Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Dad and a Shark Jaw Bone Bracelet

I'm going to power through this post the best I can.  Its a personal one, and frankly I've been struggling over posting it.  You see, my dad is sick.  Not a cold, not the flu, but something called Frontotemporal degeneration or FTD for short.  Its a disease that causes the brain to degenerate, getting progressively worse until the patient is unable to do much of anything.  There is no cure, there is no way to slow down the disease, and your only recourse is to sit and watch it slowly take its toll.

Its funny how you think of silly things that in the grand scheme of things aren't that important, but are important to you on a personal level.  For example, my dad is a loud breather.  I remember watching him concentrate on something and hearing him breathe.  Fast forward 30 years, and my wife tells me that I am a loud breather as well.  Every time she tells me that, I smile a little and think of my dad.

Last winter, I remember sitting in the kitchen watching him try to light a fire with matches.  The motor control was already starting to go, and he was fumbling around trying to get it lit.  It was painful to watch, and now he is having trouble holding a spoon, or doing even the most basic tasks.  You can see the impact that the disease is having, and it breaks your heart.  If you knew my dad when he was younger, it would be all the more depressing.  Picture a man who could throw a 100 pound bag of feed over one shoulder and a young boy (me) over the other and walk uphill in the snow in the dark to the house.  Picture a man who would mow his yard, with a push mower, on the hottest day of the year, come in the house, drink a huge glass of cold coffee and then go up and work in the garden until dark.  Picture a man with a broken leg, who decided to put hardwood floors in the house and maintain a full garden while in a full leg cast.

Nothing stopped him, and after a while you got the feeling that nothing ever would.  Once he got an idea into his head, it got done.  He would obsess over it, worry over it, and keep working on it until he figured it out.  

That man is gone now, he is nothing but a shadow of his former self.  I know I am not the only son who has a father with FTD.  I'm just another person in the sad group of people who have been touched in some way by this horrible disease.  My brother has started a grass roots fundraiser to donate money for research.  He asked me if I would make a few bracelets that he could auction off or sell outright and donate the money to his charity.  Here is what I came up with.

I've made this type before, its called the Shark Jaw Bone.  Red, white, and black are the colors of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.  Click the link if you want to donate.  If you want a bracelet like this send me an email and we can figure out how to get a donation in your name to the charity in exchange for this handmade item.  If you want something in a different color, we can talk about that too.

I didn't come up with this design, and I don't feel right just posting it and not giving credit where credit is due.  I saw it on a video from J.D. Lenzen.  He's on Youtube, and knows more about tying paracord than anyone I know.  In the meantime, here is an in process picture that I took while making this bracelet.  You should be able to figure out how to tie it if you look close.

Just remember, the inside color always crosses first.   Go make something with your hands.  Trust me, no matter what it is, it always makes you feel great inside when you do it yourself.