I know I haven't posted very regularly on here. I really do mean to do better. I even have several ideas of posts I would like to write. Life, however, has been very crazy lately.
In mid-June, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. She passed away on September 16th. I have only been a member of this family for 13 1/2 years, but she was my other mom basically from before we were even engaged. She died just shy of the age of 61 and would have celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary January 1st. We keep thinking, "It was too soon." But really, was it? She accomplished quite a bit in that short span and left a rather large legacy of love and memories.
Our family traveled to Arkansas for the memorial services last week, and to be with my father-in-law and brother-in-law. At such a time, you expect the tears and sad moments that are there, but I am coming to recognize that as Christians, there is also a lot of laughter and smiles at times like this. The first time I realized it could be that way was when my paternal grandfather passed away 11 years ago. I remember being a little shocked that my aunt and grandmother and I stayed awake way too late the night of his funeral, talking and laughing instead of crying like I had expected. And the same has occurred each time another grandparent or loved one passed since then. As Christians, yes, it's still sad that we won't have that person here anymore. Trust me, I'm devastated that my children are going to grow up without having their Gamma around to spoil them, because once they arrived in this world, they were her greatest joy. But I also know we're all going to meet again. This isn't good-bye forever. And I know she's not hurting anymore. The last time we saw her, just a few weeks ago, she was in so much pain that she couldn't even hold a conversation with us. I didn't want her to be like that. So, those are the things that get us through the sad moments that come each day.
Since we were there several days last week, and their rent house has tiny closets, I went ahead and started going through her clothes with my husband's aunt and a cousin. As we bagged up her pretty things (and she had lots of pretty things because she could be a true girly-girl--one of the reasons she was so excited to get a daughter-in-law after being around all boys all those years), I just kept thinking about how quickly a life could be disassembled. It only took an afternoon to put away all her clothes and shoes and send them to the local charity. It only took me a couple of evenings to unsubscribe most of her emails and delete them down from over 3000 to about 30. It will take us weeks and months to go through some other things, like her jewelry, Bible class materials, boxes of memorabilia, etc, but still ... just putting away her clothes already changed the way the laundry room and closet felt in that house. I know it's not going to erase our memories of her or take away the love we had for her, but I guess I'm also just not quite ready for the house to feel normal without her in it, either. The Bible tells us that our life is "but a vapor." As we go through her things and move on, continuing to live without her, that's definitely feeling more and more true.
This post is probably a bit scatter-brained, but these are just some thoughts that have been running through my mind as I grieve the mama I never even knew I wanted. She raised the man I love, she loved me as a daughter, she adored my children. I will never understand people who don't like their mother-in-law, because I had one of the best. And I'm not sure I can fill the shoes she left behind, even if they are the size I wear.
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.