I’m here to talk about my Father-in-Law, Andres or Andy, as most call him. Around our house he is more affectionately referred to as, Papa. Our kids kinda think he walks on water. They both talk about him CONSTANTLY. There is something about Papa that has caught their hearts.
In all honesty, I think most people who meet him feel this way.
He is a generous and personable human. When I met him he was set on remembering to call me Gwendolyn, just because I like it and wished more people made the effort. It’s quite a feat, too, when everyone shortens it to Gwen. He still introduces me as such, it’s very endearing and sweet.
That’s the kind of person he is. Focused on you and wanting to be the best he can, for you.
Another example is his friendship with a 107 year old man, Dell. He’s been going to his house since before I met him to take care of Dell’s house and cut his hair. It’s something that Andy never missed and they are friends, to this day. Imagine that, a friend who has surpassed triple digits for 7 years, absolutely amazing!
He’s a proud man, who loves his children and grandchildren. He’s the fun loving ‘Grandpa’ who’s always happy to see you, a little stern, but wants hugs and love from you every chance he can get. The kind of love and attention that makes you feel special. The magic is that this makes you believe you are special, which is one of the kindest things a person can do for another.
He has a love for animals that can’t be beat. I mean he can’t believe we don’t let Domingo sleep in our bed at night. “How does he know he’s in the pack?” Andy says. Gil just laughs and I actually feel guilty until I think of all the dirt and hair that comes with the pup. Another example is when a wasp got caught in their skylight and he wanted to get a ladder to help it back outside. Forget the fact that he was hooked up to an oxygen tank. Say what….?
Which leads me to our last visit. It was last minute — buy tickets less than 24 hours before you take off — kind of thing. All because the family was sure he was in his last few days of life. Despite the fact that we had heard this before this felt different. So, we went and had a great time. During that visit Andy decided he wanted to go home from the hospital. He was done with pokes and prods. Makes total sense, who wouldn’t be?
So, he’s currently in hospice care, at home. His wife, Anne, the rock that she is has taken care of him and been such a bright light in all of this for us. She’s just as special as her husband.
A lifetime can be a long road. Andy has walked that path with grace. It hasn’t been easy and he has made his fair share of mistakes, but not without lessons learned. He’s a testament to that and bouncing back. I admire his faith, faith in others, their faith in him, his humility, his honesty and his ability to admit mistakes. I’m grateful to have met him and honored to call him my father-in-law.
Then there’s his children. Can’t forget about them! His daughters eat up every second they can get with him. Gil calls him so often he puts my family’s communications to shame. And whenever he calls Gil he asks to talk to me. In this day of personal cell phones that is something else. He’s made me feel a part of the family from day one. I mean, getting a birthday card from them before Gil ever did sure does lift your spirits.
So, on this Father’s Day I want to thank this special man for just being him. We adore you. You raised our precious, Gil. He’s a great man and amazing father. How lucky we are to call you both, ours.