Today we celebrated the life of Kenneth Williams, who died on June 20. He lived 86+ years. I called him Dad, even though I do not carry his genes. The daughter who did, Margaret-Rose, was Mauri’s first wife for 20 years before she died in 1988.
Nearly 12 years ago, Kenneth and Edna flew from Portland all the way to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to attend Mauri’s and my wedding. They wanted to show their support and get in on the fun. At that time I had already lost both of my first in-laws and my mother but my dad was still living. Yet it was easy to call Dad Williams Dad. From the beginning he made it clear he accepted me as his daughter. In the autobiography he wrote to be read at his memorial service he referred to me as “our other beloved daughter, Sherry.” Obviously, he still dearly loved Margaret-Rose, and her memory frequently leaked out of his eyes. In a sense, Kenneth let me take her place—not as a replacement but as a stand-in. No one could replace my birth dad, who died in 1996, but Kenneth was an exceptional stand-in dad. He openly expressed love and appreciation for me. He introduced me as his daughter, sometimes without explanation. We’re family, and his death has already left a noticable hole in it.
Thankfully, Mom Williams is still very much alive at age 87. Everything I just said about Dad is true of Mom Edna. I feel remarkably blessed to have been given a second set of parents to love and to love me.