Hello loves, I hope you are well. I just wanted to touch base and explain that I've taken a little break from blogging because my father-in-law passed away earlier this month after battling stage 4 advanced melanoma. He was a wonderful man who loved his wife, kids, family, community and church dearly. Anyone who met my father-in-law will miss him dearly. But no one will miss him as much as his children and wife of 35 years- he was a loving husband and an attentive father, who taught his sons and daughters all the important things that father's teach - he taught all four kids to love nature, how to build a fire, fix a flat, change their oil, drive stick, camp in the mountains and repair just about anything that was broken. He had a passion for life and a passion for knowing more about people, I for one, will forever miss his voice booming "Hello MARISA!", and his questions and enthusiasm for my studies and career choice. He was a fantastic dad and I am so proud and lucky to have known him for the time that I was dating, engaged to and married to his son. George was a man who lived life 100% and nothing less- he loved to work, loved to garden, loved to fix things, loved to participate.
The day he passed I wasn't sure what to do. I felt so helpless and unsure about what I should say, do, or even feel. I wanted to move, to fix something...anything. So I put on my running shoes and my gym clothes and I weeded my in-laws garden which had gone untended since his illness. I didn't wear gloves - I just felt like tearing- like pulling out weeds, which grew like cancer through the lovely garden. I don't know if it made much of a difference- weeds always grow back - but I'd like to think maybe he saw me, and was happy that I wasn't afraid fingernails dirty.
Later in the week, JM joined me in the garden whenever we had free time. We both focused our tense energy on clearing out the garden as best we could- coming into the house in the evening covered with dirt and sweat. JM's mom, sisters and brother told stories about George which I had never heard, stories that made us laugh so hard that tears came to our eyes and we almost forgot for a moment that we'd never see him again.
Though George is in a place of comfort, free from pain and suffering, it is those left behind who hurt. I know that the road to normalcy will be long, but this family is filled with love, faith and stories you just can't forget.
And because melanoma sucks, I urge to pass this message along.