Grief is a peculiar emotion, that runs through all things – sometimes to utter despair, at other times full of joy at a life well-lived. This last week has been such a roller-coaster of emotions and once again writing has helped, just a little bit, to ease some of the pain. Here are some of my thoughts about my mother-in-law, who died suddenly and unexpectedly last Sunday.
There are many jokes about mothers-in-law. This is one of my favourites:
Q: Why do they bury mothers-in-law 18 feet down, when everyone else is buried 6 feet down?
A: Because, deep down, they really are very nice people.
What can I say about my mother-in-law?
That she made better apple pies than me. After frequent criticism from my husband, I gave up making them. Our apples become crumble, not pie.
That she didn’t seem to like roast potatoes. I think it was to make her Christmas dinners a lot easier by just having boiled, but I always struggled to not have the treat of crisp, roast potatoes beside the sprouts and carrots.
That she made bran muffins. Which I think my body reacted badly to (all that fibre!) such that I was always more constipated after a visit.
That she knitted clothes for dolls. So ‘Baby James’ may have a slight identity crisis with his baby pink pyjamas, but they fit perfectly.
That she liked red wine. And was funniest when going just a little pink in the cheeks.
That she had unending patience. A trait I fear I have never possessed, and watching her play with my children when they were small, repeating games and jigsaws and books over and over again, gained my utmost admiration.
That she loved her grandchildren. When she last visited, she showed us her calendar packed with photos of the six of them. Her delight and pride in having that record of her family was a joy to behold.
That she understood gardening. Whilst that may not have pleased my sister-in-law’s hebes, our untamed jungle always appreciated a little wise advice and judicious pruning, and at home her transformation over the years of dull, shady green to bright, colourful garden was astonishing.
That she enjoyed reading. It was a privilege to be able to share thoughts and comments on books we’d both read, and suggestions of new ones to read.
That dinner was ready at 6.32pm. Invariably. (Just how did she do that??)
That she understood that she wasn’t my mum. But if there was a shop for parents-in-law, I couldn’t have chosen better than the two I was given.
That she loved her God and served Him unswervingly to the end.
What can I say about my mother-in-law? That she was a very nice person, not just deep down but the whole way through.