story from Jenn Stebbings

by Don

I’m not entirely sure where to start.  The last time I saw your dad was at one of Suzie’s roller derby bouts.  You told me where the family was sitting and when I went over there he smiled and gave me a hug.  It had to have been at least 10 years since I had seen him last.  He asked what I had been up to and seemed genuinely interested to hear my ramblings.  It really touched me that he remembered me after all those years.

I remember coming over to your house A LOT when we were together.  One of the things I will never forget is how welcoming and instantly family-like your parents made me feel.  I imagine many of your friends have said the same thing but for me it was terribly important.  I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you, but your dad was the first REAL example I ever had of what a dad is supposed to be like.  I never had that in my own house and so I guess I craved being around that environment.  Sounds cheesy probably, but I want him to know how much of a difference it made to me.  I knew “real” fathers existed after meeting your dad.  After you left for college, I didn’t have enough courage to go over to the house just to visit your folks because what teenager does that?  But I really did miss seeing them, and when your dad remembered me at Suzie’s bout, it brought back a lot of those great memories.

Do you remember the time when you and I left for dinner or a movie or something shortly after I had a fender-bender with the Volvo?  When we came back from wherever it was we went, your dad had pulled out the crunched fender while we were gone.  I couldn’t believe it.  I might have cried.  Why someone would do something so sweet and generous without provocation was beyond me.  I was over the moon.  And your dad just smiled like it was no big deal.  Maybe it wasn’t a big deal to him.  But it certainly was a huge deal to me.

And the weekend I spent with your family going up to BC for a corn festival will also be with me forever.  Now, every time I drive past the exit for that place when on my way to visit my grandparents in Canada it always triggers that memory.

I could go on and on but I won’t.  It breaks my heart that your dad is fighting this battle.  It doesn’t seem fair.  I wish I could come up there with you to hold his hand and smile at his sweet face and let him know in person how much his presence has meant to me.  The magnitude of which his kindness has had on my life is not easily expressed over an email, but I hope it will suffice for now.  Please give him, and the rest of your family, all my love and know that all of you are in my heart and thoughts.  And if there is ANYTHING I can do, ANYTHING AT ALL that will help your family, please do not hesitate to let me know.  I want to be there for you in any way I can.

Love to you all,

Jenn Stebbings