11 January, 2008
a darker world today
The world is darker and colder today, because yesterday we lost my beloved father-in-law. I can't describe to you properly the feeling of a world with Jack in it: it was like having a perpetual strong, warm arm around your shoulder, a protective, gentle shield that nothing bad or scary could penetrate. He went through the world with absolute generosity, wanting nothing more than to see the people he loved happy and safe. And when he was with us, we were happy and safe. He was optimistic, energetic, unerringly believing all the best of the people around him, and consequently, in the face of that belief, we were more often at our best when he was with us. With all his experience of the world, his was nonetheless an innocent spirit that met life with exuberance and endless energy, unswerving honesty and strength of character. I see a great deal of him in John, and more than a little in Avery, too: an inner essence of goodness and truth.
John is there in Iowa with his dear mother and sister, and Avery and I feel so very far away, farther than an ocean and miles can account for. Yesterday was a day when I suppose I finally grew up. You know, you can coast along looking like an adult for a very long time before you hit a wall that says, "You are no longer a child, so buck up and play your part." My part was to break the news to my sweet child, and try to provide for her, as best I could, the sort of unquestioned love and support that Jack gave me, all the twenty-four and a half years I was privileged to know him. He is the best example I could have had of a great many things: father, grandfather, husband, friend. We love you, John's dad, and we will do our best in this life to deserve the love you gave us.