The last parent….

Dick and Shirley, in earlier healthier days...

We got the dreaded phone call in the wee hours of the morning(why is it always then?)…that my dear, delicate Father-in law had passed away. He had really struggled with his health in the past few years….copd, colon cancer, heart issues. He had been in the hospital for the past two weeks, and in the ICU since the weekend when he had emergency surgery…and he just wasn’t strong enough to make it in the end.

But we were all hoping that he perhaps had a few good years ahead…and he had found love a second time late in life…what a gift that is. After my wonderful, much missed Mom-in-law passed away years ago, we all worried about him being so lonely without her, and no doubt about it…he was. But the day he asked a tall redhead, just a few years his junior, to lunch(at my urging), his life brightened considerably. I’ll never forget when he told me, “I think I’m in love with her“…like he was 30, not 80. I wrote about that in a previous post-here. And Grace’s name was appropriate…she brought such light and grace to his life that no son or daughter could. They were inseparable. Until now.

And it is decidedly sad..and a moment of passage I suppose…when the last parent, whether biological or by marriage, is gone. All you can do is remember them fondly…my father-in law, who was a man who came to be openly affectionate later in life. I remember some years ago, I would say in leaving, “I love you“…and his response would sometimes be an awkward, “Uh, thank you“….hilarious, and true for many men raised in that era. But that changed as he got older…a man who never went to church as long as I knew him(the golf course was his church) started going to church, gave up drinking because he had to for his health, and started saying “I love you“…somtimes unprompted. He went into the navy at 17, because he didn’t want to miss out on WWII. And when he got out, the man who wanted to become a history teacher, got a job instead in retail, as the demands of family called, and he answered. He managed more than a couple of malls in the south….and I’m sure the people who worked for him loved him, because he was really very funny. Acerbic, with a dry wit…my son always said, “Grampa is the funniest man I know“. So Dick, we will all miss you…more than you know. You have been an important part of our lives…and we wish you well on the journey before you…Godspeed my friend.

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7 Responses

  1. Donna,

    So sorry for your loss. Your father-in-law, you, your husband and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. But just think of the beautiful place where your father-in-law is now – complete with five star golf courses!

    Trish

  2. So sorry for your families loss. My family and I will be praying for yours.

  3. Donna –

    My condolences to you & David.

    Dick sounded like an amazing man — and I love the story about the unprompted “I love you’s.”

    Godspeed indeed.
    -cmd

  4. Donna, sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  5. May God be with you and the family. Will keep you in prayers

  6. Donna, you and your family have my condolences and my prayers … what do you say when the first or last parent goes to glory – it leaves such a void in our lives … may you and yours find peace with Mr Dick’s passing … Susan

  7. I was so saddened to hear of the death of Dick. He was so very precious. I enjoyed his company each Wednesday morning at the church. He never failed to say how much he loved me, how glad he was to see me. He never failed to kiss my hand when leaving the room. I will miss him so much. It was nice to see you and meet you family.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours… Pixie

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