Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tank Park Salute

I wrote this some months ago.
In the week since my former father in law passed away, I have found myself overwhelmed with sadness and grief.  I see older men with their wives, limping slightly and I have a flash of anger.  Anger that they are here and he is gone.

I'm amazed by my brain.  How could I think such a thing? 

So anathema to who he was, each day of his life. 

I looked to him to see how to respond to something like this.

This is the man who helped paint my children's room before they were born.  He helped me buy three of my past four cars.  He bought the ipod for me so I was able to start listening to podcasts.  I am still in shock - I'm not sure that I can even comprehend what this loss means for me and my children.

I take comfort in knowing that he loved me and was proud of me.  Despite divorcing his son.

When I moved out, the movers didn't show up.  He (and my ex) were there with friends.  He helped me move into my new place. He said to let him know if I needed anything, and he meant it.

One of the last times I saw him, I mentioned to him that I was reading the Hamilton biography.  I wanted to give it to him afterwards.  I wanted him to read it as well., so we could talk about it.  I would like to think he would have done that.  He mentioned that he wasn't impressed by Hamilton.

Few people in one's life will love you unconditionally.  Love without any expectation of reciprocity.  I was fortunate to have my former father in law who believed in me.  With no strings attached.  He and my former mother in law helped me go to night school to go into IT.  When the twins were born, they would take a weekend and stay up all night with the twins so their dad and I could sleep for 8 precious hours.

This grief is a knot that may never come undone.  Logically, I know this is the way he wanted to go.  Peacefully (is death ever peaceful?) in his sleep.  Not after a long illness.  With all of his wits about him, completely independent. 

I'm almost certain I had a conversation with him about this very thing.

As a former daughter in law, my position is tenuous and intensely awkward.  My presence is not wanted.  There is some sort of competition in this grief. It must be threatening that I loved my father in law too.  Just because I divorced their son, doesn't mean I loved them any less. 

Truth will prevail, and this truth prevails.

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