I woke up to what I thought was a gunshot. Sleepy and confused, I rolled over, looked at my phone, it’s 8am. Another gunshot. Then another. I jump out of bed, scared to death. I whip back the blind and nothing out of the ordinary, except snow falling from the sky. I run to the other window, nothing there either. I run out of my room and down the stairs. The week before this debacle I had talked to a family friend who is also a state trooper. He told me about one of the terror meetings his department had just had, and some of the things that terrorists might be trying in the future. I guess it stuck in my head.
So I jump the last few steps , I nervously go through the kitchen and peer into the living room. On the couch sits my Step dad Bob. I look at the television and he’s watching some gangster movie, with the surround sound system on what had to have been full blast. I look at him, and back at the television, then back at him. He says “pretty good movie.” I said “can you hear it?” He just laughed. “I thought there was terror in the streets or something.”
That was Bob. Whatever he did, he made sure he enjoyed it. He lived his life. Bob was a quiet giant. He was quiet at first, wouldn’t say a lot. When you got to know him he could talk your ear off. He loved to laugh and tell jokes. He cared immensely about his family. His coworkers loved him. My mom loved him.
I remember the night I met him. I was probably 16. I was a dumb kid. The first thing I told my mom was “he’s not my dad, and I won’t listen to him.” Little did I know some years later I would love to listen to him. He lit up rooms. He laughed at his own jokes, usually very loudly. But most importantly he made my mom happy, and that meant the world to me.
Bob drank Busch Light, and he smoked cigarettes. I don’t think he even liked them that much. They were just familiar. He ended up with cancer in his lungs and liver. He fought until he couldn’t fight anymore. Bob was no longer Bob, and he passed away two years ago this December.
It makes Christmas hard. I do know though that he doesn’t want us sitting around sobbing. He wants us laughing, and telling jokes, and enjoying that we’re here together.
We lost the person he was, but in the end we won. We won just by knowing him. I look back and laugh that my favorite memory of him was him scaring me to death. Even though I get sad that he’s gone, I can’t help but laugh. That’s exactly what he wants me to do…