Saturday, May 18, 2024


My mother-in-law and I holding hands recently.

 My mother-in-law passed away the day before Mother's Day.  Carey was with her.  Interestingly, he was also the only one with his father when he past, also the day before a holiday.  It's hard to let an anniversary slip quietly by when you have that kind of reminder.

Carey's mother was a lovely woman.  She raised five wonderful children, of whom I won the best.  :)  She always smiled when I told her that.

Sometimes it was hard for me to be on my best behavior (as I felt I had to do) for the entire length of visits.  My best friend once told me to just pick up my purse and go shopping...that they would appreciate the alone time with Carey and the kids, while I took a break anywhere else.  That was very sound advice.  :)

We had completely different mindsets in the beginning.  The Cleavers were to Carey's family as The Honeymooners were to mine.  (They might disagree, but I don't see it.)  When I was a newlywed, my mother-in-law gifted me postage stamps once.  I knew she would like to hear from us more often, but writing a letter took me all day and into the night, and it still left room for misinterpretation; we just weren't on the same wavelength.  And I decided Carey could use the postage stamps, but I don't think he ever did.  I still sent letters and photographs, but probably not as often as would have been desired.  

However when I became a grandmother, I softened.  I appreciated her more.  I made sure that I wrote and sent photographs, and when the children were old enough to write, I made sure they sent letters.  They are very good letter writers now.  They don't do it often, but they know how to start, how to share news, and how to close with affection.

She appreciated that a great deal.  She always answered each of their letters, and receiving an answering letter made them want to write again.  It felt like my m-i-l and I were partners in teaching the children these things.  We both took great satisfaction in it.

She also appreciated the things I did like sending cards to her that I crafted with her favorite colors and flowers, birds, and butterflies.  I made her things that took her needs in mind.  I tried to gift her things that would be useful without taking up space or needing dusting.  Until almost the end she was still using the 'scarves' I made that could be spread across the front of her top during mealtime to serve as an inconspicuous bib, and the walker caddies that kept keys and water bottles (etc.) at hand when she was on the move.

Her funeral service was on Wednesday.  It was so good to gather with the whole family.  She would have loved it.  We had been planning a big party for her 90th birthday in 2020, and Covid made it impossible.  Then it became harder and harder for her to participate in large gatherings, so we all made individual trips as we could.

She was tired of living with constant pain, and ready to go home.  She was a shining example, and I'm going to miss her so much.


  1. What a lovely tribute. I'm so sorry.

    1. Thank you! She taught us lessons right up to the end.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this Kathleen. Sending all our love to Carey and the entire family. Love you guys. Praying for all of you during this difficult season.


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