Personal: Saying Goodbye

As some of you know, I lost my father-in-law last week.  I was given an opportunity to speak during the memorial service, and afterwards I was amazed when one of my friends commented about how close my father-in-law and I were.  I remember driving to Nevada from California with Ryan to meet his family for the first time.  He kept telling me how gruff and “not talkative” his Dad was… I refused to believe that my fiance, the warmest, kindest person I knew, came from a gruff Dad.  Determined to break through any barrier I walked in the house, gave him a hug, kiss on the cheek and called him “Dad.”  That seemed to do the trick.  We had been close since that moment. After they moved from Nevada to North Carolina we could usually be found on holidays, birthdays and random family gatherings at their home.  Any time Ryan and I would come over to their house it was always the same… hug, kiss on the cheek and a “Hi, Dad.”  Except one time, I caught him before he could get up out of his chair in the office… I plopped down on his lap, hugged him and just rested my head on his shoulder.  He then told everyone else to leave the room, and we were going to chat.  Which we did… for about a minute :).  Or when he had his heart attack last March… and under heavy drugs he told everyone that I was his favorite child (something I will never let anyone forget).

Now, I go over to the house, turn my head to where his office is… there’s no puff of cigarette smoke going out the window, no feet up on the chair resting, no baseball game on, no computer humming… I think that’s when it hit me… that he was gone.  I know I saw him in the hospital bed, watched the nurses turn off the machines and saw his heart stop beating… but it wasn’t until that moment of looking to the right, expecting to see him that it hit me.  I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the reassurance that I would see him in heaven, or if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit being my comforter in these moments.  I don’t know how people handle death without God there holding them through it; because I know I need to be held, but I know my husband is hurting more than I am.

Dad’s last request to me was about a week before Thanksgiving last year.  All he wanted was a picture of all of us together.  I was more than happy to oblige, and I felt that we needed it to be a big deal.  So I brought out the backdrop, waited until the light was perfect and dragged everyone out into the driveway while the sun was setting.

I ran into a photographer friend of mine this week, and she complimented me on the photos we took that day.  She said that as photographers our lives are wrapped around taking pictures of everyone else’s happy memories, and that we forget to capture our own families memories.  She told me that she committed herself to taking more pictures of her family this year… me too.  I’m so thankful that every time there was a birthday or holiday Mom and Dad Fesko always brought out the camera, and I’m resolved to do that more.


I’m so thankful that I had the last 7 years with you.  I hope that when you got to heaven Jesus had already finished up that log cabin retirement home you promised you’d build Mom, so you could rest and just chat with Him on the front porch.  I hope you get to do all the things you missed, and you couldn’t do because of your health.  I hope you know we love you and miss you; but I’m so thankful that you have full use of your heart, veins, lungs and legs again.  I know it’s going to be a while, but just save a spot on your lap for me so we can talk again okay?  And find my grandfather, and my “uncle” Paul… give them a hug for me.  I know you guys would all get along.  I’ll miss you everyday.

Your Favorite – Rachel

Dad trying to be serious… and the result…

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  • Crista Stubbs - Absolutely amazing story. Thanks for the inspiration. My prayers are with you and your family to help you get through such a heavy burden.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Roy via Facebook - Tears! What a beautiful tribute.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Phillips Staley via Facebook - precious <3 there will be so many sweet reunions in heaven one day!ReplyCancel

  • May Rosenlund - *tears* I'm so glad you got 7 years with him, Rachel. What a nice tribute. Take care of Ryan for all of us back in MA that can't hug him and be there for him. You guys will make it through this with Him by your side. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Alex Perez - cried like a little baby, you still have a puertorican family that will love you guys forever.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy McKenzie Dimoff - What beautiful memories you will have. Your family is in my thoughts.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy Pope Wilson - Rachel, you always have the most beautiful pictures and a lovely tribute to Bob Fesko 🙂ReplyCancel