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My Stepfather

Monday, February 02, 2015

I don't know why my stepdad (who I always just called dad) has been on my mind a lot lately. The anniversary of his birthday isn't until late April and the anniversary of his passing was in November. It was also back in 1988 that he passed from this world to the next. But for whatever reason, I have been thinking of him.

My birth dad, whom I also loved, was married to my mom until he passed away when I was 8 years old. He was a lot older than my mom and died of kidney complications. My stepfather's sister and mother lived next door to my mom and when my stepdad would visit them he would come and talk to my dad too. He was 18 years older than my mom and had never been married at age 51. He worked a lot of farm work and also for the Forest Service building fences and other forest maintenance and worked 10 days on and 4 days off. After my father passed away, my mom married him 4 months later. I have always thought a lot of the reason she married him was because she dropped out of school in the 8th grade, had no real skills, and had me and my brother(2 1/2 years younger than me) and she was scared. So she married a family friend. 10 months later my half brother was born and he was 9 1/2 years younger than me. I did a lot of "mothering" of him. I am still much closer to him than I was to my full brother at almost 60 years old.

Anyway, my stepdad seemed kind of stern. He'd never had kids and never knew how to show us real love. This was also the early 60's and things were different than now. And e had worked on farms most of his life and a lot of families worked hard and didn't know how to really show love in the remote areas he often worked in when not working for the forest service. About a year later I had to have my appendix out, and then a little later my tonsils and was hospitalized both times. Also once my mom married him she told me and my brother not to talk about my dad because it made my stepdad feel bad, so we stopped talking about him a few months after he passed away. A whole different world back then. And with my half brother now in the family, and his first real child when he didn't think he would have any, my littlest brother seemed spoiled by him and to get favor and the things we never got.

It wasn't until I was grown and had my own kids that I began to realize how much he really loved all of us. I found out how he cried when I was a child and had to be hospitalized for the surgeries. When I was about 14 or 15 we had a flat on the car we were in, and he had me change the tire. At the time I thought he was lazy and was not happy at all about it. Later I realized that he was teaching me a very valuable lesson not all women learn and I have changed many tires in my life because he taught me how. He could have done it himself but instead used it to teach me. He taught me how to drive on a rural road in his old Dodge truck with standard transmission, although my mom had an automatic (she never did learn to drive a stick shift). Now I can easily drive either and have owned both stick and automatic in my life. He worried over a lot of things. Money was often tights and he worried about how we would be fed, which I never knew. I thought it was all my mom. He had also dropped out in the 6th grade and as I grew into high school I often had to help him and my mom with paperwork and other things they never learned to do. But after I became and adult with kids I began to see him differently. Him and my mom were married for 25 years and had a repeat of the wedding for their 25th anniversary on November 1st 1988. Tragically, he had a heart attack 11 days later and passed away 14 days after their anniversary. It took many years, but he finally accepted Jesus as his savior about a year before that and the last year of their marriage was so much better than the first 24 years. I had the privilege of being with him and my mom when he passed to the next world and there was such and awesome peace in the intensive care room where he was. I will never forget that either.

I wish I had allowed myself to believe in him a kid but me and my full brother were against him from the moment he married my mom. We were not happy about it. Maybe if we could have talked about our real dad with our mom and got our grief out we would have worked through it better. I don't know. I do know now that my mom did the best she could at the time but the books and tv shows and all the other resources about how kids grieve were not available at that time and she was on her own to try to figure out. I guess they thought we could move on and forget him so much easier. I realized later that my stepdad did have a difficult time trying to win us over and no resources to tell him how to do it.

The other day I was thinking of God's love too. To many He is stern and uncaring. But to me He's a more wonderful father than I ever knew here on earth. But like my stepdad, I can't even comprehend just how much He loves us while I'm here. I will have to pass to the other side before I can fully understand the length and depth and breadth of His love, just like I couldn't understand my stepfather until I was grown. Its more than we can ever grasp here. But I do get a little of it because I allow myself to now. I didn't allow myself to understand how my stepfather felt till much later. And even with God it took time to see what I see now. But like my stepdad after I was an adult, the more I open myself up to God the more I learn.

So don't close yourself off from love from either human people or from God that you might not being seeing because you have your mind made up a different way. Allow yourself to feel and to know what wonderful things there are for you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Very sweet
    I know I have a different perspective from child to adult, I feel a bit ashamed of how I disrespected my mom and a few other people, taking the time to think where they are coming from and walking a mile in their shoes changed my attitude.
    It is funny, because despite all the bad things about tv, I learned a lot of social graces and how to handle different situations from tv shows. One example, I used to die of embarrassment when I made a gaffe and just never want to see the people who witnessed it again, the feeling would last for months, one time on a tv show when something similarily embarrassing happened to the character, the character said "Well this is awkward" addressed the situation, everyone laughed and moved on. And I used that, it worked for me too.
    1556 days ago
    Hi Linda,

    I think all of us have difficulty relating to some people in our lives. I see this in my own family. Your stepdad, like a lot of men, kept his emotions in check. It is great that you now understand the things your step dad did for you. I love your parallel between the love of the Good Lord and your the love of your stepdad. Both are difficult to perceive.

    I hope you are doing well.

    1562 days ago
  • AMBER281
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    1563 days ago
    Linda, your story brought up so many emotions for me. Some of it seem to be speaking about my own story. The passage of time allows us to see with fresh eyes. I am glad you have a different perspective now.
    I am glad you have peace in your heart.

    1563 days ago
    What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it with us.
    1565 days ago
    I am happy to have read your blog, Linda-- and it has touched my heart. Our family circumstances, our environment-- have an enormous impact on our development, As children, it is nearly impossible to have a mature understanding of this. You have grown in Christian maturity, and you have gained wisdom and compassion from your experience. Bless you, dear Linda, for sharing your story. Your faith is a shining example for others, and I sincerely thank you for your message here.-----
    1565 days ago
  • LAURA747681
    This was absolutely beautiful, the way you have grown and seen him in new lights as you look back. I am so glad you have these insights....I have a mom still with me, but it has just been in the last few years that I realized all she sacrificed for me and my brother, the things she endured and did without. Your beautiful writing reminded me of that, and to be grateful. Times were so different in the 60's too when I was a child as well. I am so thankful that you took the time to share your heart. God bless you!!! emoticon
    1566 days ago
  • JUDITH316
    Beautiful Tribute and emoticon thank you for sharing...

    Linda, you are such a beautiful woman, inside and out which shows to all who come along your path...Indeed, you Shine with God's Love, Care and Compassion! emoticon emoticon
    1567 days ago
    What a beautiful tribute to your stepfather. Thank you for sharing!
    1567 days ago
    How lovely to be able to understand and forgive after all these years. What a blessing for you! I hope I can always try to do the same.
    1568 days ago
    This is so beautiful, Linda! It shows how much you thought of your parents and realized that they did the best they could with what they had. How wonderful that your stepdad had a chance to be a father before he passed from this world, and that you have a very special brother! Many people would have grown up not liking or understanding a man like that, who didn't show you love. How wonderful that he became a Christian and was saved......I have attended many deaths as a Hospice Nurse, and I know what you mean about the feeling of peace when a believer passes. It is totally different with an unbeliever! I wish atheists could see that, they would know without a doubt that God is indeed, very real! emoticon
    1568 days ago
  • UNICORN212
    What a great tribute. You are an awesome person to have recognized that they did the best they could back then. It was such a different world. A world that kids today would not be able to function in. How times have changed!
    1568 days ago
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and heartfelt part of your life. emoticon
    1568 days ago
    My dear, I am sure your stepdad is smiling @ this. AND your Dad. Blessings. You have learned, and now taught thru your blog, man about the lesson of being open to love in the many ways it is shown.

    1568 days ago
    My dear, I am sure your stepdad is smiling @ this. AND your Dad. Blessings. You have learned, and now taught thru your blog, man about the lesson of being open to love in the many ways it is shown.

    1568 days ago
    What a beautiful tribute to your Step-father, and a wonderful exposition of your faith in God's love... which passes all human understanding.

    emoticon emoticon
    1568 days ago
  • GRACED777
    A beautiful story--you have come far to learn this much. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing. emoticon
    1568 days ago
    1568 days ago
    Oh, dear, dear Linda! What a beautiful blog, thank you so much for sharing. We each have a story to tell that makes us who we are. Your story made you such a caring, loving, compassionate and strong woman. God has blessed you and you have blessed us and so many others.


    1568 days ago
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