Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Angel in a Time of Need

Today would be my father-in-law's birthday. It's the first birthday since he passed. We were very close and I miss him terribly. Not long after my husband and I got married, my mother-in-law passed away. We had just moved, and had just learned we were expecting our first child. It was a very emotional, and at times, overwhelming period. I began to wonder what I had been thinking, how could I be a mother? I didn't know how to take care of someone else. I remember praying, asking God to help prepare me for motherhood. And he sent my father-in-law.

My father-in-law was older than my mother-in-law, and he got married later in life. My husband also got married a little later in life...so while I was in my late 20s, my father-in-law was in his late 80s. He was often mistaken for my grandfather (except that one time I took him to the gerontologist, where the computer had me listed as his spouse...but that's another story for another day). My father-in-law was sharp as a tack but with his age and health, he needed some help getting around, some assistance with the tasks of daily living. He was a gift. It was a joy to have him with us, and I grew to love him very much. He was truly an answer to my prayer.

Our first child, in turn, was an answer to his prayers. Imagine becoming a grandparent for the first time at the age of 90! Our little girl was the apple of his eye. She gave him a whole new reason for living.

Eventually, my father-in-law's age caught up with him. His health had started to decline right around the time we learned we were expecting Julia. I hoped and prayed he would be there to see our next child, and thanks be to God, he was. That summer, however, he really started to go downhill. Those last weeks and days were incredibly stressful. I had never watched anyone die before. I would leave, completely drained, thinking I couldn't go back and do it again the next day. But then I would hold Julia, and snuggle with her, skin to skin, and that gave me the strength to return to my father-in-law for another day. Just as God sent my father-in-law to help prepare me for motherhood, he sent Julia to be a comfort and a shade as I watched my beloved father-in-law pass away. She's not even a year old and she's already served a tremendous purpose. She is truly a gift.

1 comment:

  1. And I am all tears now! Your father-in-law was a great grandpa and I am glad you all live close enough that I was able to get to know him a little. He was so happy and joyful! Your first born has sweet memories of him she will carry with her always!