On May 9th at aprox 3 pm, my mother-in-law passed away quietly in her sleep with my father-in-law sitting by her side. In the last hours of her life, the nurses aid came in a gave her a sponge bath, rubbed her down with lotion and even fixed her hair, giving her the dignity she deserved in her passing. My father in law sat quietly by her bed saying his prayers, after which, he leaned forward and told her it was ok to go... she passed 15 minutes later.. I know that she was waiting for him to be ready to let her go...
She was not MY mother, but I loved her as one but more.. she was also my friend. She helped to form me into the person I am now... not always gently I might add.
She was a difficult woman at times, opinionated and hard headed. Once she got a thought in her mind, no arguing would change it, a trait, I'm afraid she has passed onto her son and grandchildren...
We did not always get along, she blamed me for her son leaving school and later joining the army without telling her. (her son did so without telling me also...see the hard headedness?)
She did not really like me, not at all, but when we decided to get married, it was she who through us our engagement party and later, our wedding. It was with her that I lived when my husband was sent overseas. It was during that time that she said she discovered why her son fell in love with me.
I felt that she judged me all of the time and her judgment always seemed harsh. Once when she found out that her son had cheated on me,,, she of course thought I must have done something to make him do that... I know, I should hate her for that.. but it was just who she was, her son could do no wrong in her eyes.. and no arguing was going to change her mind.
It seemed like nothing I did was ever good enough, I didn't raise my girls the way she wanted, I didn't treat her son the way she thought I should, in her eyes, my house wasn't clean enough. She nit picked on everything and made me crazy.
It was on my 25th birthday, I remember it so clearly for some reason, she called to complain about something else she thought I fell short on... but I had had enough. I blasted her with 5 years of pent up anger and resentment. I told her she needed to mind her own business and that I was a grown woman and her son a grown man and she could either except that or stay out of our lives and then I promptly hung up, totally forgetting that we would see her in an hour at a barbecue we were going to...
Well, I was apprehensive on the way there and beside myself on our arrival especially when I saw her heading towards us...I cringed when she walked right towards me thinking that she was going to continue the argument, but instead she hugged me, said she loved me and apologized for her behavior all of those years. She promised to be better and for the most part she was. Ahh, who am I kidding, she still annoyed the crap out of me, but something shifted and I began to feel that she actually started to respect me as the mother of her grandchildren and her son"s wife.
Through the next 20 years, we talked on the phone for hours almost every day. When we weren't on the phone, I was at her house hanging out with her...then I would go home and call her. It didn't matter what the problem was or the little bit of news, I always thought to call her before anyone else...I am going to really miss her.
Be well Mom.. and Happy Mother's day.. We love you!