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Saying Good-bye

glen20at20headstone-mMy mother-in-law died last October in her late 90’s. She had been living first in Georgia and then in Virginia with one of her two daughters. Her burial was planned for June next to her husband as that was a time when her children could gather for the internment…. June in Wisconsin is pleasant—late October not always.

A nephew…a preacher as my parents would have called him—printed up a program and conducted the service at grave-side. There were six siblings with assorted spouses, five grand-children and five great-grandchildren, and an additional nephew and his wife. The greats all ran about with the grands chasing them from time to time; group pictures were taken of different categories—all the siblings and spouses, all the grandchildren—the greats would have been nice but herding squirrels is a much easier project.

grandchildren20complete-mAll present were offered the opportunity to offer a memory—each one different—the memories involved both parents. The group sang two verses of a song a cappella quite credibly thanks to several former college choir and current church choir members.

Afterward we all convened to a local park for a picnic style meal gathered from a local grocery store. All of us had driven around town and managed to attempt to drive on the bicycle/ATV trail through the city—all of us avoiding a big fat ticket from the local cops—as one kind gentlemen who waved us off the trail noted.

twining20park-mgreat20grand20girls20with20ivy20smiling-mgreat20grandboys-mThe greats ran about the park, chasing ducks with the grands or their grandparents chasing them from time to time. Many photos were taken, catching up on family circumstances—and too soon it was time for us to head back to the farm.

As a mother-in-law myself, I find it a challenging position. I frequently asked her for advice on dealing with daughters-in-law—and her words were always succinct—love the daughter-n-law like I loved the son. I always felt I was being measured and falling short—as I’m sure my two daughters-in-law feel as well. I want my sons to be loved, cherished, and admonished when they need to be.

I remember a time when she came to visit and announced she would clean the kitchen for me—I came home to a sink full of dishes, the floor not swept but the dryer’s face panel sparkling. She came to help me after my youngest was born—I came home from work to find the baby stuffed  in a onesie with his feet on backward—And then there was the time I handed her a plate with her supper on it—with the meat and vegetables all cut up into toddler sized pieces along with half a glass of water—she looked surprised but never said a word about it.

Like most of us, at times she was not easy to live with or around—but I never heard her complain about her hearing loss or her blindness which isolated her from the world.

I have one living elderly relative—an aunt on my mother-s side. She lives on her own with her two sons and daughters-in-law checking on her daily.

Honoring mother and father must extend to aunts and uncles and in-laws—that commandment needs to be rewritten.

I wished I had taken photos of the picnic on Sunday but I didn’t–here are a few more photos taken on Saturday;




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