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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Monday, October 22, 2007

For Dennis

When my husband was serving a mission for our church, he got the news that his parents were getting a divorce. Then he got the news that his mother had remarried a very short time later. He returned home at the end of the mission to a completely different family, and a whole lot of confusion. He quickly left for BYU, and a short time later got engaged to me. To minimize our upcoming years of poverty, he came back with me to California that summer to work a good California wage and saving everything we could so we didn't starve to death as young married students. As a result, I did not meet my future mother-in-law or her new husband until the day before the wedding.

In the world of family politics and strife, we were in the middle of a messy one. Nerves, emotions, and hard feelings were high, and everyone was frazzled. I feared yelling and screaming fights when the ex's came face to face with one another. I was certain there would be several serious meltdowns in the middle of what was supposed to be MY perfect day. I had fully expected to completely and utterly dislike this new husband that had been the source of so much of the trouble.

Everyone had to be in the same room together the first time during the wedding rehearsal. Everyone was nervous, and there was a great deal of confusion. I was surprise when it was the new stepfather that stepped up and in a logical and unruffled manner managed to calm nerves and get everyone on the right track to making a wedding happen. He managed to turn everything around and his influence made everything turn out wonderfully. I was very grateful to him for his help.

In the years that followed, and time managed to mend wounds, I got to know Dennis better. He was fun, and funny, and dearly loved my children. They loved him right back, and looked forward to every visit. He played board games with me- when I have a really hard time convincing the rest of my family to play. His good cheer and funloving attitude set traditions for family campouts, birthday parties, and other events. I grew to love this man, who I had expected to hate. I have been very grateful for his influence in my life, and in the lives of my children.

Two weeks ago, Dennis died of cancer. It has taken me a long time to complete this post because I feel this loss very keenly. Naturally, I have thought over his story- and how his life came to be intersected with mine. Of all the incidents I could remember, this is the one that had the biggest impact on me.

He was the man I expected to hate.

I sure did love him.


At November 9, 2007 at 8:09 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

Julie, I am glad you were able to tell this story. Even though you had told it to me before, I still cried at the end.


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