Monday, March 26, 2012

a sad goodbye

A week ago this past Friday, on March 16th, we said goodbye to my Father-in-law, Bill.

It was very unexpected. We received a call that he had fallen and was unresponsive. That was Monday evening. By later that night we found he had suffered a stroke, and by wednesday we received the news that his condition was very poor. By 1a.m. Friday morning he had passed.

There is so much about him that I loved, and so much I don't want to forget.

He loved to pick. and pick. and pick. After getting to know him better, it was easy to see where my husband gets it. And he was a jokester. My husband talks of how his dad would rig up different little booby traps to "get" them when they were younger. He also tells of the time when he and his Mom came home to a mysteriously dark house, only to find his Dad had been waiting outside to tap on the windows to scare the poo out of them. And there's the time my husband talks of when his dad took them up to the old covered bridge nearby and hid in the shadows with big pieces of sheet metal. When all the kids were on the bridge, he shook the sheet metal and it made a eerie ghost-like sound and scared them all to death.

And there were those sayings he liked to say ALL the time. "I've been better, just can't remember when" was one of his favorites we all heard on SO many occasions.

He loved history. He was a War Between the States history buff (I would be corrected if I said Civil War). He was a member of reenacting groups for years and could tell you any informations that you wanted to know (and sometimes even if you didn't want to know) about the War, or any other War, war plane, weapon, uniform... anything.

He was very proud of his family's Scottish heritage-- all things Celtic, for that matter. His family's decent was from the Stewart of Appin clan. He played the bodhran drum and penny whistles in two different Celtic bands and would break out into Celtic ballads or verse in a thick Scottish brogue with no warning. I loved it.

If you knew my father-in-law very well-- or even if you had even met him only once-- you knew that he was a storyteller. A certified, went-to-the-conventions, member-of-the-guild, storyteller. There were so many that I heard more than once-- more than two or three times, for that matter. I don't ever want to forget his stories but even now, only a little over a week after he has passed, I find that I can't remember the stories. We had a Halloween party last year and towards the end we had him tell some stories for the kids. (It was actually me who wanted to hear them, though.)

He is missed more than words can express. He wasn't my father, but I loved him. He accepted me into the family and I knew he loved me. There is a hole in our lives now that will never be filled by anyone else. It's going to take a very long time to move on.

Bill with my Brother-in-law

Bill is on the left, doing what he loved.

If you knew him well, you've seen this expression many times.

This is how we will always remember him. 

oh, that pipe.

We said goodbye to Bill at a memorial at St. Peter's Episcopal church, then celebrated his life by throwing a proper Scottish wake at a local pub. The Celtic bands he played in joined us to play and sing, and Bangers and Mash were served (his favorite). I think he would have been so proud.