Monday, July 07, 2014

What no longer is...

Today would have been my mother-in-law's 75th birthday. It's hard to know what to feel when the calendar serves up a day like today. What was once an occasion to celebrate is now an occasion to wonder about what, and who, we no longer have.

My wife was, and is, the kind of daughter every parent would want. The same traits that make her such an amazing wife and mother also make her something of a dream child. When her mom was sick, she was making the trip between London and Montreal, often not knowing what she'd find on the other end. Even from our home here, she managed to be more there than anything else, and that didn't change after we returned home from the funeral. To this day, she's there for her dad - on the phone, cooking for him, being a constant presence in his life. She has always willingly taken on the responsibility, worn it with grace, and has in doing so taught our own kids important lessons in doing the right things for those who matter.

And yet, every year will bring these days back to us whether we want them or not. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Any other special milestone. There's no escaping the numbing routine of days whose protagonists are no longer with us, no way to avoid the sting of dredged-up memory. I wish I had the answer, but yet again I'm reminded of how powerless we are to stop the process from playing out around us.

As bittersweet as this cyclical experience can be, I suspect it would be even worse if we hadn't had something - indeed, someone - to lose in the first place. I'd rather grieve over a lost life than live without ever having made these connections at all. It's a lesson my wife learned well from her parents, and it's a lesson I now learn from her.

1 comment:

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

"Without pain, the joy in life won't show."

I have never quite figured out what to do with those days. I hope you and your wife found a way to celebrate your mother-in-law.