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Step dad is such an inadequate term for Tony. I rarely called him my step dad. I just called him my Tony. Every card, letter, or present I gave to him was to My Tony. My dad was my dad, my mom is my mom, but my Tony is in a way even more special to me than both of them. He was the first person who ever parented me. That made Tony even more valuable to me than anyone had ever been. He was my favorite person in my family and I was closer to no one in my family, and I respected no one greater. At the service, a family friend came up to me to tell me that she knew that you could love a child that wasn’t your own as much as a biological child, because she saw it in Tony with me. I never needed that validation, although Tony had expressed the same thing just weeks prior to his death. He was so incredibly special to me and his death is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced, made worse by the fact that it was so unexpected. I talked to him hours prior and he sounded happier than I’d heard him a long time. It hurts to be robbed of someone so special to me. He was the only person in my family I could talk to. Just a couple of weeks prior to all this I had spent over an hour on the phone with him when he was at work, just talking to him. I’d often ride along with him to work and we’d spend hours and hours talking, laughing, listening to country music and philosophizing. I could talk to him in a way I can’t talk to anyone and I loved him in a way I loved no one else. He always encouraged me in school. We both loved science and I could actually talk to him about what I studied. He bought my first science kit when I was in fourth grade, and my first microscope in Junior High. He told me it was his father’s dream for him to go to med school, and that if he could do it over, he would have, but that in the end he knew that I’d live out the dream of success. It hurts so much that he won’t be here to see it. So step dad doesn’t begin to encompass the true nature of his position in my life. He was so much more important to me than words can convey, and even though he wasn’t my biological dad, he certainly fathered me throughout the majority of my life.

March 19, 1950 - August 12, 2006
He'll never leave my heart.


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