I am sure that you are aware that the phone calls were in no way worries about your parenting skills. Your dear woman has her heart strings pulled in different directions, and that is a difficult place to be in. A mom's place is to be with her children and to take care of their needs. It does not matter knowing that they are in someone else's capable hands; it is not their own. She is also worried about her father and possibly grieving for future loss if things are not looking good. Taking care of the business aspect is a responsibility. She misses you being gone from you.
I remember an episode of Oprah years ago with the discussion of the role of the father in a family. The gist of it was if the father functioned as a parent or a babysitter. The distinction was hard to make and determined by the child. As a parent, the father would invest more time and do so willingly. The parent had a positive attitude as an equal and a part of a team. A baby sitter would reluctantly do something upon request. A baby sitter would pick and choose. You get the idea.
We all know where you fall, Mark. :-) You are a keeper.
I am sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I hope that your wife will not have to face too much stress in seeing to things.
Thank you for sharing your son's story and his letter. Kids are so sweet. I miss mine being so small at times.