My husband's father died this week after we got home from our vacation. Most people immediately look horrified and then say "I'm sorry" when they hear the news. Unfortunately, we have a strange case here --- we're not really all that sorry. His father and mother divorced around the time my husband was 12. His father didn't attend his or his sister's high school graduations and didn't contribute to their college educations. When we got engaged, I asked the Cobbler if he wanted to tell his father. He begrudgingly made a phone call that lasted about 2 minutes. We had about a five year period from around when we got married 12 years ago until Red was born during which his father behaved in a semi-normal fashion. He attended our wedding, there were holiday phone calls, he visited a few times and we visited him, and he attended Red's baptism. Then, despite being around 70 at the time, he experienced some sort of late life crisis where he realized he was getting old and didn't really want to be a grandfather. He never even met Tom Thumb who is now 4 1/2. We figured out the other night that the last time we saw him was the summer of 2006. Our last contact with him was a phone call last Thanksgiving.
I have felt bad for the Cobbler all week. He is a very kind and compassionate person. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, "I feel bad that I don't feel bad." A pile of sympathy cards arrived today. He opened them, read them, and threw them in the recycling bin. One thing the Cobbler said to me was "When I get home at the end of the day and I'm tired from working and I want to just lay down on the couch and be by myself, I don't. I choose to play with the kids because one of the only things I remember from my childhood of my father is him lying on the couch ignoring me."
Some good has come from this. The Cobbler's sister and our nephew flew in after handling the cremation arrangements. The kids hadn't been together since last summer and they have really enjoyed their time together. There are Legos and crayons EVERYWHERE! Not to mention, according to my nephew, I make the best grilled cheese ever and should open my own grilled cheese store!
If I could talk to my father in law now I'd say you have two successful children and three amazingly funny and clever grandchildren. Too bad you chose not to know them. You missed out man. You really missed out.