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To go or not to go or...Life is what happens when your making other plans.

I was on my way back home and had been mentally preparing to go to my next show in Grand Junction, CO after having survived the long week in Oklahoma City at the end of April. My wife informed me over the phone that her father had taken a turn for the worse.

Let me back up a bit. Five years ago my wife had resigned her position as an administrative assistant in the police department, after much decision making anguish, to return to New Mexico to take care of her mother whose Alzheimer's had progressed to the point where her father could not take care of her very effectively. Five months later, after she passed on, it became apparent that her father was unable to live independently. He had a form of Parkinson's and associated dementia. Now it was time to take care of him.

He had been in a group assisted living arrangement for the last four months as taking care of him on her own had become more than she could manage and, as she was the sole caregiver, she needed a break. This was to be a short term respite for her, and maybe for him too! Even while he was in the group home she would visit once or twice daily. It was during the second visit that particular day she noticed he was considerably different than in the morning, slumped over and unresponsive. The house staff only thought he was napping! (That's a whole 'nother story) turns out he had become seriously dehydrated, had a UTI and probably was on deaths door at that point. Some significant intravenous fluids and broad band antibiotics at the hospital brought him back sorta. She was planning on bringing him home anyway but this incident forced the issue. He came home and was able to make his passage in his own home on his terms.

So what's all this rambling about? Well, sometimes you make plans and things go along smoothly and other times your plans are short circuited or need to change, I'm sure we've all been there for one reason or another. I won't pretend that I always do the right thing and that it was a no brainer on my part to decide to bail on the Grand Junction show. After all, the time of his departure from this world, let alone anyone else, isn't printed on the bottom of your foot. I had all the work ready to go. I drove down to NM in the "art van" in case things weren't too serious (a three hundred mile "detour" in a southerly direction). The hotel was booked and all the fees were paid. At the very least I already had to pay for 1 nights lodging, as I didn't read the fine print on the cancellation policy, as-well-as the booth fee! After some serious soul searching I decided to forego the show. I had been there for the last five years why wouldn't I be there at the very end? Time will take care of the rest.

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Comment by Carol Larsen on July 30, 2014 at 11:52pm

Connie, you are so right. When I returned from a mid-June festival, I had "planned" a summer of getting my life under control, working on products for my fall season, etc. It was a "gift" to me for all the years of running around. Within 2 days, my 87 y.o. father was in the hospital and step-down care for over a month, and I realized I had actually planned this time off to be with him. No regrets. Still behind, my house still looks like a tornado hit it, but no regrets, family first. And I hope that the show organizers tried to work something out with you Brian since you have been in attendance for so long. I know when I had to cancel earlier this spring due to an emergency, I received 1/2 refund and a credit towards next year. I was so pleased, and didn't expect it. Wishing your family well.

Comment by Connie Mettler on July 30, 2014 at 11:56am

Good for you, Brian. Another day I made a different decision and am sorry I did so. My mother had just died. My family had gathered for several days with her. The funeral was during the Uptown Art Fair. My husband said he would miss it and stay with our family but I told him to go ahead to the show as he had done all he could do. He was the only family member missing at the funeral. Wish I had decided differently. The money earned that weekend is long gone.

Comment by Leslie Turner on July 30, 2014 at 10:38am

You may regret the loss of income for a while, but if you had not dropped everything to support your partner and her family when they needed it you would have regretted it for the rest of your life. You have got to take care of what matters the most, first. I'm just thankful that the way I make a living enables me to do that without getting fired!

Comment by Susan Coughlin on July 28, 2014 at 8:55am

I'm very sorry if my previous comment, which has been taken down, was inappropriate. I certainly didn't mean it to be.

I think you made the right, perhaps the only, decision. I have also had to face this. I send my sincerest sympathies to you and your wife.

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on July 27, 2014 at 8:44pm

You definitely made the right decision.  We faced the same dilemma earlier this year, leaving Tucson for very fast, 1000 mile drive to Dallas to be with Dale's mom for her last week of life. Cancelled a whole bunch of shows and have absolutely no regrets.  We actually received a 50% refund from one show when we explained the situation, an unexpected refund. 

Since we are full time RV'ers our home was with us so we didn't have the hotel issue but we did incur much more expense for diesel in a very short time than we had budgeted for, but in the end it didn't matter.   We were where we needed to be and in my heart I know there's no other place we would have rather been.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on July 25, 2014 at 12:07pm

Yup, it is JUST a show!

Comment by Greg Little on July 25, 2014 at 12:00pm

You definitely made the right choice. Shows come and go all the time and are plentiful but you only have one family.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on July 24, 2014 at 3:59pm

I agree, you made the right decision and I'm sure your family appreciates it...condolences.

Comment by Richard L. Sherer on July 24, 2014 at 10:53am
Family comes first and you didn't miss anything by not doing Grand Junction except a lot of rain.
Comment by Lynda Wallis on July 24, 2014 at 10:08am

Family trumps everything. Support of your wife is huge. You're a good man. It's was just an art show.

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