ORIGINALLY POSTED 11/5/2014
If you’ve read the What Is Everflame? page of my website, then you know that the concept of Everflame means something more to me. It stands for my ethics, philosophies, and character, and I believe it can mean that for anyone. I see the concept of Everflame as an individual’s inner barometer. It’s something to think about when you need to look within yourself for strength. The strength I find within myself, I call Everflame.
I try to apply this inner strength to my life as much as I can, though no one can be perfect, and there are certainly times that I struggle. However, I feel that the Everflame Series has “talked the talk,” and I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t at least try to “walk the walk.” Through this series of blog posts, titled My Everflame, I intend to document this search for strength within myself.
Recently, my father-in-law Nick Geiermann passed away, after a struggle with ALS. Nick was a great man, and I can say this without having known him through the entirety of his life, and without having spent an immense amount of time with him. I know this because I know the woman he raised, and I love her more than any other. To me, Nick Geiermann is responsible for someone who has enriched my life with love in a way words do no justice. Now, in these days after his passing, I look within myself to find my role after this tragic event. I look within myself for the strength to honor him and to do what he would have wanted.
My wife and I met each other, and still live with each other today, in Florida. However, my wife grew up in Michigan and that is where her father, Nick, lived his life. Due to the distance between us, I never spent as much time with Nick as I would have liked to. In fact, the first time I met Nick was when I asked for his blessing to marry his daughter. I’ll never forget that conversation. It was a difficult thing for me to express deep feelings to a man I had only just met, but I believed he needed to know who I was, and how I felt.
The words we spoke to each other during that conversation were not as important to me as what I could see in Nick’s eyes. It may sound foolish, but I’ve never evaluated a man by his words. To me, it’s the spaces between those words that say so much more. It’s the moments of silence in which we search for the correct words to convey how we really feel that give everything away. In that conversation, and in those moments that I was pouring my feelings out to a man I barely knew, his eyes told me everything I ever need to know about Nick Geiermann.
He eyes conveyed that he loved his daughter deeply and he was both terrified of me and grateful for me, all at the same time. I could see in his eyes the caution with which he regarded me. I can only assume he was trying to figure out everything he could about me, with not enough information to make such an important decision. Ultimately, his want for his daughter’s happiness coaxed him into accepting me. His want for his daughter’s happiness gave him the strength to take my words as truth. What I learned about Nick Geiermann on that day was that his want for his daughter’s happiness was as strong as anything.
So, as I look within myself during this difficult time, I now know exactly what to do. I know what Nick would want from me, and I’ve known it ever since that first conversation. I am here for his daughter’s happiness, her security, and her well-being. I will love her, protect her, and be there for her always. I promised that to him then, and I reaffirm that commitment now.
We will miss you, Nick.