November 20, 2015

Another goodbye to someone we love

After Chris's dissertation defense, this time in 2013

I didn't make it to the Boden sale. I was presenting at a (locally held but national) conference that day and was eager to spend any extra time I had with family. Chris's stepdad had become very sick and by that point the family decided to bring him home for palliative care. He died that Sunday. It was very sad but we were comforted during three very lovely memorials. And we cried and laughed together as we remembered him. Our big blended family of relatives and step-relatives and in-laws...

He was a great inspiration to many, as an emeritus professor with an extremely productive and impressive academic career. I remember feeling intimidated before meeting him. I knew from roommates and friends that his classes were fascinating and informative. But I still worried because I was new to graduate school and new to academia. I felt insecure and eager to impress him. But he was disarming and warm. He was humble incredibly. And over the years I witnessed the way that he beamed with pride over the accomplishments of his loved ones. He was so proud of his children, stepchildren, and (step)children-in-law. He got to witness many of our milestones and he got to dance at many of our weddings. He saw four of us achieve our own doctoral degrees and follow in his footsteps by forging our own academic careers. And he loved Chris's mom so very much. Their relationship was so strong in the face of a lot of many illnesses and health setbacks over the years.

Many things have occurred these last few weeks that have left us feeling breathless with sadness, both in our personal lives and on a global scale. But as we head into Thanksgiving week and mark Emilia's third birthday, we are trying to focus on the good. That we are together. That we live close enough to lean on each other and try to be as supportive as possible to Chris's mom. That we have many wonderful memories to cherish. Thankfully, the constant presence of a happy toddler helps keep things from feeling impossibly heavy. And I know for certain there are still many reasons to feel thankful.

I just wanted to explain the longer-than-usual blog silence. I will have outfits (a huge backlog, in fact) again soon. Right now just doesn't feel like the right time.

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