I remember before I was married the horror stories some had a their mother in laws. I had some girlfriends who had real "made for TV" encounters with their mother in laws. But me, I got lucky. I lived in a garage apartment above my in laws for 3 years and couldn't have been happier. When we moved to our first house I had to go through all the emotions of "leaving home" again.
We did have our ups and downs but we could always talk about them. Work through them. They never festered. I have the same relationship with my father in law. We can agree to disagree and be fine with it.
As a mother of five sons I think the daughter in law thing was overwhelming at times. Some of us she got along with better than others. As long as we treated her boys well she was happy. Her loyalty to them was fierce. She was the truest of mother hens. Many days when I make that reference it is my mother in law I am modeling after.
She taught me many things in her kitchen. Many things about our shared religion. She guided me down many paths I may have never found with out her. We made a quilt together. I would cut, she would sew. I designed, she made it work. She taught me to use leftovers in very creative ways. And that sometimes that little something special is a warm cake right out of the oven, no icing needed. She taught me that prayer is sometimes all we have to offer. And that giving to God is as necessary as breathing.
One Easter I had given up chocolate for Lent. She called me down at 11:30 pm to help her make up the Easter candy table for our family Easter party the next day and as soon as the grandfather clock in her living room struck midnight she pulled out my very own bag of chocolates. And she sat and ate it with me as we giggled. I can remember that like it was yesterday and it was more than nine years ago.
She came to the hospital when Wise One was born. Traveled 45 min to get there. All my other sister in laws told me how surprised they were. She had not come to the hospital when their babies were born. I felt very special. But I also felt my son was not just my own. It was her baby, having a baby and she was so proud of Chosen One. Not taking anything away from her other sons, but Chosen One was her baby and things were just different at times with him. She was a little more protective. A little more forgiving of his mistakes.
When she suffered her first stroke about two years ago I greived the mother in law I had known. Her personality changed and I missed her dearly. When the cancer with discovered a year later I almost couldn't hold it together at times. I knew what was coming. It mirrored what happened to my grandmother when I was eleven years old. I knew what was coming and I knew I would be a part of caring for this woman who had given me so much. Mainly, her fifth son.
The night before she passed we all spent the night at her house. We all slept in the same room with her. If she could have sat up and seen it I am sure she would have laughed. It looked like a big ole slumber party. In her honor. When she took her last breath the next morning we were all with her. Surrounding the bed, praying and lifting her up.
I am glad the cancer has released her. I am glad she is with all those she loved that passed before her. I am glad she is at peace.
But I miss her. I miss her in the depths of my bones. I miss her gentle smile. I miss her laugh and her squeezes she gave my sons. And I miss seeing her eyes light up at the sight of Chosen One. And his eyes lighting in return.