It’s been one week since I last saw my father-in-law alive. He died in the middle of the night last Tuesday/Wednesday after a 2 1/2 year battle with mestatic melanoma. I haven’t blogged since his death. I do want to take a moment and put out there what kind of person Dave was.
I met my husband about 21 years ago. We were young – I was 19 and he was 21. I always knew there was something special in him and knew in my heart he was my soul mate. I met his dad Dave after we dated for a year, as his parents lived in Northern California and we lived in Southern. His dad came down for work and Josh really wanted to introduce me to him. Josh has so much respect and love for his dad. When I met him I could see why.
Fast-forward another year or so to when Josh decided to move up to Nor Cal to work for the family company. My reaction? “Great – when are we leaving?”. It wasn’t a question of whether or not I would be joining him, we both naturally knew that was happening. I didn’t even second guess leaving my own family and moving 500 miles north.
When we decided all of this, his parents told us to stay with them as long as it takes to get on our feet and get our own place. With them it also wasn’t a question of me moving up with Josh. Even though I met his father once and hadn’t yet met his mom or his sister, they all welcomed me, the newest member of the family, with open arms. His sister and I quickly became best friends. His parents treated me like their own daughter, even though they didn’t know me and Josh & I had no plans (yet) or marriage.
It was then that I saw just how close Josh was to his dad and how caring and kind his dad was. He would often invite us out for coffee, include me in family events and talks. He would ask me how my day was when I came home from work, we would all have dinner together, really just treated me like I had always been there. I always thought it was his family just being cordial, but it grew into me becoming a family member – something I desperately needed because I had no family of my own nearby that I could bond with.
When Josh and I got married in 1999, Dave told me how happy he was to have me as a daughter. He told me how proud he was of me and how happy I made his son. From that day on he never introduced me at “his son’s wife”. It was always “my daughter-in-law”. Something about the subtle change of words made me feel so loved.
When we told him and Josh’s mother we were having not one, but two babies after a long battle with infertility, he cried. He was so beyond happy he couldn’t keep it in. When the twins were born I remember him and my mother-in-law gazing with love at the babies. They both again told me how proud they were. Little did we know that 4 years later he would be gone.
My mom relayed a story to me about her own father-in-law, my Papa. She said that as he was dying in the hospital, the doctor came in to check on him and asked if she was his daughter. She said “he’s my father-in-law”, to which the doctor replied, “somewhere down the line he became your dad”. This is what Dave was to me. What he always will be – my dad.
Since he left us, I have had an emptiness in me heart that I can’t begin to describe. I told Josh I have never ever felt pain like this before and dread the day I feel it again.
One week ago the world lost a great person. I lost a dad. Cancer seriously sucks…