Posted by: shannonc | July 19, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge

My Chronicle friends will recognize the reference, but this time, we are grieving a person.

Stephen's dad and mom at our wedding

Stephen's dad and mom at our wedding

Stephen and I had this week off.  It began beautifully, with the first nice weather we’ve had in who knows how long, but ended horribly, with the death of his father.

I have been part of the family for only four years, so barely qualified to say anything at all.  But Stephen’s dad was a man who made an impression.  He was kind, generous, witty, funny, and above all, smart.  He was extremely sharp.  You could have an informed conversation with him about anything – politics, ethics, literature (we shared a love for scary books), the guy who ran you out of the right lane on route 495 because he wasn’t looking before trying to merge.  That guy, Stephen’s father would say, is with 99% of the population – the idiot branch.  His dry sense of humor is just one of the many attributes my husband learned or inherited from him that I appreciate every day.

Stephen loved his father very much.  Throughout our relationship, whenever we’ve talked about our childhoods, I’ve been regaled with stories of camping, fishing, and all kinds of adventure.  His dad was heavily involved, while his four kids were growing up, with the Boy Scouts and saw my husband and his brother through to their Eagle ratings.  He seemed to know about everything:  we’d have trouble with gutters or rot on our house, and he usually had an idea.  If he didn’t, he’d get himself onto Google at his office at home and root out some good recommendations, and we’d be hearing from him – if not by phone, then by Facebook, where he kept a close eye on our home improvements.  I posted extra photos there just because I knew he’d want to see the step by step. 

Stephen’s father had a good life.  I have heard this many times in reference to many different people.  What I didn’t fully recognize until this experience is that having had a good life does not in any way put a dent in the devastation for those who are left behind.  What the family is going through right now is brutal:  his mother just wants her husband back.  Stephen just wants his dad back.  It’s awful.

For my small part, I loved Stephen’s father, and I want to do anything I can to bring the family comfort.  It’s not too helpful that whenever anyone else starts to cry, I cry too.  I’ve always been too sensitive to emotion.  What stands out for me in all I’m thinking tonight is that I hope more than ever we’ll have children, so that my husband can have the opportunity to carry on the legacy of fatherhood, and pass along to his own kids all the qualities his father passed to him. 

stephen's dad and mom



  1. AW :( I’m so sorry for your loss, and even more sad for Stephen. Hang in there…. :(

  2. Leave it to you to put it so beautifully into words…

  3. The short time I knew him, I recognized how special and smart he was; I will miss him, too, and regret that we didn’t have more time together. My love and prayers are with you and Stephen and his family. I truly hope the future holds happiness for you all.

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