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Monday, January 16, 2017

Saying goodbye to my sweet Father in law

I mentioned how we didn't have a good Christmas. Here's why:

A few days before Christmas my Father in law was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was 71 years old.
He was the epitome of health. He was the healthiest person I know. He was in the gym 4-5 days a week, very active, always ate healthy, etc. The dr's said he had the body of a 40 year old.

Last Spring he noticed he was getting out of breath a lot, for no reason at all. He attributed that to his age.

Right before Christmas he had blood work done and that's when they discovered the AML. It most likely had started in the Spring. They told him if he hadn't come in when he did, he would only have lived a few more weeks. Absolutely shocking to all of us.

They immediately admitted him and started a week of 24/7 chemo. After those 7 days they said the chemo had not worked, and in further testing discovered his form of cancer was extremely rare and resistant to treatment.
 They were going to try some clinical trials and see if they could at least stop the growth of the leukemia, so maybe he could have 6 more months with us, instead of weeks.

But Wednesday morning he became unresponsive and went into a coma. Tests showed he had massive bleeding on his brain. He wouldn't wake up again.

They removed him from the ventilator Wednesday night, and said he would be gone quickly. Well, Steve is very stubborn, and he always does things his way! He didn't pass away until Friday morning. His heart was so healthy, it just kept on beating.

He was in palliative care the last couple days, and as hard as it was for us, we cherished every moment.

His family was surrounding him every moment. There wasn't a second that someone wasn't talking to him, touching him in some way. Jeremy and his 2 sisters all sing, so there was constant singing going on. Those last couple days were so special. So unreal. How could this super healthy man be in this position, when just a few weeks ago he seemed to be in perfect health?
 He told everyone he was going to live to be 120, and no one doubted him for a second.

Can you believe he was 70 here??
He was such a wonderful father in law. He truly treated me like a daughter. He would buy me things for no reason other than he thought I would like it. We would go on dates. We went to see Michael Buble, the Sister Act musical, etc. He would buy me outlandish clothes because he thought they would look good on me! He loved exercise as much as I do, so he would always tell me about his workouts, and wanted to hear about my running.

He loved extravagantly, and was loved extravagantly. He was a charmer, and everyone who met him just fell in love with him. Even the short time he was in the hospital, his nurses adored him and all came to see him when he was in palliative, just heartbroken.

Above all these things, he loved Jesus more than anything. I know he is so happy right now in His presence. He loved attention and loved to sing (a gift he passed on to his children), I can just imagine God having him sing in front of a huge audience in heaven.

I will always cherish every phone call, every text, every conversation, every moment we had together in the 12 years I knew him.

I've never gone through loss like this before, so it's all a new experience for me. As well as for Jeremy and my boys. He was a wonderful pepaw to his 6 grandchildren. He spoiled them to the fullest. In October he took my Matthew to Chicago for a few days to celebrate his high school graduation. He adored my boys. I can't put into words how hard it is to watch them just weep over him. It tears my heart apart.

The next few days will seem impossible to get through for all of us. Heck, the next few weeks and years will feel that way. But we have the hope we will see him again.

If I could've picked out who I wanted as a Father in law, I would've chosen Steve over a million times.

My wedding day with my new mother and father in law.



  1. I can NOT believe he's 70 in that picture. That's unbelievable.
    I'm so sorry. That always just freaks me out when you hear of such healthy people getting struck down out of the blue with someone so rare.
    I know you all are taking comfort in his relationship with God. & love everyone was surrounding him with songs.
    Sending hugs & prayers for the family. It's always a loss when the patriarch of a family is gone.

  2. I had been wondering what happened over Christmas.
    This is so heartbreaking, and so out of the blue. He looks so healthy for a man in his 70's just like Rebecca I can't believe he was 70.
    I kept you guys in my prayers last night!
    Sounds like an amazing man, you will see him again someday and at least right now he is completely out of pain likely with you all in spirit loving all the wonderful things being said about him and making his plans to watch over you all!

  3. So sorry for your loss, Katie! Take time right now for your grief and to cherish all the memories you made over the past 12 years. You were very lucky to have such an amazing man in your family. I promise you that the loss will get easier but the memories will stay with you forever.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, Katie. I know how it is to lose a Father-in-law; it's tough. Like yours, mine was also a believer and we know where he is. It's what gets families through these losses. Lean on Jesus during this time. I'll be praying for your family.

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