The past 5 weeks I’ve been in Charleston with family for work, vacation, my father in law getting ill then my grandmother passing away. We came home on Tuesday and we weren’t home 24 hours before we got the call that Renee’s dad (who I call ‘T’) may not have much time with us in this life. I took her to the airport immediately. The kids and I came down earlier today (Thursday). After dealing with Nanny’s death last week I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with another one- Especially with Emma and Emerson, they are smart, they both realize something is going on but obviously at that age they are still figuring out death- heck, they are at the beginning of figuring out life ( I’ll argue that we never figure out life, I haven’t- I live, I love and I do it with all my heart and soul).
I now sit in ‘T’s’ computer room, listening to him struggle to breathe a bit. He’s taking morphine to relax but the bottom line is that his heart, lungs and other organs are slowly but surely beginning to fail. Tonight we sat around and joked a bit, watched some football and then the ending of Road House. Not intentionally but it was on. I realize he is on morphine but I know he knew I was there- I got the occasional, “where’s Emma and Emerson”. I’m not so sure he’ll make it till the morning… so here I sit- more thoughts online.
I remember the first time I met Renee’s dad- I’m pretty sure he had no clue what the heck his daughter had just brought home. I was rough around the edges then- maybe I still am or like to come off that I am. Renee had always dated the preppy, clean cut dudes and she had a stable job. Me? The first time I met ‘T’ I had 5 ear rings, hair 1/2 way down my back, ripped jeans a tesla t-shirt on and I don’t even remember if I had a job. He made me nervous no doubt. He was retired military and in general came off as a hard-ass (which I can say is false- he’s a man who cares and loved a lot… just not a man of many words). Can you imagine his shock six weeks later when we told him we were getting married! I’m pretty sure he mumbled under his breath something to the effect of ‘not gonna happen’.
A few weeks later when I finally pawned enough stuff to buy a wedding ring I think he knew it was real. At Christmas he gave me my first handshake and 1/2 man hug with the traditional whisper in the ear “you hurt her and I’m coming for you”. Duly Noted. It wasn’t long before ‘T’ decided he liked me. There was no defining moment that we became friends, it may have been the 300th time that he told me to take my hat off during dinner. Can’t remember. Eventually I could wear a hat and he never said a word.
‘T’ has raised 3 daughters- I was the first to come into the family as a “son”. So maybe there is some special forces at work there but no doubt we had a good time together. Camping, NASCAR races, golf, cigars, antique sitting (this is where you sit and wait on your wives to antique shop- and we were the best) are just a few of the past times we enjoyed together for the past 20 years. There is no doubt in my mind that ‘T’ loves his family and that includes me. He told me many times, he called me son often. I’ve been honored to know him and to have become a part of his family. ’T', Know that I’ll take care of them just as you have… and yes, I still know that if I hurt ‘em you’ll come and get me.
Much love to you ‘T’. You will be missed.