#45: A Gentle Man
My parents divorced when I was 16 and my mum remarried after I had flown the nest and started a family of my own. My “stepfather” (I don’t really use this word and do so now only to clarify the relationship; he’s really my second dad) is a good man.
I know this not because he fits a definition or has the requisite qualities to be awarded the label good; it’s because he just is. He’s a family man through and through. Not just for his blood related family, but his whole family; I and my siblings are his children, our children are his grandchildren. There is no dividing line or difference in treatment, love or care. His home is our home, all of ours. He loves us all and is there for every one of us—there are quite a few—at the drop of a hat, anytime of night or day. And, of course, he loves my mum, cares for her, and keeps her safe.
He’s a giant of a man, over six feet tall and he fills a room not only with his physical presence but also with his warmth. He has the largest hands and arms, and they are always ready to wrap themselves around you in a healing hug.
He’s retired now and donates his time to helping at the local hospital, driving patients to appointments for physio or chemo or wherever and for whatever they need. He also volunteers for the local partially sighted group and takes them on day trips. If any of them need anything he is there and gets it for them, no matter how far out of his way he needs to go. He doesn’t need asking. His thoughtfulness is just there, a part of him, as natural to him as the ability to see.
He’s had more tragedy in his life than anyone should have to bear and you feel your heart swell with love and compassion for this lovely man. The very qualities that make him who he is he makes you want to do for him what he does for you and others: mend his broken car, take him out and treat him. You want to care for him and give to him.
Yes, he is a good man. All these things and many more make him so.