My dad's side of the family is very female-heavy. He's got 4 sisters, his dad had 3 sisters, and he has lots of female cousins. I credit this female-centric family life as the reason why my dad is so sensitive and so wonderful to his wife and daughter. This past October, when my grandpa died, I grieved for my own loss, but at the time I also grieved more for Dad, who not only lost his awesome father, but who became the sole man in his family for the first time in his entire life.
Recently, I've been following the story of my dad's closest male cousin Larry. About a year ago, Larry was diagnosed with an aggressive esophageal cancer. He wasn't given much time, but he did lots of research and started a strict regime of meds and natural remedies. Amazingly, he was given a clean bill of health after this regime. We all celebrated this miracle. Unfortunately, this was only temporary, and his cancer resurfaced, worse than last time. And, early this morning, Larry passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife, daughter, and other family members.
I met Larry only once that I can remember, and it was at his wedding when I was about 13. He was lovely and friendly, and I have loved hearing stories about him. However, in this instance, I am again grieving for my father. My poor father has lost so many men in his life, from his best friend Randy to his amazing father, and now his cousin, even though they acted more like surrogate brothers to each other (Larry had 2 sisters). My Dad was the number one awesomest guy on my list up until I was 20 years old and started dating my husband. He deserves to be happy, not to deal with these sad tragedies over and over. I just wish there was something I could do to make him feel better...
However, today, Dad is at Grandma's house in NC, along with all 4 of his sisters, my cousin Sherry, and her 2 daughters. As usual, surrounded by his strong female family. I'm sure he's there to visit and to be with his family, but I also know he's there for them, to be the strong male presence they need to lean on. It's reasons like that why I love my truly awesome dad.