Tower of Strength

Last night, whilst I was in a Blaze class, my mother in law quietly passed away. She was initially diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer several years ago, which began in her uterus and finally spread to other major organs. I know she was in no pain when she passed, and was constantly attended by the most loving and caring of families.

My husband was in Somerset on Monday/Tuesday, a distinct sense on his return there would not be long to wait before she finally left. Now she has, it is time to organise ourselves for a trip to the West Country. Both kids have expressed a strong desire to be at the funeral, which makes me think as parents we can’t be doing too bad of a job.

sunday

When I first started my relationship with my husband, his mother sent him the most scathing of letters: I was a year older than him, and clearly some kind of wanton, undesirable individual who he should not be involved with. Over 30 years later, the last time I visited her house, there still wasn’t a picture of me on public display.

Grandkids were prominent, both her husbands, two out of three sons’ wedding pictures. My husband’s solo graduation picture… but not one of me. It had become a standing joke. My husband remarked that perhaps it was because I didn’t like having my picture taken, that was why nothing existed… but I know better.

header118

She may not have been my greatest fan, but my respect for her remains significant: outliving two husbands, caring for both dutifully and devotedly until their deaths. A formidable teacher, a dedicated community pillar and undoubtedly an incredibly smart, intelligent woman. Her care for her boys was apparent, right until the end.

I’ve always been a bit jealous of my husband, I will admit. What I would have given to experience the joy and warmth of his upbringing. What kind of person might I have been if I had been exposed to his family’s undoubted wholeheartedness… of course, all of it is moot, but the thoughts remain. She was, until the end, a remarkable woman.

header134

I’m looking forward to going back. The location never disappoints, is just a genuinely beautiful, relaxing environment. My brothers and sister in law will, undoubtedly, make our stay convivial and enjoyable. I have no doubt it will be a lovely, well-attended service.

Then, we will all move on.