As a writer, I cannot help but put important events in my life down on paper. Just recently, I lost my in-laws, so I am honoring their lives here.
My mother-in-law was a lesson in being frugal. She taught me that one can get by without the frills in life and still be content. She didn’t hang on to a lot of stuff, only what she needed. What she had was used readily and appreciated. I always enjoyed how she would get a new gift and tell me how she was so happy with the product, whether it was new sheets for her bed or a timer for her eye drops. Once she realized the convenience or comfort, heartfelt thankfulness was in her tone of voice. She appreciated her flowers and nature and taught me to see beauty in a barren tree in the dead of winter. My husband looked forward to talking with her on the phone nearly every week, and I will miss sitting in the background with an ear to their conversations. She appeared to hang on his every word. Who else will care so much about what he is doing with his life?
And who didn’t love my father-in-law? He had a gifted sense of humor and always had a smile. He continued to smile right up to the end of his life. He (and his parents) taught my husband a good work ethic, and to go out and help the neighbors. He had his kids shoveling snow off walkways for those who needed it and he did his share of helping over the years, too. I can’t imagine him not being there when someone needed him, if he was able to help. The most profound thing I had ever heard him say came from a conversation he was having with my husband about a year or two ago. My father-in-law had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t worry about finding the right words in conversation any more, that he had to just let it go. He told my husband that he would probably have to do the same thing at times as regards to his multiple sclerosis. During WWII, he served in the Battle of the Bulge, a well-known battle in France, where the courage and fortitude of the American Soldier was tested against great adversity.
After many years in the Wenatchee area, my in-laws moved to the Spokane Valley to help their daughter care for her family with a new disabled baby. Likewise, they looked out for their neighbors and helped an elderly woman who lived next to them for many years. We were there the day their house sold and the neighbors from literally every side of their home came over to ask about them as they’d grown to care about them so much over the years. And personally, they treated me like I was a gift from heaven for their son, which I so appreciated early on.
They were married sixty-six years and attended Church together most of those years. They passed away less than two weeks from each other. For me, their deaths give new meaning to the expression; see you on the other side. When my time comes, I look forward to hugging them again.