May 5th, Cinco De Mayo, my father-in-law would have celebrated his 74th birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away 14 years ago at the tender age of 60, so young.
My husband and I are back in the area where my father-in-law is laid to rest after a 15 year absence. We got flowers and went to the cemetery to celebrate his birthday. It had been quite a while since we were there so it took some looking but we finally found it. There hadn’t been any flowers so the vase was still in its upside down position in the headstone. I worked it loose and my hubby filled it with water. We put it back in position and added the flowers. It looked beautiful. Bright colored daisies and other flowers I don’t know now adorned the headstone.
We talked about and to Bill as we stood there — remembering. Questions filled my mind — questions I didn’t have answers too. I loved my father-in-law. He was a hoot. Bill hugged me every time I saw him, talked with me eagerly and made me feel like one of the family. I realize now, I didn’t know him as well as I would’ve liked. He was funny, serious, intelligent and goofy — I loved that eclectic personality.
I’d heard stories of the “strict” dad from his kids but all I ever really saw was a life-loving husband, father and grandfather. My son was only 11 when he passed, yet Bill made a huge impression on him. Brendan still talks about him a lot — misses him. Brendan is a golfer — Bill was a wannabe golfer. He took Brendan all over the state when he was young so that he could participate in the state wide junior golf tour. Brendan tells stories of Bill psyching him up on the drives to the tournaments and either congratulating him or consoling him on the rides home.
One time, Brendan forgot his golf shoes. He tells the story of how upset his grandpa was because Brendan hadn’t prepared and laid out the equipment he needed for the tournament. Brendan said he was in tears, upset with himself for not remembering the shoes as they walked in the pro shop. Grandpa, however, bypassed the counter and headed straight for the golf shoes display. Brendan asked what he was doing and grandpa said:
“You can’t do your best without the proper equipment and you always have to do your best.” Then Grandpa proceeded to buy him a brand new set of golf shoes. Brendan took first place that day…
I miss you Bill — we all do — but we remember you always.