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.