So It Goes

We spent some time yesterday drafting an obituary for my father-in-law. It’s not quite done yet; I’ll post when it is. It will not come close to encompassing him, but still.

It’s been a hard week. We got the news that the doctors thought Ron wasn’t likely to make it long last Tuesday, and Kevin and I got on a plane to come out to California and support his mother, and say goodbye. The doctors thought it would be a day or two, and we were afraid we wouldn’t make it in time, but in the end, Ron stayed with us for almost a week. We’ve spent most of that time sitting in the hospital room, talking, waiting.

People have asked if Ron and I were close, and I’m never quite sure how to answer that. We didn’t speak often — I was busy (over-busy) with my life in Chicago, and he was busy with his life in California, and we only saw each other once or twice a year — less often during the pandemic. A few years ago, we set up a weekly Portal call with him and Ann, and I didn’t make it to all of those, but still, I’m really glad we did it; they got to know our kids better as a result, and we got to spend a little more time with them.

But even if we didn’t spend so much time together overall, I liked him immensely, and I think Ron liked me. He was sharp and incisive and funny at the dinner table, but also thoughtful and thorough, gentle and immensely kind. Ron was a federal district judge, and he was exactly the kind of person you would want for a judge. We were all very lucky in him, and I couldn’t have asked for a better father-in-law.

Last night Kev and I had dinner with his family; we’re flying home this afternoon. We spent a while on the phone with our kids last night, giving them the news; I’m not sure they really took it in, but it was still good talking to them. They made us laugh. And at dinner last night, I got to spend a little time with my nieces again, and they made me laugh too.

Feeling grateful for children today, even though these particular children are speeding towards adulthood. No matter how often I ask, they refuse to stop and freeze in this perfect state.

So it goes. In the end, there’s nothing for it, but to just go on, and take what joy and laughter we can along the way.

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