Behaving with your in laws is a little bit like driving in a highway with a police car nearby. You strictly respect the speed limit, keep a safety distance with the car in front, properly signal every change of lane. It's kind of a tense calmness where you observe all the rules you know and fear for the ones you may not know, hoping everything will be fine. It's the most prudent version of yourself, no spontaneity allowed. Over time, either you break those self imposed conditions or, as in my case, you get used to them. Either way, humanity creeps in, as a form of subtle turns in a conversation dominated by protocol and proper behavior. Think those Sense and Sensibility dialogues. When that happened to me, long time ago, I always received love, appreciation and deep respect. Always. And that was reciprocal. I never slipped out of my role, despite the optimal conditions that were set by my father in law, and we kept on playing Sense and Sensibility until the end, as if I was afraid of spoiling it if I tried something else, and perhaps in his case he thought that it was ok that way too. I never crossed a loving word with him, and I don't feel we missed any. I'm positive you knew what I felt, and rest assured that I knew too. Within the cage of social convention, a proud smile or an excited look are much more eloquent forms of communication. That's why I feel so grateful for the time we spent together.
I met my in laws very early in my journey, in the end I knew my wife with 18 yo. They're such a key part of life, specially at that age, when the world is still to be discovered. They showed me a different view of life. I mean, you spend a week in China and return marveled at such massive cultural differences. A trip into the life of another family is exactly the same but in a more subtle and intimate way. From mundane stuff like the way you set the cutlery on the table to much more fundamental stuff like what does professional success mean or what does agood life mean. And there were obvious differences between what I knew from my home and what I saw in his. This confrontation of life views can be a blessing or a curse. For me the confrontation was never a win-lose game, and therefore it was an eye opening, perspective broadening experience. That's what happens when you live your life not sure about anything, probably the only way to accommodate the innumerable differences you will confront in life. And so I learned a good deal of things from you. From the very practical, like cabling the house to see the TV in any room... (well, now that I stumbled into this, no, I did not learn anything about this and you've left quite a mess under that TV set that only you understood, and I'm pretty sure I will have to deal with that sooner or later. Thanks man!)... To the more relevant, like your love for music, something that we didn't have at home, and greatly enjoy now. But also even more unexpected, like the lessons on managing ones career; while my father will always be an undeniable reference, your different path opened questions and options that I wouldn't have beheld otherwise. Anyway, my point is you had a lot to teach, and I tried to get as much as possible, and when the confrontation of life views is done with so much respect and appreciation as you showed for me and my family, it's so enjoyable. Thanks for that too.
Finally, and more personally, I've been quite moved by the last stage of your life. More than I showed, for sure. It happened during the echoes of my father's awful trip, but nonetheless you made me think about a couple of things I did not had to face before. You made me think about that stage in life when dreams are broken and prospects are shady. A stage my father never got into, but one that, if lucky, we will all have to face. That's a place where questions are easy but answers are non trivial, as it happens with all key matters of life. During all these months, I saw you turning smaller and smaller, quieter in a crazy house. In the refuge of your corner, I'm under the impression that you were trying to leave without being noticed. I'll tell you what. You failed, man. I will miss you in that corner everyday, and I will remember the same stories you told me a thousand times. I could have heard them once more, you know. But that's life.
So farewell, my friend, and thanks for everything. I just hope they don't let you wire heaven up so that you can watch Real Madrid matches in your place, or God is going to have a rough time understanding how you overruled a couple of physic laws He himself set out.