On Sunday morning, as most of us slept soundly in our beds, my father-in-law, Brent, passed away after a long battle with cancer.
I was very proud to call him Dad because he embodied everything a dad should. He was funny in that dad-joke kind of way. He was kind. He was sentimental. He was generous. Most of all, he was very loving.
Like many, I came from a broken family filled with dysfunction. I didn’t have an idyllic childhood and it left a gaping hole in my heart.
In the short decade I knew my father-in-law, that hole in my heart was slowly filled with all of the experiences and memories I longed for as a child. I got to eat his tasty brisket and party mix. I got to play Cards Against Humanity with him and laugh. I’ll always carry with me the memories of him feeding my son too much cheese the first time I brought him to Kansas with us. I’ll always have the memories of him sharing his love of jazz with my son and making him a little photo book of their week together. He was always fussing over things just as a dad should.
Most of all, he was always vulnerable enough to show his affection and that is probably the best gift he could have ever given me.
For the last decade, he brought joy to my heart. Along with my mother-in-law, he gave me the gift of answering all of those unanswered prayers I had as a child and teenager, and even as an adult.
I have a lot of guilt because I couldn’t ever express how much he meant to me while he was living. I tried in the ways I know how with the very little skills I have. I hope he knew how much he did for me and how happy I genuinely was to spend time with him.
I will miss him very much. My heart is heavy, but I am also very thankful for all of the happiness I experienced because he existed. I love you very much. I’ll see you again someday. Have the brisket ready.