This blog post has been difficult for me to write. I’m finding it hard to come up with the words that accurately describe a man like my step-father, Dan. He passed away on September 27th after a five-month long fight with ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). He was far too young to go and no one was ready…even after his five-month struggle. We all just thought he was going to get better. Maybe he wouldn’t be as mobile or as healthy as before, but we thought he would at least get to come home at some point. It was sudden at the end.
My mom was introduced to Dan in 1986 by some neighbors. Dan was about to be divorced and was living in an apartment across the street from us. That first introduction led to a date and that date led to true love. I was 12 when they met, and I regret that I didn’t really take to Dan for a number of years. It had been just me and my mom for so long, that it was very strange to have someone else around. I was a snotty teenager who didn’t know any better and didn’t care about anyone but myself, so I made their lives kind of miserable when I was around. In later years, I hope that I made up for my early behavior towards Dan. He became a friend, an advice giver, and a support system. More importantly, however, he was an amazing partner and husband to my mom. They were married in 1993 and enjoyed 18 wonderful years as husband and wife (25 years together).
Dan was so loved by everyone he knew. He was kind, generous, smart, and as loyal as they come. I’m so sad that we didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to him. Vaughan and Rheya last saw him in April right before he got sick, so it was difficult to explain to them why he wasn’t around and why they couldn’t see him. After he died, Rheya kept telling us that Grandpa was in the hospital and he was sick. She’s too young to really understand death. After several days, Vaughan finally seemed to understand.
I hurt for my mom who has lost her best friend. I hope that in time her heart will begin to heal, but I know a hurt like this never truly heals. One just becomes accustomed to the empty feeling and learns to adapt.
Here are a couple of pictures of Dan. One from my mom’s birthday on February 2, 2011 and the other from Thanksgiving of 2010.
His funeral service was amazing and full of tears and kind words from friends and loved ones. There was a reception after the service and then a gathering at a the home of some dear friends. That’s where the rest of these pictures were taken.
We celebrated Dan’s amazing life with stories and some music. There were more tears and hugs, but lots of smiles too. We’ll miss him every day. We love you, Dan.