• Joe Russell

Remembering my step father

Updated: Dec 9, 2019


It has been just over 3 years since my step father passed away. He was just one month shy of his 60th birthday. I was 13 years old when he and my mom got married, and although we had a great relationship while they were dating, things turned south quickly after my little sister and older brother moved into “his” house. He seemed to have a rule against every childhood instinct the three of us had.

We shared our lives with him for 23 years. Most of the valuable life lessons I learned from him were from anguish and frustration instead of from wise and thoughtful instruction. As I reflect, I feel fortunate to have lived through those painful experiences because doing so has awakened in me an instant awareness to moments of being unfair, inflexible, unthoughtful and unkind... both in myself and in others. From all of this, I have come to realize that flexibility is the most important asset a person can have.

He certainly had kindness inside of him, but that mostly came out with his grandchildren with whom he loved and connected with in a deep way. They all saw him as the perfect grandpa. I am so glad that he got to experience that.

Now that “Boog” has finished with this life, I honor him by keeping these lessons inside of me as I remember the best version of him. I have no firm belief on what happens to us after we die, but I do like to think of him frustration and pain free, experiencing all the beautiful wonders of the universe.

Here is a photo of him and my mom looking at the Endeavor spaceship on their last trip out to California. It makes me happy.


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