Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Unwanted Anniversary

My mother-in-law died July 29, 2010. I have waited to write this out of respect for her.

When I began dating Helpful Hubby many moons ago (26 years!), his mother was the bane of my existence. She was overbearing, demanding and had no sense of personal space. It was a running joke around our friends that if the phone ran at anyone's house, it was probably his mother looking for him. She took noisy to the highest level.

Over the years, we had our arguments, our agreements and our moments of mutual silence but I had come to appreciate the struggles she had been through. MIL was the oldest of seven children (six girls and one boy) born to dirt poor parents in the North Georgia mountains. To escape an alcholic father and enabler mother she married at the age sixteen and was pregnant with HH's sister before she was seventeen.

Helpful Hubby's father wasn't the greatest catch in the mountains, but he had a fast car and was just back from Korea. Of course Daddy Dearest hadn't come from the greatest family either. MIL survived spousal abuse, verbal abuse from his sisters and low self-esteem for more than twenty-five years before gathering the courage to throw his sorry butt out the door.

With only a high school education and two children still at home to support (HH's sister went to live with Daddy Dearest) MIl put her energy into insurance. She married again to a strange but wonderful man and built a wonderful life for the last twenty-five years of her life, but some of the old habits never truly died.

She never completely trusted anyone to tell her the truth, but she wasn't know for honesty either. She took possession of my children and was angry when I planned events that thwarted her plans, but they were also her greatest joy. We fought about the best ways to raise children and over Helpful Hubby's love. She exasperated me more than any six other people on this planet. And I miss her more today than the day she suddenly dropped dead of an anurism.

Through adversity she learned strength and determination, but never let go of the baggage that prevented her from true happiness. She took everyone's burdens upon herself, planned for everyone's future save her own and left those of us who loved her with more questions than answers. But she gave birth to my Helpful Hubby and that forgives a lot with me. He might not be perfect, but he is loving and supportive and a lot saner than he should be based upon his home life while growing up.

So lift a glass to Janie Sue. She had a hard childhood, a disappointing first marriage, a true love in her second marriage and an early death from elective surgery. We will love you, hate you, cry for you, scream your name into the emptiness of the night and bless your acchievements every day, especially July 29th of every year.

So - Happy Anniversary of your Death Janie Sue Sanders Reece Blalock. We do miss you, warts and all.
Love Nancy

"Death would be an awfully big adventure." Peter Pan

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