goodbye, dad royal

poppy and poppa pete

poppy & her grandfather

my father in law passed away a week ago today. lymphoma, that voracious, insidious bastard of a cancer, finally took him to the other side. he was a strong man, spiritually and physically. he was gregarious, humble, hilarious, and loving. he will be so missed by so many. he was very religious (a devout catholic), very active in service to his church, a member of many religious service organizations, and was a salesman for du pont for over 40 years. he was a graduate of duke, a former football player, runner, and a very avid fisherman. he had touched so many people’s lives in his 64 years, and made a friend of nearly every person he met. literally hundreds of people came to his vigil and funeral this past weekend. it was both overwhelming and breathtaking.

peter, poppy and i were in florida for vacation starting june 18th. the day we got here, we got a call from his mother saying dad was nearing the end, so we drove from orlando to jacksonville (where he and my mother in law have their home) to be with him in the hospital CCU in final hours before he died. i was only able to see him for a few minutes (i took care of poppy while peter and his siblings spent time with their dad), but i’ll never forget our last conversation:

“i’ve always thought of you as one of my daughters…”

and i held his hand and responded, “i know. i have always felt that.”
and it was true. he always did treat me like one of his daughters. he always went out of his way to make sure i was treated like one of the family.

rip, peter a. royal.
you were the best father in law in the world. i was lucky to have known you.
we love you, and miss you.


  1. PepperReed

    I’m SO very sorry for your loss! Peace be with you and your family at this time.

  2. Sandra

    He looks and sounds like a great guy. What a loss. It is great you guys were able to be there though!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about mortality lately. I know 36 isn’t technically “old” (what is?) but I certainly feel aged more and more each day… and now when I hear about deaths I’m always surprised at their age and curious of the circumstances and wondering how it will be for myself and my remaining loved ones… sorry to get all morbid.

  3. PaperDollyGirl

    Tricia, I’m so sorry for your loss. Lots of love for you and your family, especially your husband. Your father-in-law sounds like he was a first-class man.

  4. Patti

    Very sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my dad 10 years ago and my Mom 3 years ago. It is a shock to your entire system to lose someone you love. I understand how you must be feeling. Take Care.

  5. Anouk

    My condolences to you and your family! Your description sounds so loving. He must have been a wonderful person. I am sure he will live on in your memories.

  6. Jessie

    Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man, and looks so fantastically full of life in these pictures. I lost my mum to cancer almost four years ago, the loss of a parent is so shattering. How lovely that you had such a great relationship.

  7. Liza


    I’m so sorry for your loss. To echo the sentiments already stated, your father-in-law sounds like he was a wonderful man and he definitely looks like fun. Sixty-four is way too young. I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. valerie

    tricia, i am so sorry for your family’s loss. your beautiful tribute describes a man who surely changed the world for the better, just by having lived in it. what a light he leaves behind, though. such an inspiration. much love to you all.

  9. rita

    such beautiful words, tricia.
    i’m very sad for your loss and hope you’ll feel better soon.
    good memories are a great healer.
    a big hug*

  10. kate so

    I’m so sorry. What a wonderful man.

    I lost my dad three years ago to cancer. That disease takes too many people too soon.

  11. VictoriaR

    I haven’t seen your blog before, so sorry for the late comment. I had to express my sorry for your loss. I lost my mother to cancer when she was 64 (I was 38). Now that I’m 56 the idea of 64 is even more sad to me. Thank you for the lovely sendoff for your fil. Best to you and your family.

  12. Buttercup Rocks

    So very sorry to read about your loss. Your father in law looked like a brilliant bloke and I’m glad Poppy got to spend at least some time with him in her three years. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 24 and he was 55 so I’ve been there too.

  13. Jill

    Hi Tricia, I used to keep up on your blog when I was a corporate slug. And I’m just now returning but am glad to be back. This post made me tear up; my dad just turned 65, is having hormone treatments for early stage bone cancer, and I fear this kind of end to his life but keep it in the back of my mind always. I am so sorry for your loss. I also lost my grandmother the same week back in June and she was only 79; I miss her daily. Ugh, loss just sux. There’s no way around it. Thanks for such a nice post to put things into perspective. I’m so glad you had a nice last conversation w/ your sweet father-in-law.