I have not put up posts as frequently as normal for me the past few weeks. My heart hasn’t been in it. I think I’ve mentioned before that my father-in-law was the sheriff of a rural county in South Carolina. Last year he retired after 43 years of service, always easily re-elected and often unopposed. He retired due to deteriorating health. Unfortunately it did not improve. He had hospitalizations, then stints in rehab care. While in the rehab facility last month he contracted COVID. He recovered, but that was the end of his strength. When he was discharged, it was to home hospice, and he passed earlier this month.
We got to South Carolina just a few days prior to his passing. While there, the parade of well wishers and then mourners was seemingly endless, each with their stories of my “papa,” and each with more food. Men and women, black and white, talking about his being their mentor, their friend. When the call was made to the hospice to formally declare his death, they notified the funeral home…the funeral home notified the county sheriff. By the time his body was taken to the hearse, there were 5 deputy’s squad cars plus units from the two local municipal PD’s. They escorted the body to the funeral home, 20 miles away, under lights and sirens, also joined by the local FD. It was a sight I will not forget. At his funeral, numerous departments from across the state were represented too.
As for me, I first met him 15 years ago. He was a widower who had begun dating my mother-in-law and soon married her. He already had 4 sons, and with the marriage picked up 2 stepsons, 2 stepdaughters (including my wife), and associated additional in-laws (including me) and more grandkids. My family’s bond with him was immediate. When speaking to me he’d use my name, but if speaking about me, I was always affectionately referred to as “the Colonel.” I miss that. He was simply grandpa to my daughter and son. He was the only grandfather my son would have as my own father died while my wife was pregnant. My son is 17 now, and it was heartbreaking to witness his devastation.
Life goes on of course. I do intend to continue posting if folks wish to continue reading. I did watch baseball while gone, too. My in-laws are all Braves fans, and their games were on daily. It remains the best pass time of the major sports, and it too goes on.