My (ex)father-in-law died today just before 5:00 pm. He would have been 87 tomorrow.
One of the hardest things about a divorce is losing contact with family members that you love. This is the case with Mr. Thom. He lived 12 hours away from me so once the divorce went through, I didn’t have much contact with him. This was definitely my loss. Mr. Thom was always kind and thoughtful to me. I went through some difficult times towards the end of my marriage and some of those times overlapped with visits to Wisconsin. Mr. Thom seemed to sense when I just needed to sit quietly and he would often sit quietly with me. He would offer me use of his vehicle in case I needed to just get away for a few hours. He was one of those people that I could just sit with without needing to speak. Some people need conversation if they are in the company of someone; I could sit in comfortable silence with Mr. Thom and it was something I greatly appreciated during my visits.
Even early on, I appreciated his quiet calm. I grew up in a small, fairly quiet family and when I started visiting my then boyfriend’s home, I was overwhelmed with the boisterous conversations between all the members of his family. There would be multiple conversations going on at once; this was something I had no experience with! But later, I would be able to sit with Mr. Thom watching TV and I would regain my equilibrium! He helped me more than he’ll ever know in adjusting to the dynamics of a large family.
I visited Wisconsin two years ago when my youngest daughter was staying with her Dad’s family for the summer. It was so good to see everyone again – it is hard to know how much you miss people and I had really missed some of those relationships. I went to see Mr. Thom while I was there. I reminded him of who I was – my visit was a surprise to him and since he was seeing me out of context and without his son, I didn’t want to assume that he would immediately come up with my name. But he definitely remembered me and we had a great visit. He was gracious as always and as kind as I remembered.
The world is a little emptier without him in it. He will be missed……..