My parents were not young when my mother gave birth to me. My dad was 42. My mother was 39. They divorced in 1990, when I was 15, he 57, and she 54. Each of them has since found someone new and, I'm lucky enough to say, they have been wonderful step-parents.
As you get older, you prepare yourself emotoinally and mentally for that day where you get that phone call: the one that says you are about to lose one of your parents. You expect it. It's part of life.
I got a phone call from my godbrother up north today. The news was grim: my stepfather is gravely ill.
Ronald knew my mother when they were both children in Trinidad. They were originally supposed to get married, but my mother landed an opportunity to go to England to study nursing. She met my father there, and they eventually moved to America and got married. Ronald was never quite that far away, however; it seems that no matter where in the West Indies you grew up, you eventually wind up in Brooklyn. So, they were never really out of touch.
When my parents split up, a few years went by, and eventually he moved in. He played the role of father figure pretty well, without getting into my face and demanding I treat him as though he were my dad.
When I moved out of New York in 2006 after I had irreconcilable differences with my mother, he maintained contact wtih me the entire time. He cared more about my welfare than my own mother did. I am glad he did, too, because his voice was a welcome one to hear at a time when I felt cut off from the rest of my family.
I can only hope for the best for him, though I am told he is in the hospital in an unresponsive condition. I don't know all of the details yet, but I know he has had heart issues for the past 20 or so years.
I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm praying for him.