I've been thinking today about the month past and the past 50 years. You see, on January 12 my hubby's Mom passed away. She was 93 years young. Up until the past few months, my mother-in-law was a woman who had a zest for life, even in the twilight of her own life.. She was an outgoing person and made friends at her Independent/Assisted Living facility easily. In fact, many people said she was the first person they met when they moved into the facility.
But, she was a complicated woman--she had an unique personality. As I reflect on her life and my relationship with her I realize that after all these years. I don't believe I really knew her. She could be so kind, but so controlling, so generous but so manipulative, so forgiving but hold a grunge.
My early years in the family were difficult--I was not the wife she would have chosen for her son. We had many ups and downs. I was raised to respect people no matter what---so when she would express disapproval with me or manipulate an event. I would take it in stride and work my way to an end that would satisfy her and not compromise my beliefs.
I remember the one time I stood up to her, she had been disappointed about events that had taken place that my hubby, his step-mother and myself had nothing to do with, but she placed all the blame on us. I told her where the blame should be placed and that I would not tolerate her comments any longer. If she continued, I would remove my family from having contact with her. I was shaking in my shoes as that ultimatum came flowing from my lips. Hubby and I had been married for 25 years, at that point and I guess I had enough. What was so interesting, she never said another word concerning her previous criticism. What was also interesting our relationship changed and until her passing we became close.
She was a good woman, who loved her family and who I believe had some bad things happen to her when she was growing up--that we will never really know. But I believe those things changed her and made the unique personality we knew. She had a love in her heart for her family, but had difficulty expressing that love. Her love had conditions, I believe those conditions were set up for her own protection.
At her memorial her oldest Grandson expressed that this was a time for forgiveness. Many family members knew what he was talking about and many members have more to think about on that subject than myself. I'm pleased to say that the last 25 years of knowing my mother-in-law were good and joyful. Another thing I have thought about this past month, is that life is so precious and every moment can mold a person forever. Kindness, Love and Caring is what it is all about and what I strive for daily. I thank Virginia for making me more aware and for raising a wonderful son.