Writing has always been my true best friend. My friends say writing comes effortless to me. I don’t know if that is so much true as it is that it is my lifelong companion. My solace. My catharsis. My therapy. It is where I turn in times of joy and devastation. I must admit that my personal writing is more often spurred during sadness. Today, I am just plain sad.
My mother-in-law passed away last night. Eight days ago she was singing with her granddaughter and making lesson plans. Seven days ago she had a heart attack. It was her first heart attack. By all accounts it was not a severe heart attack, but it had an unusual twist. It created a hole in her septum. That magnified the seriousness of the situation. We were told that it would be a miracle if she made it. I understood that. I understood what it meant when they called to say she had taken a turn for the worse. I take comfort in knowing her four children were with her when she passed into Jesus arms to never feel pain or sorrow again. Still, I feel deeply sad.
We called her Susan mom. She was only 61. She was Jonathan’s step mom. She didn’t know that 42 years ago she gave me a great gift. She married Jonathan’s dad and inherited into her life a precious eight year old boy, my Jonathan. I suspect there were days he didn’t seem so precious. She was very young when she took on this challenge and blessing. Jonathan’s mom, Nell, had died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. I know Nell mom has already had the chance to thank Susan for loving Jonathan as her own, for continuing to set an earthly example of Christ’s servant and to share her own extended family with him. I am eternally grateful that God gave Jonathan two wonderful mothers. Jonathan has shared so many stories of the fun times he had with Susan and the rest of their family and the love they shared. I have my own memories, too. But most of all today, I’m just sad.
I’m sad for Jonathan’s dad. I’m sad that he has had to say good-bye to not one but two women who he loved with all his heart. I am not joking when I say he looked at Susan adoringly and lovingly – kind of like a smitten teenaged boy. That’s a beautiful gift to give your children. The gift of loving your wife, their mother as God intended. David did and still does. Jonathan often speaks of this and says that his dad modeled loving his wife. I agree that Jonathan learned well. Oh how David’s heart must hurt today.
I am sad for Susan’s dad. My parents have lost a child. It doesn’t matter how old – your child is still your child. I can still hear my mom say, “No parent should ever outlive their child.” I am sad for Susan’s brother. Different circumstances yes, but I know what it is like to lose a sibling. I know what it is like to see your parents grieve and to know that life will never be the same again.
I’m sad that Susan will not get to be there when Jennifer has her first baby, when Hali sings on Broadway or when Rachel moves into her pink house. I’m sad that we won’t share more recipes. We both loved to cook and shared many recipes over the years. So each time I cook cheesy chicken or baked beans, I will think of her because I use her recipes.
I am sad for Jonathan. Sad that he had to experience this loss in this way. I am sad that he is again motherless.
So Susan mom, thank you for taking such good care of my Jonathan. Thank you for investing in him and helping to make him the man he is. That has made all the difference in my life. Until we meet again, I shall remember you with great fondness, appreciation and laughter. I know that’s how you would want it. Love you. Rest in peace.