I have talked about meeting phenomenal people while in Ottawa, Kansas, and I have shared how blessed we are to have the immeasurable support of the Karla Smith Foundation as our family copes with the mental illness of our loved one. However, I would also like to share with you a story about a phenomenal dad. He is not just any dad. He is Paul, Kim and Katlin’s dad. His name is Bill, and I am extremely proud to say he is my husband. We have been married twenty five years now, and as you can imagine we have shared a lot of life experiences: some very interesting, some very sad, many happy and many miraculous.
Throughout the years Bill and I have managed to cope with just about anything that has come our way. However, the past few years have been difficult to say the least. How does a family recuperate from the devastating effects of the mental illness of a loved one? What I have experienced and witnessed is that a family pulls together, draws strength from one another, and puts one foot in front of the other. As difficult as it might be they keep the door open, so to speak, with one another and slowly…very slowly just like a seed taking root they grow a little each day and eventually find that they have the strength to keep growing! At the root are unconditional love and hope. Of course everyone is held accountable for their behavior and actions, but we remain as neutral as possible respecting the uniqueness of each other. And we realize that in order to provide encouragement and support we must take care of ourselves. It hasn’t been easy, and we understand that mental illness doesn’t just go away. It is something that we must continue to learn more about, and learn how to cope with positively.
That is just what Bill has done. One way that Bill has coped is by putting his creativity to work. One of Bill’s many talents, loves and hobbies is woodworking. Through woodworking he tells a story. I would like to invite you to watch as Bill builds a handcrafted memory hutch for the 2011 Karla Smith Foundation Dinner Auction. I will post the design plans, materials list and photos to show the progress. The drawer and cabinets will hold and organize the memories for a family showing how they got to where they are today and will store the tools used to record and signify where they are headed. Bill exemplifies growth literally by building something functional as well as beautiful out of a few pieces of wood! The picture to the right shows the wood that will be used for the hutch. The memory hutch will be built as a representation of the hope Bill would like to share with others going through similar situations. Please feel free to check back often as he makes progress….