With Thanksgiving tomorrow, it’s a to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. We all place value on different things, different people or unique experiences that provide us joy, love and happiness. However, when we lose someone in our lives we love around the holidays, it can lead to great sorrow.
On Sunday, November 4, my father-in-law, George, collapsed in his son’s garage in Helena, MT. He was quickly rushed to the hospital, where doctors found he had several blocked arteries in his heart. The prognosis was grim, as he was given only a 10% chance to live.
George overcame several obstacles and to the amazement of the medical staff, rebounded enough for open heart surgery. He underwent a quadruple bypass and things were moving along well, but in the end, his heart would not restart. Just after midnight on November 15, we lost him.
Over the years, my in-laws have supported me like one of their own children. Despite living in Great Falls, Montana (a.k.a. the heart of Griz and Bobcats country), George somehow became a Bison fan.
He watched football and basketball broadcasts diligently with my mother-in-law, Mary, and before each game, he always sent me a text “Go Brian… Go Bison.” They became Bison fans because of me. I took George to an NDSU playoff game against Montana back in 2015. The Bison rolled and he cheered – for me. He drove six hours through smoky roads to Cheney, WA, for an NDSU road game – for me. He even put an NDSU yard sign on his lawn mower to playfully irritate his next-door neighbor (a big Montana State fan) – for me.
I will miss him terribly. He was an incredibly kind soul that taught me so much and provided so much help to our family. He was also an incredible grandfather to my daughter – and trying to tell her that she will never see her ‘Papa’ again is one of the excruciating things I have ever endured.
We leave next week to celebrate George’s life and there is a lot to celebrate, but I will miss my pre-game and post-game texts from him along with his encouraging words that meant so much. In his passing, George was still able to help others. His cornea's will help bring sight to two people.
Take some time this weekend to give thanks to those who love and support you because you never know the last time you’ll get to tell them what they mean to you.