Its been a rough week...the worst. After a long few years of debilitating illnesses, countless stays in the hospital throughout the years and a horrific hospital stay for 6 weeks...my Father-in-law passed away quietly in his sleep. In the end God was merciful and lifted him home.
I am heartbroken. My heart breaks for all the suffering he went through, and my heart breaks for my mother-law who misses her husband of 55 years.
I came into this family nearly 30 years ago. I was very different from everyone in my husband's family. I was a city girl, not the girl next door. I was an artsy girl whose choice of color was always black. They were a loud Italian family who ate the most delicious home-cooked foods every meal.
My Father-in-law and I had an interesting relationship. He accepted me but never hesitated to let me know exactly how he felt about everything. I always knew that I was the odd one out and no matter how much I tried not to be...I had a permanent spot in that role. No matter how odd I seemed to him I knew that there was love for me in his heart...and I loved him.
When My husband and I had our first child ( the first grandchild on both sides of the families) It changed my Father-in-law. When we announced that we were expecting, my Father-in-law said that he didn't feel old enough to be a grandfather. He ( I think ) was scared of his new role. When I had the baby My Father-in-law was the first one through the doors during grandparent's visiting hours. He practically ran to the nursery. He told me that he instantly fell in love.
After we brought the baby home He would call me while he was out on his errands and ask to see the baby. He'd come and spend about half an hour, (never wanting to overstay his welcome), Carry her and cuddle her and speak to her. He'd smile and laugh whenever she cooed at him. His heart melted with every toothless grin.
He would go out and spend countless hours finding just the right toy for her.
It was like that for every one of his four grandchildren.
He introduced them to chocolate and then complain that they were hyper. He would make them ramen soup and they called it Grandpa soup for the longest time. With every visit he would have Italian S cookies waiting for them. After the funeral, My daughter asked if we could go to the neighborhood bakery so she could buy some S cookies to take home. She wanted to remember the feeling.
I think my son was the closest one to his grandpa. Grandpa babysat him for a while when my hours changed at work. Whenever I picked up my son he was either wearing grandpa's glasses that he'd steal from his shirt pocket or pushing random buttons on the phone. I don't remember him ever crying with his grandfather. I think Grandpa carried my son around the whole time he would babysit....and he loved every minute of it.
My son went to see his Grandfather in the hospital and he was so strong as he held his grandpa's hand. One of he hardest moments in my life was telling our son that his grandpa had passed away.
My baby's heart is broken and I can't do anything to heal it.
I loved and still love my Father-in-law. I still feel that he is here and we'll all get together soon for dinner, then in a flash I am reminded that I will never see him again in this life time.
We know that this is not the end. We trust and believe in God's promise and we know that we will see him again.
So I will not say goodbye. I'll just say...see you later Grandpa...I love you.