I never intended to care. Heck, I was already a grown up, I had grown children and grandkids. What do I need another parent in my life for anyways? Why would I want a relationship with someone new that lives13 hours away? We have no shared blood, no long ago memories together. We have only one link, my mom.
He married her many years ago and I, in the process, picked up a stepdad, Wade Ketterman. I never really got to know him much until a little over a year ago. Prior to meeting him, my sister told me plenty. I heard what a wonderful man he was, how good he was to my mother and how well liked he was by her family. Wade was a keeper, a simple man who had an unselfish kind of love towards my mom, Margaret. He loved being with her, sharing his life with her and wanted to grow old with my mom.
I suppose because I am my mother’s daughter, he embraced me the same way, with open arms. And never have I met anyone that has so easily and warmly received me as him. My stepdad is hard to resist, how can you not love this guy?
Wade calls to let me know when Mom has had health issues, he calls to check on me and he calls to just simply say hello. Wade is not afraid to say I love you back to me either on a call even though he is from that generation where those words are not uttered much by real men! He is comfortable in his own skin and with telling you how he really feels about things if you are willing to listen.
And I do enjoy listening. As I have gathered bits and pieces of his life, I have figured out some of the makeup of who Wade Ketterman is, part of it anyways.
Wade was born in Pennsylvania around 1930ish. He lived a simple life and came from a family of quite a few children. A lot of the details of his life I am missing. Let’s just say there are many missing pages there. If I were writing a book, I would need to spend hours upon hours with him to fill in the gaps. And I would treasure those moments too. I can tell, from the wrinkle lines in his face, what great stories he would have too!
He spent quite a few years in Florida, on the coastline. He built a boat used on an Elvis Presley movie while living in the South! Christianity is part of who he is and years ago, he even taught children bible classes. He has a son, Roger but they have an estranged relationship. I think, like many relationships, too many hurt feelings over the years turned things sour. Such a shame too when his heart is so full of love and forgiveness that his son will never get to experience the pureness of it during his father’s later years. But one day, I am certain, God will shower the knowledge down on Roger so he too will know that his father was indeed a good man with a good heart.
The sincerity of Wade is so evident. This is one trait I just love about him! He is a man with very few words but when he speaks he means what he says, therefore, the words take on added power. Some might say he is a simple man because he is not all that complicated. But if you think simple means unwise than you do not know Wade, his intuition about life and people is remarkable. He has tremendous insight but he the strong silent type that does not force his opinions on others unless asked. I try to find the time to ask Wade his views, when no one else is around or over the telephone and am never displeased by his responses and his openness.
I have learned from Wade the pure simple joy in connecting with someone later in life and quickly making a connection. He has touched my soul in a special way that makes me so glad to have him a part of my life. He is a kind caring gentle man with a wonderful smile. I find his humor funny, his passion moving and his ability to hang in there when the going gets tough moving.
Getting to know Wade so well and care deeply about him made the call I received a month ago so hard to hear. The sores in his throat were not just cancer, but Stage 4. Since that day, the calls have been filled with news, mostly bad stuff and I think I have tried my best to weather the storm of emotion but when you love someone in a special way, it is not always easy. Who can shut down their heart?
Now, as my stepdad faces and lives with cancer, my heart is heavy. I had so many things I wanted to do with Wade that I will never get to do. I had a hundred more times in me to say I love you pops or just simply sit and be near him to make him. I know we live on God’s time and not on ours but I can’t help wishing I had met him earlier. Why couldn’t we have lived closer so we had more time to spend if our time was going to be shortened? He wanted to see the more rural area I live in, where my house is, and that won’t happen. Time ran out. Wade said he wanted to bring my mom to Tennessee and be near me. That day will never come. I wanted him to go on a vacation with us somewhere so I could see the light in his eyes when we did something adventurous but now the adventure he will experience will be the everlasting joy of heaven and I will be left here waiting and wondering when I will see him again. I do not want him to suffer, I want him out of pain but he will be missed. There will be a void that I never knew existed in me before I met Wade.
I wish Wade more days of smiles and less days of pain. I hope the drugs he gets for the remainder of his time on earth are wonder drugs so my pal will know God has mercy on him. He has lived a good live, fought a good fight and deserves a fitting end. He told me he has led a rich life. He has done so many things. I can see the laugh lines around his face, the twinkle in his eyes and the way he carries himself when he walks to know he has lived..oh yes, Wade has lived his life with vigor.
I can let him go but only because I know I will see him again, on the other side. As soon as I get to Heaven, he better flag me down! God knows, I love my step father Wade very much. I want to feel his arms around me when I get to heaven.
I am grateful God let Wade in my life. We touched each other’s souls in a special way that I can just feel inside; I know he can too. When I see him again, in heaven, God will have given him back an ability to have a booming voice that can be easily understood and I will be able to sit and hear the rest of the stories he never quite got to finish telling me of his life! Amen.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”