Friday, May 2, 2008

A Celebration of Life

This is a week for celebrating the blessed life of my FIL. Wednesday morning he peacefully slipped from life on earth into his eternal life. He was fortunate enough to have been able to stay in his home and be surrounded by his family at the time of his passing.

To say it was expected would not be true. However, he lived longer than any of us ever expected that he would. He had celebrated his 90th birthday last November. His beloved wife of over 61 years passed away four years ago and I know he missed her until the moment of his death. Three years ago he suffered a stroke that had left him with a slight disability. Never a complaining man, he accepted his limitations and lived his life with dignity and class.

I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the most loving, wonderful set of in-laws that anyone could ever imagine. Being married to the eldest of the six sons, I was their first DIL. I was treated as though I was one of their own and I cherished my times spent with them.

They both had such a marvelous sense of humor. Their laughs were contagious. They enjoyed great music and they LOVED to dance. I have been at conventions with them where people would clear the dance floor to just watch them dance together. Unfortunately, they did not pass that trait on to their sons!








My in-laws were childhood sweethearts who married days before my FIL shipped off to South Africa with his army troop during the war. My MIL moved to NYC to live with a cousin while he was overseas. His return home was more than joyous and allowed them to travel by train to Los Angeles. Arriving on a glorious January day in 1945, they walked out of the train station to the smell of the citrus trees in bloom. The decision was made not to return to their hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota.

My FIL managed to get a job in the insurance industry and six sons arrived over the next twelve years. Business went well and he was able to open his own agency in the 1950s. Eventually all six sons joined the family business.

Eventually the sons married and the grandchildren arrived - 41 in all. The oldest grandson also joined the business. It was a great source of pride to my FIL to have been the start of it all. He was still going into the office as recently as last week. He did, however, refuse to allow a computer on his desk!

The years passed and 20 great grandchildren joined his family. His legacy will continue for many, many years.

He and my MIL loved their life together and a light went out when she passed away. He awoke each morning to her photo on his dresser and never failed to tell her "goodnight" before retiring at the end of the day.


Will we miss him? Oh yes, we will miss him like nothing else. It would be selfish to want him to stay with us forever when he has lived his whole life for this end. I know there is a celebration going on and I look forward to the time when we will all be joined once again.

26 comments:

Susie said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Your tribute to your father in law was loving and so heartfelt. What a wonderful blessing to have shared his life for so long with the woman he loved. He leaves a wonderful legacy.
My prayers are with you..
xo

ceekay said...

First of all I am so sorry for your loss, but thankful that you have such wonderful memories of both your parents in law. Secondly, thank you for visiting my blog. And finally, wow, your postcards are adorable. I would be squealing all over the place to get a card like that in the mail. Thanks for the directions, but I do not believe it would look the same...I love all the decorative stitching. Have a great weekend!

Sue said...

What wonderful in-laws you had, my heart goes out to you at the loss of your FIL. May the angels rejoice as they are joined together. Thank you for the lovely memorial that you wrote about them.

Suzy said...

So sorry to hear of your family's loss of your FIL. You have such wonderful memories of you inlaws to remember and that's wonderful!
God bless,
Suzy

Midlife Mom said...

What a lovely tribute to your MIL and FIL! They certainly lived a full life to the very end. Our thoughts are with you and E during this time and with all of the rest of your family. As a close family I know you will miss him but are joyful that he is once again with the love of his life. Wonderful post! xoxoxo

Linds said...

What an absolutely beautiful tribute to for parents-in-law. Just beautiful, my friend. His legacy is all around your family, and the love that seeps through your words is so clear for all to see. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Flip Flop Floozie said...

What a wonderful tribute to your FIL!! This is great!! I know that he is enjoying it too!! What a great man he sounded like!! laughing is such a great thing to do in this life!!
I am so sorry for your loss. I can see that it was a huge loss.

Blessings, Sandy

verobirdie said...

I am sorry for your loss and this must be a very sad time for all of you. Your post is both moving and so full of love.

Terry@quilt-nut said...

I'm sorry about your FIL but what you said is true. There is a celebration going on and you will see him again. It was lovely what you wrote about their life. I enjoyed reading it. I also married the oldest son and was the first DIL and they also treat me as their own daughter. It is a special place to be. I will be praying for your family. Terry

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh I am so sorry for your families loss. You will all be in my thoughts.

This is a beautiful post and tribute to you inlaws. Such a beautiful love they had for each other and a blessing they could be together for so long.

Many hugs,
Amy

AJ said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Father-in-law. I will pray for you and your family during this time.

PEA said...

Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear of your loss...my sympathies to you and the family!! Such a wonderful tribute this post is to the memory of two very special people in your life. You were very lucky to have gotten along so well with your in laws:-) Looking at their picture, one can tell they were happy, just look at those genuine smiles they both have. Your FIL certainly did leave a wonderful legacy behind him and I've no doubt it will continue for generations to come!! xoxo

Mississippi Songbird said...

I'm so so sorry for you loss. My prayers are with you and your family..

Stephanie said...

Im so sorry to hear this, but so happy that you have such awesome memories. Keep them close,
Stephanie

cherished*vintage said...

That was a wonderful tribute to your FIL. He looked like a fun-loving guy in your picture. I'm glad he is together again with the love of his life.
-Karoline

Artsy Etc. said...

My sincere sympathy to you for your loss. What a wonderful tribute you have given him. What lovely memories you share. Much love is sent your way.

palmtreefanatic said...

this is a wonderful tribute! Nicely put post!!!I am so sorry for your loss! May God Bless you!!!
xoxoxox

Beemoosie said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father in law. May those wonderful memories console your family.

Hugs
Bonnie

nancygrayce said...

I am so sorry for your loss, but celebrate with him in his real home! We are facing the loss of my dear fil anytime now. It is a privilege to be able to help care for him! As you did, I love my inlaws and are so blessed to have them not only as family but also, friends.

My prayers are for comfort for all he leaves behind to cherish his memory!

G'G'ma said...

What a lovely tribute to your father-in-law. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Sounds like you have wonderful memories to cherish of a beautiful life lived. God's blessings.

NanaKaren said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute to your in-laws. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dawn said...

What a sweet, sweet story! There is nothing like long, wonderful marriages. I am thankful he is back with his sweetheart!

I don't blame them for not going back to Minnesota! I haven't either, though it is a beautiful place.

Valerie said...

What a beautiful tribute to your FIL. I know if he could read this he would be so proud. I am so sorry for your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you. This is a beautiful love story. Thank you for sharing.

Barbara said...

what a blessing to have such loving in-laws.

Alice Grace said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I know that you will miss him, but you have such lovely memories of your FIL. What a void he leaves in your lives! You have made a great tribute to him and your MIL. I know that they felt your love while they were here.

Kerri said...

Oh how sad. I'm so sorry to hear you've been through this difficult time. Your words are a beautiful tribute and have painted a picture of a dearly loved and loving father, husband and grandpa. He must've been a truly remarkable man...the patriarch of a wonderful family. And your MIL was obviously just as special as he was.
I know you'll treasure their your memories of them.
Sending a hug and saying a prayer for you and your family. xoxo