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.
Agnes Bennett says
Please share my sincere condolences to Peter and family.
Thank you so much Agnes! I truly appreciate it.
Aw, how truly sad! So sorry for your loss Tiffani, Peter and family! Prayers for healing and ((((Hugs))))!
Thank you so much Tina!! We appreciate your prayers and hugs!!
Jamie S says
T – this was a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing this moment. Please give Peter my condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Can’t even imagine the grief over the loss of a parent.
Thank you Jamie!! You are right, we are not old enough to lose a parent…right?!?! Thank you for your kind words. Peter is having good and bad days…but it is certainly day by day by day
Kimberly Vaughn says
What a wonderful blog post about Chris! Lessons to pass forward for life. Many blessings to Peter and your families. Love you!
Thank you so much Kimberly!! Love you and miss you and appreciate your texts!!
Janis Rien says
Tiffani, I am so very sorry to read about the passing of Peter’s amazing and loving father. Last week, when you posted a video of Christopher’s favorite place I felt that something was wrong. There was no one in the video and I had a sad gut feeling that something may have happened to Peter’s father. Then, there were no blog posts from you all week. I almost wrote asking if everything was ok. You are so blessed to have met and married a man who was raised by a man who loved his family that meant everything to him. The photos you share of you, Peter, and your three gorgeous children make me smile. They represent the love and happy times shared in your family. My thoughts and prayers to you and Peter, his mother and sister, and Christopher’s three beautiful grandchildren. May God Bless and heal your hearts.
You are so right that I am blessed to have been a part of Chris’ family. He truly taught Peter to be the man he was when I met him and continues to be, but even more importantly (to me) is he taught Peter to be the father he is to our children, which is AMAZING. Your gut was right :-/ Thank you so much!!
Jen Bunn says
I am so sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful story.
Thank you so much Jen 🙂
Hugs and Prayers to all of you
Flower Friend Kathy
Thank you so much Kathy!!! I look forward to seeing you soon 🙂
Ali Hinkle says
Beautiful tribute, T. I only had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Johnston once, but I was struck by his warmth and (as you pointed out) his genuine interest in me. I continue to keep Peter’s family in my prayers. Lots of love from us to all of you❤️
Thank you so much Ali. It only took one meeting with Chris to understand his kindness and “good people-ness”. Thank you for your sweet message!!
This was written so beautifully!! What wonderful way to be remembered ❤️
Thank you so much Corinne 🙂
Rosemary Hinkle says
I am so very sorry for your loss. It is always hard to lose a dad, especially one with so much heart.
Thank you so much Mrs. Hinkle. He truly had the biggest heart and I know that is where Peter got his 🙂
What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Robbin
Susan Armstrong says
What lovely memories of Chris, my first cousin. He truly was a loving and caring gentleman. We all will miss him so much.
Susan, you couldn’t be more accurate…loving and caring!! Hope you see you soon…maybe ever before the wedding 🙂
Barbara Stellway says
I am so sorry for your loss.
Thank you so much Barbara 🙂
Just reading this, but very moved. I felt his kindness through you words. What a beautiful relationship he seemed to have with everyone in his life. You aren’t always that lucky to experience that in families. Sorry for his passing, but it sounds like his energy is so big and beautiful that he’ll be surrounding you all forever.
Thank you Leslie 🙂 Literally every person he came in contact with, he made a lasting amazingly positive impression on. You are right, he will be surrounding us forever 🙂