Its been a long summer for my family and I. My mother-in-law passed away from ovarian cancer on August 12. We spent a lot of time with her and during that time had some time to think about the years that led us to that point.
Love is a strange thing that grows on us year after year. People we have just met, because we married their son or daughter, are now our family. Is it easy to accept them as family? Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no. The bottom line is they are the family of the one you love and as your life together progresses you learn quickly that a good relationship with their family is going to make things better and easier for both of you.
Sure there may be differences. You were brought up in different areas, have different customs and/or traditions but you have one thing in common, you both love the same person. That mutual love is the foundation that your relationship should be built upon. Will you always agree? Of course not, that’s why there’s vanilla and chocolate. Does that mean you can’t get along? Hopefully not. We need to see and accept each other’s differences as we form a lifelong bond.
Always look for the good things, things to admire about them and dwell on that. Look for the things you do have in common and emphasize them. Time will eventually take away some of what you have. As we cared for my mother-in-law and looked back at her life, I began to realize things I knew but never really thought about.
How she raised five boys and a girl. How she didn’t work until they were grown and then never really had a job to talk about. Her life was devoted to her family and not just her sons and daughter but brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles…both hers and her husband’s. By the time I came along she had a family and family life. I was an outsider but only for a short while. She treated me more like a peer than a daughter-in-law. She loved to have a good time and loved music and dancing. Just two short years ago she was dancing at my son’s wedding as everyone watched on in awe. Eight-six years old and dancing dance after dance. She had a young spirit even at that age.
As I look back on her and her life I can only admire the things she’d done. Did I appreciate her forty-six years ago? Not really. I was trying to impress her so she would l ike me. As I grew and our relationship grew I realized I had not given her the credit she deserved. Was she perfect? No, not then nor now but she was a loving mother who cared about her family. At times my strength led her to believe I didn’t need her and she also thought well, I had my own mother. I took her lack of interference as not caring, but I was wrong. It is so easy to accept what we think instead of what really is.
I write this in honor of my mother-in-law and pray that she’s found the peace she so well deserves.
She showed me that as we age our family becomes even more important to us. Friends are nice and good to have but family is what really matters. At eight-eight, she lived a good long life. When she found out she had cancer she said, “I am ready to die. I had a good life and all my children are grown and happy, I’m ready.”