Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Remembering---And Saying Goodbye

This is going to be one of the most difficult posts I've ever written...but I hope that it will be cathartic and will get some of the emotions out that are in my head and heart right now.

Found out last week that former husband #2, George Amyl Haffelt, Jr., father of my 19 yr old daughter, has Stage 4 lung cancer which has metastasized into his bones. He was also a major father figure to my 26 yr old son and my 22 yr old daughter for most of their childhoods, so this is a very difficult time for my entire family. The biggest surprise has been how upsetting it all is for ME...I keep getting teary-eyed at the most unexpected moments, over the most ridiculous things.

I've had a lot of memories come to mind the last few days, and I want to try to put as many of them as I can down in writing, to be able to look back on and smile someday when it doesn't hurt quite so much.

George is four years older than I am, and I've known him pretty much my entire life. Our families attended the same church, and his father was one of the most well-known florists in town.

One of the first things I remember is when he played on the church softball team my father coached....he was a great player, and one of Dad's favorites. He told me later that was when he first started noticing me as well, but since I was only 12, he kept it to himself, not wanting my Dad to hurt him! :)

George has been very musically inclined his entire life. He plays piano, guitar, trombone...and pretty much anything he can get his hands on, really. He also has always been a very good singer, and a songwriter. He wrote the class song for his graduating class in high school, as well as several other songs over the years. Having listened to songs he wrote for other exes, I am very proud to say that, as far as I know, I have NEVER been the subject of a George Haffelt original.

While we were dating, and during most of our marriage, George was a member of a country music band. StillWater, that played most weekends around southeastern Ohio, with some engagements in Columbus or in West Virginia. Those were some of the happiest times of his life....and I had a wonderful time traveling with them whenever I could!!

There are so many memories of George tied to his music...the weekend the band played at the Bob Evans Farm Festival in Rio Grande, Ohio (and I sat in the pouring rain, wearing a big black trash bag over my head, laughing as he sang "Trashy Women"...having a song dedicated to me to celebrate my "16th birthday" on what was actually my 32nd, because I got carded coming into the club that night!...having him dedicate "Don't Close Your Eyes" to me, calling it my song, just because he knew I had gotten SO tired of hearing that song being played by our neighbor over and over and over....

Flowers were another big part of George's life. He grew up working in his father's flower shop and, after some years out of the area, in the Navy and raising his first family, he returned home and worked with his father again. I remember the first time he brought me a flower...he made a point of the fact that he'd BOUGHT it, somewhere other than at the shop where he worked, rather than just getting one from there. It was good to know I mattered enough for him to spend money on me! LOL

Other than that time, though, I don't remember getting flowers very often at all. He felt that, after having worked around flowers all day, he didn't want to have to look at them at home, too. It's sort of like old saying that the cobbler's children go without shoes, I suppose!!!

Speaking of children, George was very involved in the lives of all three of my children. He was a soccer coach for more seasons than I can count, he helped out with Cub Scouts,he was there for every PTA meeting, every teacher conference, every concert, every time they were doing something at the church. When my first husband would do something, or NOT do something, that caused disappointment and hurt for Brian and/or Samantha, George was always there to try to make them feel better.

And Amy couldn't have asked for a better father in her early years. From the day she was born, and named after him, she was his pride and joy. He changed diapers, he gave her baths, he played with her...you name it, he was there.

The first four years of Amy's life, he was also a college student, as well as working at the flower shop. That didn't leave him a lot of spare time, but what he had was given to the four of us. We were all very proud of him when he received his bachelor's degree in History...and even prouder when he was offered a full scholarship to a six week program in Hungary the summer after graduation. Even though we knew we'd miss him, we insisted that he take full advantage of the opportunity....and it wound up being something he never forgot!!

Sure, we had our rough times, which is why he's now my ex husband....but he has always had a place in my heart, and always will, as the father of my youngest child and as my friend. My heart is breaking to know he won't be with us much longer, and it's as much for my own grief as for that of my children.

I'm not ready to say goodbye, so I'll say "See ya later!"

(ADDENDUM: Unfortunately, George passed away in the early morning hours of February 10, 2012....and he is much missed by family and friends!)

2 comments:

  1. So sorry for your whole family to be going through this - it's always difficult to know that someone who has touched your life is going through such pain and has so little time left. What a beautiful tribute.

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  2. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you. I agree with Heather...such a beautiful tribute.

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