My husband is—and will forever be—the best father imaginable.

Like his own father before him, Tim has always loved working with and being around kids. From the Sunday school classroom to the middle school football field, Tim has spent a number of years helping young people realize their potential while at the same time gently instructing them in important life lessons.

Tim is interested in kids, talks with them, and genuinely cares about their welfare. Our son Matt, now twenty-four, definitely benefitted—as he is well aware—from having such a wonderful and supportive father.

My husband loves and lives to help others. If I or his mother or anyone else in his family needs anything Tim is always there.

Tim’s father, who I knew from the time I was a child until his death in 1999, was the same in that he, too, loved to help, even if the occasion were as simple as a children’s birthday party. I often wish that my own father had been even just a little bit like Mr. Thomson, but unfortunately for me and my brothers he was not.

Tim’s passion for “helping” has played out in his work life, too. He put his coaching skills to good use as an instructor in the MD-11, helping other pilots pass their simulator rides. (He used to joke that “coaching” pilots isn’t really all that different from coaching six year olds struggling to play T-ball or high schoolers preparing to play Division I baseball in college.)

Kieran, my son from my first marriage, was only five when Tim and I married. From the moment they first met, Kieran absolutely adored Tim.

Kieran and I had only recently returned to Memphis from London when Tim and I encountered one another at our childhood church for the first time in twenty years. (I remember Kieran staring up at Tim as if he were Superman, especially after he found out that Tim was a pilot.)

As a result of the child custody case I’d recently been through, I was forlorn, shattered and completely lacking in self-confidence.

Tim won me over, though, especially since our dates often included Kieran. The three of us would play golf or miniature golf or go on other child-centered outings, such as to Chucky Cheese.

Kieran knew he had a wonderful dad but often felt that he wasn’t worthy, especially after he began making poor choices as a teenager. Still, he knew that Tim loved him just as if he were his own biological son.

Tim was devastated when Kieran took his life and yet I’m sure he felt that he needed to be strong for me.

Even after almost nine years I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly comprehend how much pain Tim endured following the death of our older son. I simply couldn’t fathom what Tim—or, for that matter, our younger son Matt—were going through. It sounds selfish, I know, but for my part I was trapped in a prison of almost indescribable pain that I couldn’t even begin to see beyond.

At the time of Kieran’s death Tim received relatively little in the way of support, perhaps because like a lot of men he never let on that he needed anything.

On this Father’s Day, almost nine years later, I know that my husband still grieves. And yet he carries on each and every day with fortitude and optimism, his life a shining example of what it means to be a devoted husband, father, and son.