Monday, April 9, 2007

You will be missed

I’ve always been told that once you have kids, you never stop being a parent. Whether your children are 2 years old or 42, you’ll always worry about them.

I think it’s also true that kids never stop needing their parents. It’s easy to take for granted that they’ll always be there; after all, they’ve been around since you were born. So when a parent dies unexpectedly, you feel suddenly adrift, left to navigate these choppy waters alone.

My husband’s father died on Thursday, taking away a person Rob could always turn to for advice. Possibly the hardest part for Rob was that his father always had words of wisdom to help him through hard times, and now he’s not here to guide him through his hardest time yet.

When I met my in-laws for the first time, my hair was disheveled, I was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me,” and I probably smelled bad after a 15-hour road trip to Texas. Despite these things, Bob and Sherry immediately welcomed me into their home and made me feel like the daughter they never had. They’ve continued to do so ever since, never becoming those legendary evil in-laws that newlyweds always fear.

I only knew Bob for a little more than five years, so I don’t quite feel entitled to the kind of sympathy that his wife and sons deserve. Yet I’m grieving anyway, for lots of reasons – the biggest one being that he’ll never get to hold his first grandchild, hear her laugh, and listen to her say “Grandpa” for the first time. And our daughter will never know what a kind, generous, loving person her grandfather was.

I guess that’s something Rob and I will have to add to our “to-do” list as parents. We’ll have to be the ones to tell her how much she was loved, even before she got here. And we’ll have to help her know her grandfather through our photos and funny little stories. It’s all we can do, and we’ll do our best.


CSWriter said...

We all know that it is a hollow gesture to offer condolences for someone we never knew, to try to empathize with what we haven't experienced. But it's part of our humanity to try anyway.

Please accept mine.

Anonymous said...

Bob McDonnell and I met in 1963 when we were in 4th grade and our teacher was Mrs. Bell. Bob and I were the shortest boys in class and that was one reason we become fast friends. We also shared a love of sports, music and comic books. We had a club of two members called “The Martian Club” and our theme song was “Mr. Bassman.” We used badminton rackets to pretend we were playing guitar along with our records, and later, the rackets turned to ukuleles. We used to make random phone calls and ask people what song they would like us to play. Most folks took us in stride and we entertained a lot of people! During our grade school years we played on the football and basketball teams, participated in glee club and band, and took part in student government. But our passion was: THE BEATLES! Bob and I loved The Fab Four and when their film, “A Hard Days Night” came out we saw it four times on that first day of release. We couldn’t stand that girls were screaming over the music!
By 1966 we had met Danny Gill and formed a lifelong band, The Voyds. Our business card said we were “Synchronizers of Sound!” Our first gig was a swim party in Morse Lakes, NJ and we made a whopping $40! I moved away to go to high school in NY but Bob and Danny and I constantly saw each other and it was almost always music related. A lot of other friends played along with us over the years. During our college days I was honored to be best man at Sherry and Bob's wedding. What an amazing testimony these two dear people are to us all having just celebrated 35 years of marriage!
Along with the years came the miles and Bob and I did not see much of each other. Yet we did manage a phone call here and there and it was of course, like we were never apart. In less than two seconds we would be back to our youth, best friends again. The last time I saw Bob was 1992, when we celebrated our 40th birthdays by having a reunion in upstate NY. I am thankful that we of course made music. Dan was there and so was Steve Steward, another lifelong friend and an honorary Voyd for sure. We recorded a few songs that weekend but never had the time to finish any of them. We did get Bob to sing however, and he recorded “You Can’t Do That.” He sang it as a kid. Bob told me that he enjoyed the experience of recording at Steve’s studio and I always hoped we’d do it again.
I know when I see Bob again it will only be a twinkling of an eye and we will be best friends once again. Til then I will miss him.
With love,
Aaron Meza
Los Angeles 2007

Heather McDonnell said...

Thank you both for your comments and sympathy. We've had a tough couple of weeks, and it helps to know that other people miss Bob, too, or empathize with what we're going through.