30 day challenge: day 19

Something you miss

Well, I could go with the obvious and say SLEEP, but let me try for something a bit deeper. I definitely miss DW’s dad, more for her and her mom than for myself, of course, but it  would have been cool to see him with Monkey. He was diagnosed with leukemia back in 06 and died in early 08, so he didn’t even know we were about to start trying to get pregnant. I gave the eulogy at his service, so I’ll just reproduce it here to give you an idea of what kind of man he was:

I have had the great fortune to know FiL for the last 13 years. In that time, he was like a second father to me. From helping me move, to opening his home to me when I needed a place to stay for a month, to making me feel like a member of the family at holiday gatherings, he was always generous with his time and affection. I am proud and honored to have been asked to speak by FiL’s family.

When you think of FiL, fossils come immediately to mind. Whenever he got a new fossil, he’d excitedly show it off and explain why it was so precious. I learned so many fascinating things from him. FiL pursued his interests with a passion that was catching. Whether it was fossils, ancient history, bee keeping, photography, tennis, stained glass, or tropical fish, FiL didn’t do things halfway. He became an expert and brought others along on his adventures. When people asked him how he got into selling fossils, he would mention the rock hounding he’d done with his dad and brothers as a child. That interest soon developed into fossils.

FiL started his business primarily to fund his own collection. He was a self-taught paleontologist. If you wanted to engage FiL, all you had to do was mention fossils. The show in Tucson was a yearly highlight for him – two whole weeks to talk fossils! He loved fossils so much, that he was incapable of not buying them. If one was good, then 50 were better! His house is a virtual museum of fossils, though some might say it’s more like a warehouse! MiL’s attempts at helping FiL get his inventory organized would generally be met with the refrain, “I fly by the seat of my pants!”

FiL was a big animal lover, and a special friend of the wild rabbits that live in his yard – they’d come to the window, looking for the carrots and apples that FiL often provided. He even had some of the rabbits eating out of his hand. Of course, when he didn’t oblige, there was always the grass in the front lawn – and FiL was generous with that, too!

I have so many fond memories of FiL. On holidays, FiL, MiL, DW, and I would make some rum and cokes or have martinis that DW made, put on some Johnny Cash, and play cards. There would always be a point at which FiL would get to laughing and not be able to stop. He’d laugh so hard, he’d cry and the rest of us loved it. It was so infectious.

After DW moved out of the house, FiL started joining us on outings to the mall or on other errands that I know weren’t of interest to him. It was just a way to spend time with DW. It was obvious he took great pride in her and truly enjoyed her company.

MiL, DW, and I liked to rib FiL for his dashboard dining habits and his love of talk radio. He loved to take the opposing viewpoint in political discussions and it always made for a rousing and stimulating debate.

When DW and I would leave after a visit, FiL always told us to be careful driving, or watch for the rain. It was a sweet way of showing his love and concern. FiL worried about those he loved.

FiL always wanted DW to watch movies that he enjoyed, or listen to a song that moved him. DW would usually grudgingly accept, but I suspect she enjoyed knowing that her dad wanted to share the things that he loved with her.

I remember when MiL had surgery several years ago that FiL never left her side. He even got her roommate moved so that he could stay overnight with her.  There was definitely a special bond between FiL and MiL.

Everyone who met FiL took an instant liking to him. He had an easy smile, and was gentle, kind, generous, and never critical of others. FiL was a loyal and loving husband and father – someone you could always count on. FiL, you will truly be missed and we’ll remember to “enjoy every sandwich.”

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3 Comments

Filed under family, meme

3 responses to “30 day challenge: day 19

  1. Claire

    How cool! What a lovely tribute! What happened to his huge collection? My dad collected and sold books so I know what you mean about not just being able to pick one!

  2. Jen

    I have to admit that I couldn’t finish this post because I am at work and it made me start to cry. He sounds like a lovely man and this was a beautiful post.

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