As some of you might remember, my family and I moved two years ago to care for my father-in-law, Den, who had cancer (read more about our mission to Save Our Dad).
Den passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning. I am so grateful for the last 2 years we got to spend with him. He changed our lives as we changed his, and I discovered he truly was a kindred geeky spirit.
For me, it took moving into the same house to truly get to know him. He really was amazing (and not just because he would always laugh at my terrible jokes). He was a hard worker and enjoyed being active. He was a caretaker to his wife for many years, a caretaker for his mother-in-law, and a sweetheart. He loved playing cribbage and pool, good food, classic comics and superheros, books, listening to music (we enjoyed many singalongs together!), and especially animals. He had a very kind heart. Den and I went to Rush Ranch often and loved being with the horses or quietly sitting and enjoying nature.
Getting The Phone Call this morning was a shock, even though he's been declining, just because he's always surprised us with his resilience. He regularly bounced back from things that should have killed him (lymphoma, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, and pneumonia--just to name a few). But he was a fighter.
Toward the end, he told me to start taking better care of myself--to focus on my own health and my family. He said he understood that I couldn't be there for him as much as I wanted, and that was okay--even that he'd be angry if I was focusing on him too much. I think he also knew how hard we'd worked to keep him alive and how much it would hurt to let him go.
So, feeling extremely guilty, I did what he told me. I visited less frequently, and he was right. The last few months have seen essential improvements for our family's wellbeing. It was also the time he needed to say his goodbyes and let go, himself.
It hurts, but I'm thankful he's not in pain anymore. Thankful he can breathe freely and deeply. That his body no longer holds back his unconquerable spirit, and he can be with the loved ones he'd lost.
Thank you to everyone who took this journey with us. We've had so much support, love, and prayers. We literally couldn't have made it through these years without them!
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I'm a single mom with 3 special needs children, living in Orem, Utah, overcoming mental illness and crazy health problems to pull my family out of poverty and live my dreams as an author.
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Medical information is based on my own beliefs and experience. Nothing on this site should be used instead of professional medical advice.
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