Hey guys. I have been away from the blog as well as social media since last Friday afternoon. We received the sad news that my father-in-law passed away on Friday around noon. This was completely unexpected as Chris was a very healthy and active man. I was already in DC as I was throwing a baby shower for a girlfriend on Saturday in Georgetown so I rushed home to be with Peter. We left for Connecticut, where his parents live, at 4 AM on Saturday. And, got home on Wednesday afternoon.
Chris was an incredible man. From the minute I met him, he and I had a special bond. He adored and respected the fact that as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader, I had gone overseas and entertained the troops. One was his proudest accomplishments was his time as a Naval officer. We talked endlessly about the conversations I had with service members and Chris constantly told me that I cannot even imagine how much good I did.
Chris was so amazingly proud of his children. Every time we spoke with anyone that had recently had a conversation with Chris, we were told how much he talked about both Peter and Emily and how proud he was of their careers but more importantly, their families.
Chris was genuinely the most thoughtful man I have ever met. He was ALWAYS thinking of others. If you have had a conversation with my father-in-law, he knew so much about you by the end of that conversation. He asked about YOU and YOUR life. That is one lesson I will try to learn and take from my time with him.
I remember a conversation with him about a year ago where he asked me about my blog. At first I thought he was just being polite (which was kind enough in itself) but he genuinely wanted to know and understand. I explained what a “blog” was and explained how I made money from it. I explained how much time and energy went into it and he was so impressed. He would send me text messages after reading particular blog posts that put a smile on his face. Those were usually the family focused ones 😉 This past Christmas, he gave me a coffee table book titled A Matter of Fashion.
Chris lived for his time with his grandchildren. If he was coming within even 2 hours of our house, he would make his way here, even if it was less than for 24 hours. He played with the kids for hours…Wild Willy, blowing straws, airplane rides through the living room and so much more!
Peter and his Dad were very close. Chris was always asking Peter about his work. He remembered his very first patient here in St. Mary’s and always asked about it. He was so proud of Peter’s accomplishments as a surgeon and wanted to know as many details as possible.
Peter learned how to be an amazing father from his father. Peter tells so many stories about all the time he spent with his Dad – Boy Scouting stories, fishing, hunting, golfing, times at U of M football games and tailgates, “Griswold” family vacations…and so many more.
I am sure you are wondering, Peter is doing OK. The first couple of days were awful. I mean awful. He was in shock and so so sad. A piece of him was gone…and gone forever. Monday, March 5th, we had a get together at the family’s house in Connecticut, the “Old House”, where we were all amazed at the amount of people that came together to celebrate Chris. That day really helped Peter. He laughed and cried and just enjoyed hearing so many stories. He is taking each day slowly. He is starting back at work on Monday, as normalcy is necessary, but it is definitely a new normal.
Here is to a life well lived, a man who brought happiness to many with a pure heart and undying dedication to his family. Chris you will be missed, but we know you always will be with us. We can only hope to live our lives with the love and enthusiasm as you taught us.