My father-in-law passed away over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was 95 years old. We had been pals for 20 years. His passing was a reminder of all the extended family members that become part of our divorces, remarriages and blended existences. They often don’t get mentioned, but they are seriously affected. My son, Ean, and I married Bruce and the kids in 1992. At that time, my father in law, Sam, started to snow bird here in Arizona. (For you Easterners, that means coming out for the winter months).
For some unknown reason, he was just crazy about me and Ean. He just loved us so deeply and unconditionally that it was easy to take him for granted. His favorite time was when we would ask him to pick Ean up from various activities and deliver him somewhere else. As working parents, this happened weekly. We always said that his saddest day was when Ean got his driver’s license.
What was particularly striking about Sam was that he had no judgment regarding our blended family. No one in the family was divorced so it was unknown territory. I never felt like a stepmother around him. For an older guy, you would have thought that he would be lost as to how to handle it. Just the opposite. He just accepted Bruce’s remarriage and rolled with it. He always had a kind word for me. If you are a step parent, you know how special that is!
In honor of Sam, I wanted to pass on what I learned from him to all of you. First, he taught me to love life. The glass was always half full with him. He just loved life and appreciated every minute. After he lived through a couple of wars and the Great Depression, we suspected that he adopted a zest for life. Secondly, he loved to learn. Bruce said that he read the World Book Encyclopedia several times. I challenge you to tell me how many 95 year-old people “google”. Learning kept him young and vital.
Sam, you are sorely missed!