may god bless my people: my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father. oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble, and in the hour of their taking away.
-- james agee
four years ago today my stepdad, steve, died of glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. he was 40 years old. there's a lot I could tell you about the 9 months between diagnosis and death, but what I want you to know is this: he taught me how to catch a pop fly, how to parallel park, how to drive a stick shift. he bought me my first ten-speed, my first TV, my first car. he came to a zillion track meets and cross-country races. he taught me how to pitch. he sized up my boyfriends. he made me milkshakes in the summertime, and steak subs, and hot dogs. he let me win arm wrestling contests and tickled me till my stomach ached from laughing.
I was his stepdaughter, not his daughter, but he was always, always there for me. he attended every single recital I gave in college. my last graduate recital was scheduled at the end of february; he had emergency surgery february 15. from his hospital bed, he promised me he'd be there. "it's not important," I said, and it wasn't. but he shook his head emphatically. two weeks later, walking with a cane, he was there.
I am so thankful for every moment that I knew him, and I miss him.