The meaning of "Father in Love"

No matter how I have been, you’ve always stood by me.
What is a father-in-law I don’t know. In you, a perfect father I see.

~ unknown

My “father-in-LOVE” passed away just an hour after my arrival…” 

shared in grief a colleague of mine the sad news on Thursday, last week.

* * *

That event seems to have shattered the world around him as he had known his father-in-law for more than 30 years. They have lived close by and have supported each other’s families in good and tough times. 

I tried to digest the information, feeling compassionate for what has happened. The loss of a close family member always leaves dear memories in the hearts of those who stay behind to continue the journey of Life. 

What touched me deeply was the expression my colleague used when he said:

my father-in-love
instead of
my father-in-law.

At first, I thought I didn’t hear it well, but he repeated the same phrase again with equal emotions and empathy towards the lost father.  

I found the expression “my father-in-love” much more appealing and inspiring, despite the word-play and the genuine grammatical mistake. I decided that it will become a part of my vocabulary, as it brings the essence of human appreciation to elderly parents.
And to the parents of your life-partner.

I am not fortunate to know my “father-in-law” and have always felt the void of missing that figure in my Life as a young husband. I expected Life to grant me the gift of having such a person so I can learn from him about the fatherly love to a daughter (who is now my partner-in-life). 

However, I am blessed to have a mother-in-law, whom I dearly respect. I am grateful for having her supporting presence. From now on, I would call her “my mother-in-love”.

* * *

Today, I invite you to take a minute, pick up the phone, and get in touch with your parents-in-law.
Ask them how they are, how they fare in Life, what they might need.
Spend a moment to listen to them with the intent to be there for them.
Appreciate their words and seek wisdom in them.
Express your gratitude.  

Love your parents-in-law, as someone else loves your parents as well. 

You might be a parent to a daughter or a son. When they marry, imagine who you would want to be for the other “side” – a parent-in-law or a parent-in-LOVE. It all depends on you.

Today. Today is all you have.

Choose wisely who you would want to be when the time comes.

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