Thursday, May 24, 2007

Goodbye Red.

My mother-in-law died a few days ago. She valiantly fought cancer and COPD for the past several years but it finally caught up to her. Having touched so many, she will be greatly missed.

I had no doubt I would hurt for my husband and my children. I didn’t realize how much I would hurt for myself.

This whole week I have felt like I have been run over by a figurative steam roller. How can you feel numb yet experience jabbing pains almost simultaneously?

As people often do when someone who has been in their lives die, my mind replays several scenes with “Red”.

Before my husband and I were married we lived together but we didn’t have a washer and dryer. Mark would go into his mom’s house and do laundry. Well, I thought it he was the one doing it. Imagine my mortification when “Red” told me, quite matter-of-factly, that she had sent out a pair of my underwear out to be mended because it had a hole in it! So not only did Mark’s mom see my less than perfect unmentionables but so did someone else. I could have died.

As daughter-in-laws sometimes do, I took exception at times to my mother-in-law’s “suggestions” and her seemingly trying to override our decisions as parents. We didn’t agree on everything and she did love to spoil the kids. We won on the “My sized Barbie” but she would find a way to slip in little victories like ice cream before dinner.. I have to hand it to her though, she was an equal opportunity “spoiler”.

I found out I was pregnant when my daughter was about 2 years old. Mark was in between jobs and when he told his mom, she didn’t seem too thrilled. In fact she said to him “don’t you think that is a bit irresponsible?”. Looking back I think it was just because she worried if we could provide for another child right then but I was angry that she would say something like that

I was hurting and battered when I walked into her house after finding out that I had miscarried that child. Mark was at work and I had to go to the appointment alone. I wanted to say “I hope you are happy” but any bitterness was washed away by our mutual tears. She cried with me as a mother who had long ago also lost a child, as a grandmother mourning a future grandchild and simply as a woman in pain.

I will never forget that and will be forever grateful.

This past week has been hard. I saw my husband cry for the first time. I have seen my son transformed, from a gangly teen who hates to go shopping for any clothes, into a young man patiently insisting on getting a suit coat because “it is the right thing to do”

You read about it in a sad story, you see it in the “movie of the week” but you aren’t prepared when you play back all those old messages and hear “Mark, it’s me mom. Give me a call when you get in”. The voice is familiar and strong not faint or frail. It is a voice you expect to hear again yet knowing you never will.

I have been listening to a lot of Clay Aiken. I have literally needed to in order to get through this week. His voice soothes me. I listen to the hauntingly beautiful “Lover All Alone” and my tears fall freely . I am comforted by “I Will Carry You” and it reminds me of “Red” because she was always there for everyone.

If I touch half as many people’s hearts as she did, I will consider myself blessed. Actually, for having known her, I already am.


Corabeth said...

Michi, your blogs always make me cry. My FIL had COPD so I know how hard the last years are.

Clay's I Will Carry You has gotten me through some tough times as well and whenever you need a good cry about anything, Lover All Alone is an all purpose antidote for that catharsis.

Give your Mark a hug for me.

Pink Armchair said...

Michi, what a lovely tribute. Your relationship with her was obviously unique. She sounds like a wonderful woman, and I'm glad you have so many fond memories of her -- those you can keep forever. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

For me, Clay's demo recording "I Will Be Here" has been very comforting when I needed a boost.

lizzybutts said...

I guess there are MIL's and there are MIL's, you sound like you had a great one. I do too. You made me appreciate her little more today. Thank you and condolences to you and your family.


Vox Vixen said...

Your blog was beautiful (and educational since I didn't know what CORD was and had to look it up). Your words made me miss my own mother whom I lost three years ago. Memories are blessings and I'm glad you of so many that you can cherish.


Shadylil said...

Michi, my heart goes out to you and your family. What a wonderful tribute to your mother-in-law.

Anonymous said...

Michi, what a wonderful tribute. My heart goes out to you and yours.

My hope for you is that, in time your wonderful memories will dry your tears and will fill your heart with joy, laughter and peace.

How blessed you family has been. Although I never met your m-i-l. I will never forget "Red."

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss- it sounds like you had a good relationship with your MIL- my prayers go out to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your loss. Your blog was a wonderful tribute. Thank you for sharing about your special MIL.

I'm glad Clay's voice brings you comfort. I can't tell you how many times it has soothed me and helped me through difficult times.