Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Memoriam

My father-in-law has been sick for as long as I've known him. It wasn't much of a shock when he was diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of years ago, but he fought it rather well, still managing to meet up with his friends and going on his yearly vacation to Pas-de-Calais, where he and my mother-in-law grew up. But he started slowing down around the time we went on vacation together in August. He was so poorly that it was a special effort for him to come visit me and Fry, his ninth grandchild, in the maternity. He only stayed for about ten minutes, but it touched me greatly.

At the end, it was fast. Mercifully fast. Last Thursday he was still moving around the house on his own and I saw him sitting in his favorite chair in front of the tv. When I was having my colonoscopy Monday, Stéph and Fry visited Pépère for what turned out to be the last time. He wasn't able to get out of bed, but Stéph told me that he would still reach out to touch the baby. He was scheduled to go back into the hospital for two days starting Wednesday morning, but if you ask me, he'd just had enough. We got the call at 1:30 Wednesday morning that he was gone.

I will never forget how he welcomed this foreigner into his family with good humor and kindness. But mostly good humor. He called me "Camembert" for the first year, because it was the only cheese I would eat (seriously, that cheese was a revelation to me!). He teased me when I showed him my very first récipissé by taking out his cigarette lighter and threatening to light it up, with a twinkle in his eye. His sarcastic comebacks were legendary and to watch Stéph's parents go at it was both heart warming and hilarious.

Merci, beau-père, pour tous.

11 comments:

laanba said...

I'm very sorry Vivi. My condolences to you and to Steph and your mother-in-law.

Lucy P said...

i also had a good humoured father in law to welcome me, in his own way, to his country and we lost him a couple of years ago... I REALLY didn't appreciate him enough while he was here.... but you did :) there's nothing like a good humoured father in law! you were lucky to have him while you did.
hope you and your famille are all bearing up. xxx

Mrs C said...

My thoughts are for Stéph, you and all the extended family who are touched by the loss of an important branch in the family tree.

Hugs.

Ms Mac said...

I'm sorry to hear you've lost such a treasured member of your family, Vivi. I'll be thinking of you all.

Carrie S. said...

Oh, Vivi...I'm so sorry. Please extend my condolences to Stéph. I'm so, so sorry for your loss!

Mia said...

Vivi, I think maybe he held on for FF. We both know that babies give life to those who need it most. And FF will always know him through stories and photos. Hugs to you and Steph and FF!!!

Pat said...

Oh Vi, so sorry to hear of your loss - our deepest sympathies to you, Steph and his family.

La Rêveuse said...

So, so sorry Vivi. I'll keep you and Stéph and Fry and your family in my prayers.

nina said...

I'm also very sorry to read this. I know family is so very very important. I'm sure your beau-pere will be with you in many ways. My deep sympathies to you, to Steph, to your family.

PutYourFlareOn said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I am thinking about you, Stef and Fry. He will live on in all the stories you will tell Fry as he grows up. You sure do have a knack for those, hon. This one made me tear up.

Hugs to you...

Sarita said...

Sorry to hear this Vivi...it sounds like you had a great relationship with him and really fond memories. I hope you all become stronger through this process...