In my family, we laugh a lot, and cry when we need to. We’ve been doing a lot of both over the last several days, because my stepfather Eddie passed away last Friday. Eddie came into our lives over 40 years ago when my mom was a way-too-young widow with three shell shocked children; at 11 years old I was the youngest. Eddie willingly, knowingly, walked into a family that had been turned upside down, and helped to right it again. While the loss of our father left a permanent hole in our hearts, Eddie made us a family again when he married my mom in 1976. He took on all three of us as if we were his own, adding to the two children he already loved. He called us his instant kids.
Eddie provided for all of us, saw us through difficult teen years (well, some of us, because CJ was already away at college and a Mr. Goody Two Shoes in any event), college, grad school, weddings; all milestones big and small. He walked me down the aisle and into the best decision I’ve ever made, marrying Dan. When my niece was born he eagerly took on the mantle of grandfather-hood, and was dubbed Poppy. He adored and doted on my niece and nephews, and more recently my niece’s fiancée and his son, with whom he had a mutual admiration society (and frequently a case of the giggles!).
Perhaps most importantly, he made my mom happy. He absolutely worshipped her, and even after 39 years of marriage, would tell anyone who would listen that he was helplessly and hopelessly in love with his wife.
Eddie endured a chronic illness for many years, without complaint. I could say all the cliché things about how he is no longer suffering, and indeed I’ve said all those things, but we all know that there is once again a hole in our family and in our hearts. Poppy will be greatly missed, and always remembered.
If there is one thing you need to be a full-fledged member of our family, it is a large funny bone. Eddie particularly appreciated, and participated in, our brand of irreverent humor. So I have to share that Eddie is now buried 40 feet from my dad, and one day, hopefully many many (many!) years from now, my mom will rest snugly between the two. Cause that’s just how we roll.
And now, our family will continue to do what we do best. Laugh a lot, and cry when we need to.