Monday, November 3, 2008

The Good Die Young

Today is the 15th anniversary of the death of the greatest man I never knew. My father in law Gene. Calling him my father in law seems somehow odd to me because for all purposes Shawn's step dad Chris is my father in law. The one I know anyway and I absolutely adore him.

Gene was killed when a woman pulled out in front of him on his motor cycle. The family was faced with the difficult decision to remove him from life support. I pray to God that is a decision I never have to make.

From the stories I hear at every family gathering Gene was as close to perfection as one can get. He didn't drink but he kept a case of beer, warm beer, in the cupboard for friends and family. He also kept a rag in the glove box of his car so he could buff away finger prints on the impeccably waxed paint surfaces of his car. His young brother in law once borrowed his Mustang to take to the prom. He totalled it. I hear varying stories of what happened to the brother in law but he is still alive and walking well so I don't know how much of those stories are true.

From what I hear when his kids would piss him off he would have a short temper tantrum and quickly recover as if nothing was ever said. Choosing instead to calm down and be rational about the problem. Shawn is very much the same way.

He died when he was 42 years old and was nearly bald and almost totally grey. Exactly like Shawn looks right now at the age of 35. From what the family says Shawn is his dad reincarnated.

I met Gene's best friend a few years back. I told him I was Gene's daughter in law. This man who was fighting one of the biggest fires this area has seen in ages stopped short, got a tear in his eye and hugged me. That speaks loudly to me of the lasting impact Gene had on his family and friends.

I have yet to hear a bad thing about this man. Surely there must have been something because he was human. He lived his life well. Worked hard. Loved his wife and his children and had beautiful friendships. I guess what they say is true. The good die young. I hope one day on the other side I will have the chance to meet this wonderful man and thank him for all he left behind.


Cat November 3, 2008 at 10:22 AM  

I haven't heard this whole story before. Thank you.

Dornbrau November 5, 2008 at 12:23 PM  

What an awesome story, that you can have so much respect and affection for someone whom you have never met says a lot about the person, and yourself!

Elle Charlie November 5, 2008 at 4:11 PM  

It sounds like you really value Shawn's family - that's a very sweet and loving post you wrote about your father in law.

Cat November 7, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

I LOVE your new header! That is so relaxing :)

Michelle November 7, 2008 at 1:16 PM  

It was relaxing. You should have been there!!

Cat November 7, 2008 at 1:24 PM  

Damn, I know. Maybe next time.

Dornbrau November 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM  

Hey Michelle, I need your email address so I can add you to Gabe's blog. Thanks,

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I am Mom to 4 of the most kick ass kids ever! I learn shenanigans from them every day.



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