When my husband David passed, my second child Tiffany and I moved back to California.
It was a hard time for both of us. We felt the loss of a husband and a father, and we had to learn to survive on our own.
I’m proud to say that in most cases, we did.
But, for Tiffany there was a loss of not having a dad to talk with. I did the best I could, but I knew it wasn’t the same as having her dad.
My uncle and aunt, JR and Betty, became a huge part of our lives. And while no one could ever replace Tiffany’s dad, JR certainly did his best to fill that void. They bonded, and he listened and let her talk. He was there for both of us when we found things that we didn’t think we could tackle on our own. He never once turned us down. It was JR who proudly walked Tiffany down the isle at her wedding.
The four of us, along with our other cousins, made a great trip to San Diego and we had a wonderful time as a family. I drove my own car and tried the best I could to keep up with JR and his little red Mustang. It was a challenge.
The two of them, JR and Betty, loved to travel and enjoy their retirement. They made many trips across country and often visited us in Beach, ND. When David was so ill, they came to visit him one last time.
We lost JR this past week. At the age of 76, Alzheimer’s took him from us. Although he left this earth last week, he had been slipping away from his family for several years.
We faced a brain tumor with David before he passed, so I can relate to what it has been like for JR and his family.
Like with David, we prayed that JR would have a peaceful journey home.
Now the suffering has ended. He can rest. It those of us left behind who will be sad with missing him.
He was a funny little guy, so full of life and laughter. He loved us all without question. All males were called “Guy” and all women were called “Hon”; that is just how it was.
He never met anyone with whom he couldn’t strike up a conversation.
He loved more than all else that he had a family that truly loved him.
He and Betty called themselves one another’s soul mate. Bless them both, I think that it was true.
And although we are sad, we know that at last JR is free and even in our sadness; life is good today.■
— Kathy Craigo-Harteis is a publicist, speaker, and life coach. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.