This is a repost of a blog I wrote and posted on progressive blogic just over a year ago about my father and stepfather. Given my stepfather’s passing yesterday, it seemed appropriate.
No, I am not talking about when Sargent Pepper taught the band to play. I wish I was writing about something as mundane as that.
The phone call is as fresh in my mind today as it was two decades ago. You always wonder when the phone rings at odd hours of the day. This was no exception — 5:30 a.m. When I picked up the phone, I heard Mom’s distraught voice was on the other end from the emergency room in Indianapolis – some 500+ miles from our home in Maryland.
My Dad had a heart attack during the night and the doctors were working on him as we spoke. Sadly, within a few minutes, one of the attending physicians told Mom that he had passed away. I will never, ever forget hearing that over the phone or Mom’s devastated reaction from the news. Until then, while obviously upset, I think she was holding out a glimmer of hope.
The subsequent week was a blur to me. I know I spoke at the funeral and every one said it was great, but darned if I can remember what is was I said. I also know it really sunk in for the first time during the funeral when everyone was reciting the Lord’s Prayer — “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
Even today, it all seems a bit surreal. At times I feel like he’s going to walk through the door like he was marooned on a deserted island or on an excessively long vacation — at other times logic sets in, especially when visiting his gravesite.
My Dad was a good man and I still thing it was vastly unfair for him to be taken barely a year into his retirement after 40 years of excellent and dedicated work. However, I have been blessed by one aspect of his passing, a terrific stepfather.
My Mom remarried four years after Dad’s death to a man who has been wonderful for her, my brother and I. It’s not often that you get to strike gold twice, but we sure did. My stepfather Jim has blessed the three of us in many ways, not the least of which are his two daughters, son, and their families. He has also been amazing as Mom has battled Alzheimer’s.
With our newly blended family have come new and fun traditions like a Christmas Eve party for friends and family at my stepbrother’s home, all of us taking in a movie Thanksgiving night, reviving my love of tennis, and playing charades or other games together. Thank you all for being so kind and welcoming. Now, if I can just figure out how to win a game of charades with them. : )