This past week we had to say goodbye to John (my stepfather– he and my mom never married, but I consider him a stepdad), after his long battle with melanoma. Defying all expectations at his diagnosis, he made it just shy of 5 years. I feel so blessed to have had him in my life for the past fourteen years, and I miss him so much already. There are so many things every day that remind me of him…
I will remember how he always said that “For every problem, there’s a solution.” He was never one to sweat the small stuff, always making the rest of us feel at ease during difficult times. I can never remember seeing him angry; he just took everything in stride.
I will remember that he always considered himself blessed to be alive. Even when he was at the end of his journey, he would remark about all of the things he had to be thankful for in life.
I will remember his “never quit” attitude. He never gave in to cancer, even until the end. He always looked for the silver lining at his appointments, refusing to believe that his illness would be terminal.
I will remember his quiet generosity. He went out of his way to help so many people, whether it was as a teacher or at his tennis club. Many people never knew how much he did for others. He didn’t do it for acknowledgement, but because it was the right thing to do.
I will remember his sense of humor. He never lost his sense of humor either. He jokingly referred to himself as the Godfather, as everyone from different parts of life came to visit him at the end. He was always quick to offer a witty remark.
I will remember his tremendous ability to teach. As a fourth grade teacher, he was often given the most difficult students, because he was the only one who could get through to them. Years later they remembered John as a light in their educational journey.
I will remember his infectious smile and piercing blue eyes.
I will remember how much he loved and appreciated my mother. After a difficult divorce, my Mom met John and he treated her like a queen. It made me so happy to see how much he loved her and appreciated everything she had to offer. They had so much fun in their years together, whether on the tennis court or off.
I will remember John and how much he loved his little dog Mickey. It was so funny to see the two of them riding around in his convertible. The girls at the bank used to smile and laugh every time they came through the bank’s drive through! They were a dynamic duo, with each missing the other every time they were apart.
I will remember him as a father figure, always there to talk to and help you figure out what to do. I will miss you so much John. I think of you every day, and I hope that you are up in heaven on the tennis court, doing what you loved most. I know that we will have a guardian angel up there looking out for us, urging us to not sweat the small stuff and enjoy living in the moment….Rest in peace…