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Every now and then at noon I would enter his office with a,

“I didn’t bring lunch money today.”

Usually he was on the phone or doing something and his secretary was off during noon, so basically I would just stroll in to his office.

“Okay.”

As he handed me a five dollar bill  (five bucks was the allotted amount each time), but I took them and let myself out and tried to grab a sandwich and go back to my job as a legal secretary in a nearby office.

Never ever did he question or ask me why. He just provided and kept on doing whatever it was he was doing.

I’m talking about my father in law, who was much more a father figure than in- law.

Not only did he provide my lunch money every once in a while, but also he bought our house, and many other things along my life. In other words, he went from small to big and everything in between.

He improved my life in every imaginable way.  He was our handy-man, he took my oldest child to school for her first three school years, our wing man in every financial decision we made, he was a major contributor in each project (he would always offer to split the bill on every major repair our home went through), he pulled us through as my husband waited for a liver transplant eighteen years ago, and in so many many many other things I fail to list here.

A time ago, a cousin told me that people who were gifted things didn’t appreciate them.  That they needed to work hard for them in order to really appreciate them.

I differ because I was given many things by this great guy and I appreciate them every day of my life.

Many years have passed since he became an important part of my life and today I lost him to cancer.  Facing this terrible disease hasn’t been easy for him or us as a family.  During these times I tried to give something back to him, but still I feel that I could have done much more.  Nothing I did seemed enough.  I wanted to shout “thank you” with every thing I did for him or my mother in law.

I’m happy in a sense because he didn’t enter that scary last stage of the disease where the only thing people talk about is the staggering pain their family members experience.

As the hospice nurse told me with a sympathetic voice,

“Nothing really alleviates the pain, it’s too much.”

He left before any of that happened.

Today as I said my goodbyes I felt overwhelmed with memories and with a bit of regret.  Wanting to do more…wanting to take back some things I said or did since that Christmas Eve in 1983 when my today husband took me to his home and I experienced for the first time how a family should celebrate Christmas.

When everything was said and done,  I only could quietly whisper,

“Thank you for everything Dad. I couldn’t have wished for a better father.”

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