My father-in-law passed away suddenly just over a week ago. He was in his eighty first year. He was active but he suffered from respiratory problems. His health was gradually failing. We expected him to leave us but not so soon. We thought we had another year or two of his company.
He was independent. He only wanted help in looking after his garden or accessing his email account. He was opinionated. Even when he knew he was wrong he would take the opposing side just to get a discussion going. I don’t think I ever heard him tell a joke but he appreciated others’ ability to tell them. He had a wonderful laugh and his eyes always sparkled with amusement. His forte was his dry sense of humor that would throw all of us off guard when he would utter something so unexpected. He loved to visit and engage anyone in friendly conversation. He wanted to know everyone’s roots – where they came from, what they did and who they were related to. He was known for his gift of gab and genuine interest in everyone he met.
He wasn’t one to show affection but we all knew how much he loved his family. Maybe we didn’t get as many hugs as we would have liked, but he was generous in his praise and his company. He always had time for us. The grandchildren in particular knew that whenever they wanted to hang out with Grandpa they would always be welcome. He was proud of his grandchildren in their accomplishments in school, sports and work.He was proud of his sons and their accomplishments in managing the family farm. I think he was proud of his daughters-in-law, too, although I don’t think I ever heard him say so. He knew that it took a lot of love and understanding and perhaps sacrifice on their part to ensure the family and the family business thrived.
This year, Thanksgiving won’t be the same without Grandpa talking about politics and crops at the dining room table. Grandpa won’t be waiting for family to arrive at his home on Christmas morning. Once again we will feel the void from the loss of a beloved family member.
Gwen, Robert, Bryan, David – you were taken from us much too soon. Always loved. Always remembered.