Not many of us are as blessed as I have been. My biological father, Jack, though I didn't know him well, helped to give me life. He was an important part of my infancy. In my adult years, he and I made peace with some of the choices that he made when I was a toddler. When he and my mother divorced, I was fortunate enough to be adopted by mom's second husband--- Dan, my DAD. He took my brother and I and made us his own--- both legally and from the heart. When he and my mom divorced, there was no doubt that he was still my dad and that he always would be.
When my mom married Dennis, she had only known him for a few weeks. . Yeah, my mom goes with those impulses sometimes. :) I expected to like the guy, but I wasn't prepared to embrace him completely. I was a stupid 21 year old kid, wrapped up in my own little world. So imagine my surprise when I figured out a few years ago (ok, they've been married for almost 10 years, so perhaps it was about 9 years ago) that I loved my stepdad, and that I truly considered him to be my "other" dad.
So I've had three "dads" in my life. And this one goes out to Dennis. His dad died tonight. It wasn't unexpected, but it was still hard. I have a hard time expressing my love with spoken words, so here are the written ones.
I'm sorry for the hurt that you feel tonight. I'm hurting because you're hurting. I know you wanted to see your dad one last time, and I'm sorry you didn't make it. I'm glad that you got to see him earlier this week, got to spend that time with him.
There's not a whole lot that I can say to make anything feel better. So I just want to tell you how much I love you.
I think sometimes, when we love someone, it's hard to put it into words. It's hard to describe the love inside of you. Sure, I can tell everyone about how I call you whenever I have a fix it dilemma. I can tell them how I enjoy talking politics and current events with you. I can tell them what a great hugger you are, and how I love it that you play with your grandkids the way you do. I can tell them that I listen to your advice and your words when it comes to raising kids, because after all, you had 5!!! :) I can tell them about the jokes that you tell me, or the emails that you forward to me that make me giggle. But does any of that tell YOU how much I love you?
Part of why I love you so much is because of my mother. She needed a man like you. You are good for her. I love how you love her. And I love how she loves you. It's good to see.
But I also love you because you're you. You've walked into my life, and become a part of me. You are Dad. You are Grandpa. You are a part of my heart, for so many reasons. I couldn't love you more if you were really my Dad, ya know. My love for you doesn't take away from my love for my Daddy (Dan), which is something I was afraid of for a long time. Did loving you and accepting you as dad mean that I didn't love my Daddy as much? I've come to realize that it doesn't.
And tonight, when you called, I knew what you were going to say. And so I sit here, with tears in my eyes, my heart just aching for you. Tonight, Aaron and I will go to bed and pray for our family. I'm sending a big hug your way.
*****Go right now, hug the ones you love. Look at your children with love in your eyes. Call your siblings and reconnect. Call your parents just to say hi. Life is too short.*****