A year ago today we lost my mother-in-law. A year ago. It seems both so long ago, and as if just a moment has passed.
We were camping. The kid was playing with friends. I was in the tent nursing baby E, who had just woken up. Hubby was out and about, getting ready for breakfaast. I heard his cell ring, but didn't answer because I was busy with E. It rang again just as E finished nursing a few minutes later, which seemed odd. I looked and saw the calls were from his father and his brother. That seemed even more odd, but not concerning. I assumed MIL was calling from their trip abroad to check in.
Hubby came back in the tent and I handed him the phone. He tried to call FIL, but there was no answer. Then he called his brother back and within seconds he sank to the ground, repeatedly asking, "What? What? What?????". I asked him what was going on, but all he could get out was "dad, mom". I assumed FIL had had a heart attack, though I don't know why. It never dawned on me that MIL had died. It honesly never dawned on me that anyone had died.
There are days when it still doesn't seem real. When I'll spout out "call and ask your mom" to hubby and it takes me several moments to realize what I've said. It often feels like we just haven't seen her lately. I can't believe it's been a year since I've seen her. I can't believe all the things she's missed.
MIL wasn't perfect and I was often frustrated with her. She was sometimes self-centered and stubborn. I often felt she was judging me in how I conducted myself in my relationship with hubby (though, really, that probably speaks more to my own insecurities than anything). She had a knack for backhanded compliments. She was seriously good at them. I'm still not sure whether they were intentional or not.
Though MIL and I had a complicated and often frustrating relationship, she also was one of the strongest women I've known. She loved fiercely. She was loyal, so very loyal. She was devoted to her family - her sons, her grandchildren, and especially to her husband and marriage. She believed in education, getting her bachelor's and master's degrees well in to adulthood, setting an example for many. She listened and gave thoughtful advice, even if it wasn't what you wanted to hear. She cared for people. She had a gift of helping and became a social worker to find a formal way to use her skills.
In short, she is missed by many. Including me. I wish she was still here. Even though she drove me damn crazy (a lot).
Today's Lesson: Sometimes we all get stuck. We focus on the things about others that make them hard for us to love. Instead of allowing those things that make us love them come to the front. Love is about making daily decisions to not let those hard things get in the way. Love is chosing to be in relationship with someone even though it is sometimes hard. Love isn't easy. There are moments of easy. There are many more moments of hard.