To say that he doesn't deserve this is a vast understatement. He's a wonderful and generous person. For the 25 to 26 years that I've known him he exercised and ate well and encouraged me to do the same. He practiced yoga, meditation, and tai chi. At 61-years-old, he looks ten years younger. He helped all his elderly neighbors. He gave money to people he didn't even know who needed his help. Even now in the hospital he worries about my mother and me, and even about the nurses. Some of the nurses have cried for him.
That's the easy stuff to explain. It's so hard to explain what he's done for me and for my mother. I can't speak to the entirety of my parents' relationship, but he is the kind of husband other people envy. He worked and he also cooked and ran the household chores. He was devoted and faithful to my mother for over 25 years. She tells the nurses and anyone who will listen that he never so much as raised his voice to her. The evidence of their mutual love is that my mother has been at his side every day all day throughout his illness, and she has never considered it one minute more than he deserves.
With mom in Charlottesville in 2007
With me on Cape Cod in 2004
Occasionally, I explain to someone that my dad is actually my stepfather, but I never once heard him call me his stepdaughter, and not once did he ever make me feel like anything other than his child completely. When I look around I see that not only do I have a wonderful father, but I have a better father than almost everyone else. The expression, "you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family," doesn't apply to us. My mother asked me who I would I like to have as a father and I made an epically good decision for five-year-old. Just as he and mom chose each other, we chose each other to be family. I love my dad.