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Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Monday, June 21

The Man Who Raised Hubby

Father's Day is a bittersweet time in our house. Although my dad is still alive and kicking at 82, hubs lost his dad (Jerry) a little over 4 years ago quite suddenly and most unexpectedly in his early 60's. It is hard for me to suggest going out with my dad or buying a gift or even a card because I hate reminding hubby of his loss. Not that he needs reminding, I am sure he thinks about it every day. I can not imagine losing one of my parents, much less as quickly as we lost his dad.

I really loved my father-in-law. What's more, I liked him so much as a person. He was one of the most humorous, easy going, fun loving people you'd ever want to meet. He wasn't afraid to say exactly what he thought or give you his opinion, but he was one of those rare people who could do it in a way so that you appreciated his advice even if you hadn't asked for it. When hubby had a serious accident in 2000 he was hospitalized in a coma for about a month. During that time I stayed in a nearby house (lent to us by our gracious cousin Lori) with my mother- and father-in-law so that we could remain 10 minutes from the hospital and not have to make the long drive home each day. Those weeks were so hard for me, and I can only imagine how they were for his parents. But Jerry always comforted me and talked to me when I needed to talk. We would get home from the hospital at nearly 10pm, after having been there all day just sitting and waiting. His mother and I were both preoccupied with our mother/son or wife/husband losing scenarios. His mom would usually go straight to bed when we got home but Jerry would sit up and watch the news. I would usually sit with him, glassy eyed and exhausted, wishing I could sleep but knowing that I couldn't yet so he and I would talk for an hour or so. Sometimes about important things like life and death and religion, sometimes about stupid things like potato chips or corn or lightening bugs. No matter the subject, he would go to bed and leave me feeling like somehow, now, I could sleep. Like I could make it through just one more day. And then another and another.

From the moment I started dating my husband, 17 years ago, his dad made me feel like a part of the family. And I was happy to be a part. I loved sneaking him Snickers bars and popcorn in his father's day gifts, despite the (lovingly) disapproving look my mother-in-law gave us both. But never had I felt more like his own child than during those 3 weeks we spent together. Only then did I realize how lucky my husband and his 2 sisters were to have had a father like this. After hubby was home and recovered things went back to normal, but I just felt closer to Jerry. And I think he felt closer to me, too. If only I had known then that he would be gone in less than 6 years, I would have told him how lucky I felt to know him. I would have told him how much I appreciated his time and attention during those weeks. I would have told him that I am sorry I didn't realize while he was comforting me that he, too, was hurting. I wish I had my wits about me enough to comfort him, too. After all, it was his only son in that hospital room. But, I can only hope and believe he knows all this. Everyone, please be sure your loved ones know this every day. Kids, dads, moms, grandparents, friends. It is so important.

He was a big presence and his loss is still felt in many lives beyond our own family. His funeral was enormous and packed with as many children as adults, coming to say goodbye to  Mr. Jerry. There were people of many races, status, and ages in that room and I couldn't help but look around and think that I really never knew how many lives he had touched. As much as I miss him, I still get glimpses of him every day. Sometimes my husband will say something or do something or act in a way that reminds me so much of his dad, he is his father's son. And I feel so lucky to have a husband who was raised by such a father.


  1. I miss him too.

    It has been 6 years since we lost Daddy, and this year was the first time I felt peace instead of pain. I was finally able to cherish my memories rather than mourn over them.

    I still had tears in my eyes at times, (I did reading this) but that is as much because I am a Gardner than grief.

    BTW, I'm sure Jerry was comforted by you as much has he comforted you. People get comfort in different ways. Don't burden yourself with worrying about that.

  2. I just told Scott that this meant just as much as the stories that Jim Bill told at the funeral. I love your way with words. Thank you so much for the words you have written about the Hero in my life. Thank you also for loving my brother the way you do. But most of all I am so proud and happy to have you as my Sister-in-law!! Love you!!

  3. Wow!! is about all I can say about this. It is all so very true. Uncle Jerry was one of a kind and I miss him so much. But my Daddy misses him more than anything. Daddy has just now gotten to where he will talk about him. He was my second daddy and I miss him terribly. I miss being called "Meetna". (not sure of the correct spelling of that since it was not a real word!) But he was a very special man, and he loved his family and friends.

  4. Aww! Thanks, guys! That means so much coming from people who actually knew him. I have to tell you that I felt compelled to write about this but I was bawling **bawling** the entire time I was writing. Not so much a reflection on my writing but just emotions of having to go back to that time and place were a bit much. I couldn't even proof read it this morning without crying.

  5. Made me cry again. But thanks for it just the same. Love you!