This I Believe

patti - cape elizabeth, Maine
Entered on July 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I believe-

I believe mother- in- laws have been much maligned over the years. When I lost my mother-in-law last week, I lost an extraordinary friend. From our very first meeting- even before I became part of the family- my future mother-in-law made me feel welcome and special. Her warmth and genuine concern was encouraging in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. Of course, I realize that many women feel they can not be far enough away from their invasive, prying, overindulgent mother-in- laws. Perhaps mine was just relieved to know that someone was interested in taking her son off her hands…

Whatever the reason, her love and gratitude sustained me through many difficult times. She would be there for me when, for example, exhausted, I would call crying to her about the occasional incredibly long days of three children under the age of 4 and a workaholic husband in a new job in a new state. With her usual cheerfulness, “G.G.” would show up at the door, books and toys in hand, and completely mesmerize her grandchildren with her stories and songs. She was truly my guardian angel and I could never repay her for those years of utter unselfishness. Joy would infuse the house again and I would feel renewed.

Never have I felt that my mother in law judged me for my inadequacies but rather that she encouraged me with her constant support. She could make me feel like I was capable of doing anything. Maybe a little naive to the possibility of malevolence in others, I never heard her speak a negative word about anyone in all the years I knew her.

The word I will forever associate with my mother in law is “glorious.” She used this adjective frequently to describe the day, the sky, the ocean, the moon hung high over the earth. My mother-in-law appreciated the magnificence of each precious moment of life.

We actually lost G.G. over the past several years to the cruelty of Alzheimer’s Disease. No longer was she able to expound on the virtues of a book she just finished or to recite one of the hundreds of poems she knew. She was unable to complete the crossword puzzles she so loved, and at the very last, she could not even remember the words to the songs she loved to croon in her truly unique voice! But my mother- in -law ALWAYS managed a smile for all and a look of utter happiness as she gazed upward at the skies.

GG was an inspiration to us all and while we may no longer have her presence, we will always feel her influence in our own lives. When we notice a beautiful butterfly, experience a fantastic rainstorm, or watch the waves break over the shore in their natural beauty, we will hear G.G. remind us of how glorious they, and all of life, truly are.