It was a year ago Friday that Don Moate died. For those of you who don't know, Don was the grandpa I never had. I never met my dad's dad. He died 20 days before I was born, which will be 25 years ago on Thursday. Ironically his name was also Don. My mom's dad wasn't really in her life as a kid so he really wasn't in ours either. He was just sort of this guy we would see a couple of times a year when we went to Wisconsin. I can remember what he looked like, his pickup truck, and his dog, but I can't recall anything he ever said to me. He died when I was still in middle school.
When I moved to the Tri-Cities I had no one, not even the great Missaroo. Enter the Moates. Don and Mary Moate practically adopted me. They became the grandparents I never really had and introduced me to the people that would become my Washington State parents. On May 21st, 2009 Don had his final heart attack and died. Mary called me while I was sleeping. ((I was working overnight and it was about 2 in the afternoon when she called)) I didn't answer, and to this day I never checked the message. The next call I got was from my Washington State dad Wayne, he broke the news.
Don was honest, caring, and blunt. He knew things about people they didn't know themselves. I remember when I told the FAM that I adopted Missy. He looked at me and said, "so that's it? You've given up on guys and got a dog?" Yep. That was pretty much it. I was tired of having my heartbroken and being alone, so I adopted the Missaroo. Don had figured it out before I had.
I know I called this an ode to Don but there are not enough words to describe him and I just can't do him justice. I cannot express how much those people in the Tri-Cities have done for me and are still doing. I owe them so very much that I can never pay back. They gave me a family when I had no family, they took Missaroo and me in when we had no where to go, and they gave me the kind of unconditional love of a family. They are what every Christian strives to be. I loved Don, still do, still miss him. I was walking Missy down the road the other day and I started to laugh to myself and then cried. I was remembering something about Don.
It's amazing how people can touch your life so much. I forget that. I'm always talking about how much Missy means, all that she's gotten me through in the last year and a half. But if it wasn't for Don and Mary I wouldn't have made it in the Tri long enough to have adopted her.
I get mad at God, I do. On and off. But this week I've started to pray again. Sadly, it's taken remembering Don's death to remember how blessed the Missaroo and I truly are. Two years ago my life was so incredibly different. I never thought I would be in Spokane, with a dog and a blog and a second family, but God had other plans. And as always, I'm glad he did because I don't think my plans would have made me as happy as I am. So today, I thank God for the way things turned out.
Miss you Don!