I knew on August 30, 1977, my life had just changed. Forever it would be different. Nothing would ever be quite the same again. That was the day that we lost my dad to cancer. He was only 54.
My dad was the absolute best man I ever knew and just like that...he was gone. He was funny and serious all at the same time. He was a man of great faith. I will always remember him kneeling at the end of his bed at night saying his prayers. He had a work ethic like no one else I knew and he was a good provider for his family. He was just a really good man. Everybody loved my dad.
He loved my mom. They taught me what real love was and how to be a good wife and have a good marriage. They taught by example and I watched and learned. I loved to watch when they would leave on a Saturday night to go out dancing. That was back when people dressed up to go out and he always looked so handsome and proud to have my beautiful mother on his arm.
He loved his kids. Oh my gosh did he love us. Three daughters and one son. We were so young. It wasn't fair to lose him that soon. We were 28, 27, 22 and 17. My brother was just a senior in high school. How could that possibly be fair? There was so much more that he could have taught him. We girls were all married then, but we still needed him so much.
Dad's four grandkids were the lights of his life. He couldn't get enough of them. They were 9, 5, 2 and 2. My daughter was one of the two year olds. She was actually two and half. There are two things that she remembers about Grandpa Casey. He would get down on the floor and hop around like a frog and chase her and her cousins and he would hold her up on top the fence to watch the high school marching band practice.
I was right about life being different. It never was quite the same again. Life went on, of course it did. It always does. We all muddled along trying to find a way to have a life without dad in it. But, it was hard to get used to going to my parents house and not having dad be there. I would have given anything to pull up in my car and see him sitting on the front porch reading the newspaper or working on a project in his work shop. There were far too many times that I would pick up the phone to call and ask dad a question and be heartbroken when I remembered he wouldn't answer.
My mom was only 51 when dad died. I am embarrassed to say that it took me several years to realize how young mom was. I only thought about how young dad was. Looking back on this all now at the ripe old age of 57, holy crap was mom young!!
My aunt did realize how young mom was and several years later, she introduced my mom to her neighbor Ed. Eddie actually. Ed just worked better with that snappy title. Eddie was a widower and he seemed like a nice guy.
Poor Eddie was introduced to our motley crew all at once at a barbecue at mom's house. We should have been on our best behavior. We may have even been warned to be on our best behavior, but of course, we weren't. There may have been some drinking involved and the culmination of our bad behavior ended with a water balloon fight. The last straw was when someone ran in the back door to get away from someone else and the other person heaved a water balloon at the screen door and soaked the back porch. Mom was furious and rightfully so. Eddie was just taking it all in and I don't remember him saying much.
Obviously, we must not have been too scary because Eddie married my mom. They celebrated 30 years last October. Mom has now actually been married to Eddie longer than dad. Mom and dad were just approaching their 30th anniversary when dad died.
Eddie is a good man. He loves my mom and has taken such good care of her. He loves us kids with all our flaws. (water balloons included) He loves the grandkids and he is downright crazy about the great grandkids. He is an awesome wood worker. He has made us all amazing bird houses. He also made all the girls a wooden cutting board in the shape of a pig.
Eddie turned 90 on June 14th. He is having some health issues at the moment, but he is fighting like a trooper. I think he will make a good recovery. If love and prayers count for anything, I know he will.
Everything I said in the first paragraph is true. My life changed, it was different and never was quite the same after dad died. To this day, I would still give anything to have him back. To have him know all my kids and grand kids. I think he would especially be thrilled that I had twins. They ran on his side of the family. He would be over the moon for these great grand kids. He missed way too much.
But, my life has changed for the good too. Eddie brought lots of good to all of our lives. I love him and he loves us. He has showed us that in so many ways for so many years. I want only the best for him and my mom. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about dad and miss him. I will always wish that he was still here with us, but I know that wasn't meant to be.
I'm happy that Eddie came into mom's life and made her happy again. I'm happy that I have an amazing step dad. If I can't have my dad, I'm happy I have Eddie.