Two years ago, we lost an incredible man. A man that took care of his family and showed his sons how to treat their wives. He helped shape my husband and knew when to throw the gauntlet down when necessary. Our boys grew up with him being one of their biggest fans. He was there when they played soccer and baseball and football, and was there when they learned how to drive. He would drive out of the way to just say hi, and would be there no matter the time.
Two years and fifteen days ago he went to the hospital because he wasn't feeling well. We watched him slowly fade away before our eyes. One night, after realizing he just didn't want hospital food, I took him his one of his favorites: homemade meatballs. Sadly, he had trouble eating and did what any good dad would do. He apologized to me that he couldn't eat. I cried that night, and every night after because the man that filled in for my dad was losing his battle with cancer. That evil coursed through his body, and took him.
I had 33 years with my dad when he passed away. I had 27 with my father in law. Both would do anything for their families. Both would do anything for me.
I remember meeting my future father in law for the first time in my then boyfriends dorm room. I was shy (go figure), and both he and my future mother in law came to visit. He was completely unexpected. He was a cowboy boot and hat wearing, gray beard sporting, seriously incredible man. We joked, and both he and my mother in law made me feel welcome.
When you could get him to laugh, his laugh was contagious. He wouldn't take shit from anyone. He was filled with dad jokes, some so bad you couldn't help but shake your head and make fun of him.
But that man would give you the shirt off his back, or that nasty hanky in his pocket, if you needed it.
As my husband sleeps as I write this, I know tomorrow's anniversary will be hard, as will Sunday when he would have celebrated his dad's birthday. All I know is it gets easier. Having lost my own dad 14 years ago, I know there was days I don't think about him. It doesn't mean I don't love and miss him, it just means I'm healing.
Every time I see a penny on the ground I think of our dad's. I know in my heart they are both watching over us, and throwing them down as they feast on diet Coke and Pabst, meatballs and potato salad, and lots and lots of memories. I also know that when something goes wrong, they have had a little part of it, just to remind us to slow down and think before we act.