take comfort in your love for each other, and in all those wonderful memories.

  14. Thank you, David, for sharing such a beautiful life you were blessed to have forever in your heart! You were wise to take the time to honor your grief and love for that wonderful person! His smile said it all! May you walk in his love and respect!

  15. David,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. Your father was an extraordinary man, and I can see you learned so much from him. The world is better because of your father’s presence in it, and we are better because of it. Even if we didn’t know him directly, we knew of him through you.

    Peace and love,

  16. I am so sorry for the loss of your dear dad. My heartfelt condolences to you and your mom and family. He sounds like a truly wonderful man, and his gifts and spirit surely live on with you.

    Big hugs 💕

  17. So sorry to hear about your DAD! It’s so hard to lose loved ones! BUT He sure had a great attitude about life and never stopped being creative and kept on learning!!

  18. Even now, he inspires. I’m adding a new post-it to my board — “What are you learning today?” Your dad (and mom) make me realize that the only way to stay young and with-it is to keep learning. Thank you, to both of you.

  19. Oh David! I am so sorry for your loss. Your father has certainly left a far-reaching legacy and as an example to always keep expanding your horizons. You are also part of that legacy, and your wit and creativity will continue to honor his memory. May your present sadness be replaced with only the happiest of memories. And something tells me he left you with many of them.

  20. Thank you for sharing your dad a little bit with all of us. May he rest in peace and may you take comfort in knowing he will continue to be with you through your talents, your humor, happy memories, and the love that binds family forever.

  21. My apologies for not reading this blog post sooner, David. What sweetness in your words! I never had a dad, so in that alone you are so blessed. But to have had a good one–what wealth! He sounds like the kind of person I would have loved to be around too: witty, intelligent, hilarious, charming, sweet, thoughtful, humble, always interesting, sometimes mind-blowing, understanding and loving. Truly a gem. I have always thought that the longer your parent lives, it’s actually harder when they leave, because every year that you grow as an adult, you understand them better, love them more dearly for that understanding, and begin fostering such a sweet tenderness towards them–mirroring their tenderness for you as their child. I’m so glad you were able to spend some time with him, sharing intimate words–what a treasure! And I absolutely love his response to Chapter 2: “Curious.” What a cool guy! It would be great to hear stories about him through your future blog posts. Everyone here following you loves you and thus loves your dad, and I for one would love to hear stories about him. Blessings David, he’s in good hands. ❤

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