Friday, March 11, 2011

I can still perform an act of love

Whew, this has been a VERY long week.  I want to thank all the readers of this tiny corner of the blogosphere for being so encouraging and supportive during this time of grief.  My husband is home and life is returning to normal.  Whatever that means.  I am so glad to have him home.   I really don't know what to say about any of the rest of it.

My mother-in-law has passed away.  We weren't close.  It just never happened.  I tried, I'm sure she tried, but we were different.  Or maybe we were too much alike.  I just can't say.  What I can say is this; my mother-in-law loved her children.  She loved them more than ANYTHING in the WHOLE WORLD.  And, you know what else, ... they knew it.  She made sure they knew they were the MOST WONDERFUL PEOPLE in the world.  I think this is why we were never close.  You see, my husband married down, below his station.  Of course, there was no way he could marry above himself because he was the MOST WONDERFUL PERSON  in the world.  No one would have been good enough for him.  There it is.

Why couldn't I see this when I was a young bride and a young mother?  Why couldn't I see this as a reflection of the relationship she had with HIM and not the relationship I thought she was building with me.  I never saw this.  Of course, when I was 25 or 30 or 35, it was all about me.  Sometimes, even at the ripe old age of 5?, it still can be all about me, but not as much.  I just didn't get it.  I just saw my flaws.  I was too fat.  I was too lazy.  I didn't have a full-time job, I was a stay-at-home mom, I didn't contribute to the marriage, I was too fat.  This is all I ever saw about our relationship.  Her disapproval and my flaws.  So, my reaction was to back away, not like her, not like the relationship she had with my husband, etc., etc., etc.  I was an immature little girl.  And, she was, too.  We never talked about it.  We never really tried to find out who we were in this relationship.  It just never happened.

I'm writing this out here in cyberspace to see these words in front of my eyes.  This story is much deeper than can be told in one post.  My husband and I have been married 28 years.  My husband lived with his mother 'til he was 18.  Of course I know my husband as well as his mother did.  Of course I love my husband as well as his mother did.  I just know and love him differently.  And, I'm good enough.  I'm pretty enough.  I'm woman enough.  I am enough for my husband.

My mother-in-law has passed away.  I cannot mend or improve our relationship.  It is what it was.  It was cordial, it was detached, it was distant and sometimes it got a little ugly.  However, my relationship with my husband is still in progress.  I love him and I can still perform an act of love.  My husband has asked me to copy pictures for the family.  I can do this.  I'm happy to do this.  I can look at the pictures of her as a young woman and I wonder what she was thinking.  Did she hope for a wife for her son?  Did she hope his marriage would be long?  Did she want grandchildren?  I'll edit the pictures and make them as pretty as I can.  I'll send them out to all the siblings and nieces and nephews and the grandchildren.  I'll make every effort to bring some comfort to this sad time.  This can be my act of love.  It's not much, but it is something I can do.  Maybe in the process I'll learn a little bit more about who she was and who I am.


  1. am sorry to hear of this loss. I think you're figuring this out nicely. and what a lovely act of love to give the hubby and the others. I like how you're thinking.

  2. This might not help, but I understand what you mean. It's not my relationship I'm talking about, it's my mother-in-law's and her own mother. They are Nepali by decent and her mother married a man of a lower caste, and they had one daughter. First of all, she is the daughter of a man of a lower caste, second of all, she was female. My poor MIL has literally had to live without affection and with the full brunt of resentment from her own mother. She had water thrown on her when she was a child out in the cold - by her OWN MOTHER!

    I'm sorry your mother in law had such a distorted attitude, and I'm so glad to hear your husband never took on that attitude (gee I hope he never took on that attitude). But you are right, it's their problem and all we can do is love them and not let it affect our character.

  3. I'm praying for your family during this time. I can relate to the mother-in-law in-approval antics. It's wonderful that you can be so open and honest about what the relationship really was and not pouring sugar over it to make it extra sweet.

  4. there is a lot of humility in these are right there is nothing you can do about the relationship now...and i am glad you can affirm the good things in you...and realise that a marriage is always in progress...when we think otherwise we are going backward...

  5. Scanning and editing all of those pictures is a beautiful act of love, and a sizeable task. I do pray that not only is it a gift for your Love and his family, but that you walk away with a peace, greater undestanding and acceptance of who your m-i-l was. I love your openness. You are truthful about a painful relationship without dishonoring her. I find that tightrope difficult to walk myself and I applaude how tenderly and honestly you write.


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