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  Dear Rodney:

Tomorrow the earthy form that carried you from birth through life on this complicated, beautiful, unforgiving planet, will be laid to rest on a cold winter’s day. 

For the last 7+ years you’ve been my father-in-law. I’ve been one of the lucky daughters-in-law who can say that I loved my parents-in-law, and knew they loved me in return. You’ve been like a father to me, driven me to work for years, raised a wonderful son who became my husband and father to my child. You loved my child from the moment we knew she’d be born, and you’ve been good to us over the years. 

My only regrets are that you will not get to see her grow, and she will not get to know you. That is the part that consistently and devestatingly rips me in two. Because I know you loved her until your last breath. 

You will be sorely missed by many, including me. 

But I promise you this. Though she will not have memories with you, she will not forget who you were. I will ensure she knows who her papaw was, what kind of man you were, and how much you adored her. 

Of the knowledge she will carry with her through life on this complicated, beautiful, unforgiving planet, you will be there. Though physically you won’t be within reach, she will know of you, your life, your love for her, and your family. 

I’m glad she’s too young yet to truly lose you, though she will have missed out on life with a wonderful man. I regret that she won’t have memories of her own of you. 

I promise she will know you, papaw Rodney. 

Rest easy, be good.