Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | March 4, 2013

One Of A Handful Of People

I want to tell you about a man that I know.  First I will start off by giving you a quick synopsis about his life.  He is someone who has been through more than his fair share of hardships in his life. 

When this man was just a very young man he was drafted to fight a war that many believed we shouldn’t be fighting, but he went and served with honor and heroism.  When he arrived back in the states there was no hero’s welcome for him or other troops, just people who were unappreciative and unwelcoming.  He fought for his country and to be treated like that was the one bitterness he did harbor.  Times are different now and people see how the soldiers were treated back then and know it was wrong.  They have done their best to let these veterans know how much they are appreciated now and he appreciates that.  He also came home to an empty house with divorce papers sitting on the table waiting for him.  Of course while not at the time, it turned out that was a good thing because he then met the love of his life that he has now been married to for 40 years.  It would be a few years later that his brother would die in a car crash and a few years after the crash that his father would pass away from a massive heart attack at work.

Later in life he would be diagnosed with a brain tumor.  After radiation treatments he would be relieved that those treatments had taken care of the tumor.  That joy would be short lived though.  It would only be months later that he would find out that he had Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a very rare type of Lymphoma cancer.  He would spend six weeks in the IU Simon Cancer Center taking one of the strongest doses of chemotherapy and doing a stem-cell transplant to fight the cancer.  Relief would come again after the chemo and months of seeing the doctor for follow-ups when one visit resulted in the doctor telling him he was in remission.  Just recently he was again in the hospital.  This time it was due to a ruptured spleen.  He had to have surgery to remove the spleen.  Not having the spleen makes him more susceptible to germs and infections since it is the spleen that produces antibodies to help fight those things off.  That is where things stand now.  After all of this happening in his life, everyone would understand if he was this old grumpy man who hated the world, but he is not.

It was 17 years ago when I first met him.  At that time to me he was the scary dad of the daughter I was dating.  I made sure the one person I didn’t anger was him.  As time went by his daughter and I got married (we are still married) and I got to know him and hear the stories of the past.  I have lived the stories of the past few years and the trouble he has had.  I think to myself how life isn’t fair to put one man through so much.  I also look at how he has survived, overcome, and defeated these obstacles in his life.  I see how he has kept pushing on with life and living.  He has not withdrawn from friends and family, he does not show anger at life, and he does it all with his quiet demeanor.  He has lived life the same way he fought the war, with honor, courage, and heroism. 

I was 20 when I first met him and I am now 37.  In those years he is one of a handful of people who has had a huge impact on the man I have become.  He has shown me what a hard work ethic is.  During projects over the years he has taken the time to teach me how to do things so that I might be able to do those things on my own the next time and pass that skill down to my kids.  He has amazing patience when teaching you those things too.  He doesn’t rush you or get frustrated when you aren’t doing it right.  He takes his time to make sure you get it right and understand how it was done.  For someone like me, who hasn’t had a lot of experience fixing things or building things, him taking his time to teach me those things are invaluable.    

He is always helping others when they need it.  Countless times I have seen him help friends and family with remodeling, fixing cars, and many other things but not once have I ever seen him complain about it or ask why they couldn’t do it themselves.  He does this unselfishly and with the same work ethic as if it was his project that needed done.  I believe it is one way for him to show us how he cares for us.    

I have watched as he attended his son’s, and now his grandchildren’s, school events.  He does it with pride and enthusiasm.  He doesn’t act like it is boring and he shows them he is interested.  He smiles more when they are around which shows us how much he enjoys their company.     

Through the years he has not sat down and philosophized with me about life, but instead has shown me how to live it through his actions.  He doesn’t back down from the tough things in life, but instead meets them head on.  If he is scared he doesn’t show it and he doesn’t let the fear stop him from doing what he has to do to survive.  He does this all with his quiet demeanor and his forceful actions of pushing forward with life and not giving up, which speaks to me more loudly than any words he could ever speak to me.     

He treats me with respect because of who I am, and not just because I am married to his daughter.  He shows me kindness and generosity with his actions towards me.  He has taught me skills that will forever help me in my life and that I can pass down to my children.  Through his actions he has shown me what bravery, strength, and courage are.  He has been a major father figure in my life so when I see him I do not think or see the words in-law at all, I only see the word father. 

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