Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bon Voyage Captain!

I'm very close to both my inlaws. It's hard not to get close to people you've lived alone with and I love them both so much. I was lucky enough to live with them on two occasions:5 months in 2002 and 8 months in 2004. I've always called my father inlaw (or beau-pere in French) Captain because Monsier ____ sounds so cold and formal. (I give everyone nicnames) Plus look at him, doesn't he remind you of Captain Crunch? At 84 years old he is more like a real Grandfather to me and that is how I loved him. I was actually living with them when my own Grandfather passed away and I'm always so thankful for that because at that time, I knew the very last relative on Earth, who loved me unconditionally was gone and I felt like an orphan. I remember when I returned to Quebec after the funeral, I cried the whole way. And when my plane arrived, I looked out of my window and saw my beau pere's face looking for me in that tiny little airport and seeing his face made me feel like I would be alright. I was happy again because I knew I was returning to people who cared about me. I never told them this.
I once heard him tell his wife that she was still the prettiest girl in the world(he said girl-I specifically heard the word fille, which means girl not femme which means woman, that is so cute). They are the sort of couple who still smack each other on the butt, hold hands while they watch TV, and slow dance to old French love songs on their 50-gazillionth anniversary.

Can you tell by the look on her face how pretty she felt in her new earrings he gave her for Christmas? And can you tell how he wanted to make sure everyone else noticed how pretty they looked on her ears? This is a perfect example of the kind of husband he is.(And not to gloat or anything but, I did marry his son, you know.)
One of my favorite facts about their relationship is that she was actually engaged to someone else when they met. And I don't blame her for changing her mind!

He is the sort of Grandfather everyone should have.

Even Peanut loves him.
They had a few favorite activities they shared. One time I was kissing Peanut and gushing over how handsome my dog is and he started to tease me,"Blech! Disgusting! Not supposed to kiss a dog! A man! A man! Not a dog!" So I ran to kiss him on his face and gush about how handsome he was and he said,"Ok! That's the correct way, see Lena(his wife) I'm still a lady's man."
If you look really closely, you'll see my beau pere taking Peanut for a little ride.
I often heard him talking to Peanut as if he were a human- as in,"Let's make cofee, it's cold outside....this show is funny isn't it....let's go get gas and a sandwich, I'm buying....I didn't win the lottery...."

The lottery is a whole 'nother story. Every night he sat in front of the TV with such a hopeful look on his face. One time he actually won just enough to take the whole family for a vacation in Lake George, New York.

I'm writing all of this because my beau pere died of lung cancer over the weekend. It was heartbreaking for the whole family and so difficult for my husband, who has looked up to his father all his life, to know he was now sick and in so much pain in a damn hospital bed(F-ing cancer!) dying. He had been so strong through his chemotherapy and was so cute about losing his dashing white hair: he asked while I was on the phone with my mother inlaw if we all still thought he was handsome even though he had no more hair. We sent him beanies and hats and he told us not to worry about him because he was going to live until he was 110.

This was a man who, upon hearing that I, too, had cancer broke down and cried about it. His reason was, he said, because he was never afraid for himself since he was a big strong man and he could get through treatment, no problem but I am only a little girl, how could this happen to poor helpless Angel? This was a man who hid candy in his pockets for the grand kids. This was a man who always won at cards-whether or not he was cheating was open to debate. This was a man who played pool for money in his youth. This was a man who worked as a logger at the age of 13. This was a man who was dancing and laughing in my living room the last time I saw him and never, ever made fun of my bad French.
I once heard someone cynically say," People always talk about dead people as if they are saints. Like they've never done anything wrong." This may be true, but it's probably because losing someone makes you realize all the good things cancel everything out. But in this case, I can honestly say that we knew who he was when he was alive. And we're proud of that. Nous vous aimons Captain! (we love you)

We, absolutely, refuse to say Goodbye to him. It's not Farewell, but "Have fun on your trip and see you soon!"


super des said...

This is the sweetest post I've ever read. You made me love him through your words, and I am very very sorry for your loss. There are actually tears in my eyes as I write this.
I think he knows that he was a lucky man to have his family, and whether or not you ever told him these things, he knew.

flutter said...

That was darling.

j'adore Captain!

Courtney said...

I'm so very sorry. My mom died of lung cancer. I'm not very good at expressing condolences, but cancer sucks. Take care of yourself and Mr. Pea.

Courtney said...

By the way, your post is proof that I DO cry.

Thailand Gal said...

What a wonderful post.. and a wonderful tribute. May his memory be a blessing. :)



Laurie said...

I am so sorry for your loss. He was a beautiful man and your love for him is inspiring. I know you all miss him horribly, but he will live on forever in your hearts.

Madge said...

What a beautiful tribute.

I'm sorry. :(

Blondie said...

:( This is a lovely post--and such wonderful pics and stories. Big hugs.

Hel said...

Your post made me happy and sad.

Happy that such a person existed and that he was surounded by so much love when he left.

Sad because of the emptiness his passing must have left.

I think you are an awesome person, your laughter fills me with hope.

May the re-union be filled with many great stories and laughter.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

This was so incredibly lovely. And although it's terribly sad, what dominates this story is the deep and loving bond you shared with this beautiful man. That love will always be with you.

You were both so very lucky to have each other. I already know why he loved you so much. And you have painted his portrait so clearly that it's easy to see why you loved him, too.

That last photo really got me. Bon voyage, Capitain.

SUEB0B said...

Aw, sweetie, I'm sorry. You gave my waterproof mascara a workout with that one.

anne said...

Pea - I'm sorry it has taken me this long to read this entry. My heart goes out to you. This is a beautiful tribute. You have captured a lovely person so well with your words - long may he be remembered. I'm glad you had each other in your lives.

The more I read you, the more I wish I knew you in real life. You are genuine. I am so sorry for your loss.