Mental Health and Unconditional Love
The Fourth House
by – Sheri de Grom
I wrote a blog titled, ‘Mental Health – You Can’t Go Home Again’ in January 2014.
It’s with love and thanksgiving when I read Tom’s comments on my blog. Tom doesn’t blog and he rarely comments on what I write verbally and normally I don’t know if he’s read my blog or not. He posted a comment on January 22, 2014 using my avatar and I want to acknowledge how much his comment meant to me.
Tom wrote: The ‘Home’ Sheri is talking about is mine, and the ‘Tom’ is me. Growing up in a house without love is especially hard for an only child. The only thing that brought me hope was Sheri and a rancher from Kansas that sat tall in the saddle, Loyd, her father. He treated me in a way that my real father never did and I still consider Loyd to have been more than a father-in-law to me but a father. I worked for years to get my father’s harsh words from ruling my life (the first thing he said to me after being away from home in Germany was G*** D**** boy you are fat.) I was good enough for the Army but not for him. Now I’m trying never to forget the role model that was Loyd Lawrence. Signed – Tom de Grom
On January 23, 2014, I responded to Tom on the same blog.
Dear Tom: How could I possibly read the above message from you and not cry for the father you never had and the fact that my dad, my very own John Wayne, showered you with love and appreciation. Dad’s love for you was never about your willingness for us to take care of him financially after he lost so much in 1999. You lovingly invited Dad into our home time and time again and yes, we often did without many of the things our peer group enjoyed because we elected to make life easier for a man we both loved. When Dad wasn’t with us, he had stories to tell his friends about the places he’d been and the exciting things he’d been able to do. You also saw things that I didn’t have a clue about. You knew how much Dad loved working in his shop after he was no longer on the ranch and you provided the best equipment possible.
Dad was distraught that he’d no longer have a place to keep his old cow pony, Smoke. You made it your number one mission to locate Dad a place to live wherein we’d own the property and he’d never have to worry about moving again. Not only that, but his house was in a town where he went to high school and already knew everyone, and probably best of all is that we bought the empty lot on one side of Dad’s house with an additional house for a rental. This gave Dad something else to be responsible for. Suddenly he found purpose again.
Smoke probably had the best retirement plan in the world. We all tried to keep him in the country where he’d be well taken care of and Dad could visit him every day whenever he wanted. But, Smoke didn’t like that arrangement and continued to jump the paddock fence at age 18 and traveled the eight miles into town to stand on Dad’s lawn most days.
Tom, I’ll never be able to thank you for loving my father unconditionally, the same as myself. Of course, Dad did say, when he walked me down the aisle to become your wife, “It may have taken you forty years, but you finally got it right.” Tom, I’ll always remember Dad’s sense of pride on our wedding day. He knew his youngest child and only daughter was finally going home to a man who loved her as much as he did.
Loving you more today than yesterday. Sheri