My father-in-law just died, and I am mourning the loss of our family patriarch. Because I grew up in a broken family without a father around, this man was the only father I’ve ever known. He was more of a father to me in the last twenty-five years than my own biological father has been in my entire lifetime. I called him Dad, and he earned it. I could not have asked for a better man to be the father figure that I always needed and wanted.
I knew Dad only from the time of his retirement in 1988 until his passing last Sunday, and in that time I’ve witnessed plenty to gain my respect, admiration and love. First, he welcomed me with open arms as a member of his family. Next, I watched him lovingly and with great devotion care for his wife of over fifty years through her six-year illness until her death. He then befriended my own mother through the darkest days of her progressing dementia, at a desperate time when she needed a friend most of all. For that compassion I will always be most grateful. I watched Dad move on with his life as a widower and finally find love once again with a wonderful woman who became his second wife. I watched him share his wisdom and grow old gracefully, accepting his limitations when the time came.
Dad was a man who valued his family and his faith and possessed a strong work ethic, and he lived his life guided by these simple but supreme principles. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the positive example he set for us all, and I’m grateful too because I see the best of Dad’s traits in his youngest son, my husband, and the rest of the beautiful family he has raised. It is exactly the kind of family I always wanted but never had growing up in my own dysfunctional family.
I’m going to miss Dad terribly. But there is comfort in his death by merely being grateful for the family that he raised and loved. I see the best of Dad in each and every member of his family. By marriage that family is now my family, and I am so very grateful to be a part of that legacy.
Thank you, Dad. My love for you is endless. May you rest in eternal peace now.
Image courtesy of seyed mostafa zamani