We said goodbye to a man today that has been in my life for over 30 years. My ex-father in law passed away last Thursday, he has had health issue for many years now but it still feels so unexpected. I went to the services and have spent the last several days with a family I was once a part of, watching my children grieve the loss of a grandfather, my ex-husband, and first love grieve the loss of a father. I wanted to be there to help, I wanted to be there to say goodbye. I looked around at this family, large Italian family and wondered what it would have been like to have stayed.
I entered their lives at 13, a young and wounded girl with a large crush on their son. My life had just changed so very drastically a little more than a year before (another story I may tell at another time) I was hurt, lost, abandoned…..discarded. I had no parents in my life. I lived with a family that hated me but for reasons that are their own I lived in a small back room there. I went to dinner one night and meet the family that would one day become my own. We did not always see eye to eye and I admit to making numerous mistakes with how I handled situations through the years and experiences with them but I look around now and realize that they never gave up on me and even in my absence I was welcome. This couple loved my children with a fierce and unconditional love and for that, I cannot even express my gratitude. They helped to build a foundation of love, responsibility, and family for them and in all these years I have been too broken to see and appreciate it properly. I am unable to express how much this meant to me to Joe now but I do think he knew. I hope that this lesson of loss and realization of a family stay with me and touch my children profoundly. There was every reason to turn their back and never try again but every time I would show up for a random holiday or special occasion (yes I was invited haha) I was always welcomed like it had been last week they had talked with me. Sometimes home isn’t a place, sometimes it is a feeling, a person, a family. I hope that tonight there is peace knowing that Joe is no longer suffering and is in a glorious Heaven in the presence of our Lord. Rest in Peace Joe, you will be missed.