4.18.2011

circle of life

If you’ve been wondering why things have slowed down as of late at this here blog, well, there are some mighty good reasons.

1. Just before Christmas, my father-in-law, Joe, was diagnosed with lung cancer, and in March, he passed away.  It was a brutal three months.

My first encounter with Joe was quite an eye-opener. During our initial get-to-know you phase of dating, me and my wife had the big talk about our families. Turns out, we were both were the last children in our respective families. And since we were both “accidents”,  our parents were much older than the parents of our peers. My dad passed away at the age of 69. Hers was still alive, but well into his 70’s.

So in my head, I had a mental picture of  what, based on my own father and all the other people in their 70’s I had ever known, Joe looked like.  But when I finally met Joe, instead of being greeted by the frail, 5-foot-something man I was expecting, I was greeted by a 6’5”, 250 pound man. A man as healthy, mentally and physically, as any one that age I had ever seen. My wife must have told me about this beforehand, but for whatever reason, I thought she was exaggerating. Nope.

Speaking of that first meeting, it just so happened to fall during the during the 2008 Republican Convention. I of course, am a Liberal Democrat. Joe, as most of my in-laws, was a conservative Republican. So, already intimidated by the physical presence of my father-in-law, I had to to sit there awkwardly, swallowing my tongue, while Joe and the in-laws were hootin’ and hollerin’ in response to Guiliani and, especially, Sarah Palin.  It was excruciating. But I did it. Wifey sensed my plight, and we beat an early exit.  But that experience made an impression on me. Joe, the 6’5”, conservative (oh, and did I mention former cop) with the booming voice, intimidated the hell out of me. And I was 37! I might have pissed myself if I had met Wifey as a teen.

Although the intimidation factor got much, much better over time, it never fully went away. Which is all kinds of stupid, because Joe never once tried to intimidate me. Not on that first day, not ever. He was never anything but nice to me. He had a political philosophy I disagreed with, but he never once argued politics with me or mocked my beliefs. He was a decent, compassionate, honorable man, who raised a magnificent family that he was extremely proud of. All which made his decline that much worse to witness.

And yet, it was also a beautiful three months.

From January to the end, Joe's family and all of the in-law's, self included, went to Joe's house every single day. I can't recall a single day that there was less than five people in the house during the evening hours. A huge feast every night. And during the work day and overnight there were at least two family members there, some of them who flew and drove in from Northern California to comfort Joe and make sure he he got his meds and anything else he needed. It was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. I have never seen a family rally like this, and I am honored to have been a part of it. Joe died in his own home, surrounded by his family. Sad, yet poignant. I can only hope for the same for myself and my family when our time is up.

2. And then, a few weeks later, on April 1, POW!



Yep. I became the father of a beautiful baby girl. Her name is Finley. Being new parents, me and Wifey are still trying to figure this whole parenting thing out. Luckily, we are surrounded by a huge network of supportive family and friends. To say it's been life changing is a huge understatement. We're still getting our sea-legs, but everyday gets a little bit easier, and the sheer terror is supplanted more and more by joy. Single moms are my new heroes. I haven't a clue how they do it.

So as one amazing life ends, another begins. It's been quite the rollercoaster as of late, and with Finley here, that's bound to continue.

As things readjust to the new normal, there will be less time in my life for things like blogging. But this blog is basically my therapist, so it's not like it's going away. I appreciate anyone who has ever laid eyes on this here trainwreck, so here's to many more years of music, politics, sports, and miscellanea and I'll try not to bore you with too many pictures of the cutest baby in the world.
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