I sat on a train last Wednesday morning with 2 giddy little children excited to be visiting family instead of being in school. The sun was beating down and we were enjoying some treats we had grabbed in the station…what a beautiful day it was, yet what a painful day it was to become. I was on my way to the hospital to meet Mr Smith with some clothes and moral support as he had been there all night since his Dad had suddenly being taken ill, and taken a turn for the worse…he was with his mother, 10 siblings and some spouses, and we were all worried, yet trying to be hopeful.
15 minutes after pulling out of the station my phone rang and it was my husband breaking the news that his Dad had passed away. My heart broke…for him…for his family…for my children and myself. My eyes welled up and I wished I was there already to hold him, yet felt so inadequate as to how I would support him in this loss. I then looked up on my kids beaming faces and felt immense pain for them…How could I tell them their Grandpa had died… the man they adored and lived adventures with was gone. At 3 & 5 they have already lost a sister, how would they cope with this as well?! That train ride seemed to take FOREVER and that day was filled with immense sadness and shock. It was all so sudden!
I realised a long time ago, and have been reminded of it this last week that the relationships I enjoy with my inlaw’s are beyond average. That the bond I have with Nathan’s parents, siblings and even cousins, are not the same as most people and perhaps are even hard for some to understand, but they are real and they are truly my family too!
I have never not wanted to attend anything with Nathan’s family or felt weird around them, because I love them all, love being with them, they are some of my best mates and we have oodles of fun as well as intense conversation, and the odd disagreement…at times (like next week) I will even sleepover on my own with the kids.
I call his parents “Mum & Dad” not because they replace mine or because I don’t have great parents, but they simply have always embraced me as a daughter (even before Nathan and mines union) and I them in that parent relationship. They are my 2nd Parents and have helped both me and Nath in our lives individually and together as a couple and in our parenting pursuits in so many ways. I have called them on many occasions for chats and advice and I have had many a day out with just them and the kids…I have always felt so very lucky to have married into such a fabulous family, that when I said “I do” to my wonderful husband, that I have since been able to enjoy those deeper bonds with them.
I have also had the privileged of going to various places on my own with Nathan’s dad (usually because I was pregnant and couldn’t enjoy the extreme sports everyone else was) and on each of these occasion I have enjoyed wonderful chats, food and laughter, and then more so as a family we have had great family holiday’s, Parties and quiet weekends all doing very little but just laughing, playing games and talking together. They are a family I am blessed to be a part of, a couple I loved to watch together and individually he was a man I adored like a dad and someone I looked up to and felt blessed to have as a father in law and grandpa to my kids…
I do not know the pain of loosing a parent and I cannot understand completely what my husband is feeling, nor his siblings. I have watched their pain over the last week and wished I could do something, despite feeling a degree of it myself, but we have all known each other loved and appreciated him and would miss him tremendously. I have enjoyed the laughter in his memory and just being together away from the world, but as we return to normality I know we will all be missing his influence, guidance, kindness, humour, presence, ideas, adventures, dancing, and grand-parenting!
The loss of such a significant man in all of our lives will ripple through for years to come, but I am honoured to be married to one of his sons who has dealt with everything with such dignity and strength and who I know will help our children remember the amazing man he was. I hope our marriage reflects the lessons they taught us and I hope we can continue to support one another in the months ahead.