Missing a mother-in-law

Marty was a remarkable woman.

Born in Guam to an Army family, Tracy’s mom was the middle of three girls and often said that her Daddy was made to have daughters.  She always spoke adoringly of his great love for them; it was always clear how well he had raised them to be ladies who could take care of themselves.  She had a tremendous love for her family and her country, and she expressed those loves through loyalty, selflessness, attentiveness, and a passionate devotion to what she believed right for each.  She had an eager laugh and a comfortable humor, and she loved making people feel at home.  One never felt inadequate or low around her, and even when she disagreed with someone, she never insulted or demeaned the person.  She was a wonderful mother-in-law.

It was three years ago today that we lost her.  She’d been living with us for about six weeks, brought home by Tracy right after the cancer was confirmed.  Tracy had known it was terminal as soon as she’d seen the X-ray, but she prayed fervently for healing; God had other plans and brought her home to Him instead.  Her daughters were by her side, giving back the love and comfort she’d so long nurtured in them.

Those six weeks were such a blessing.  Given her devotion to America, it was no surprise that she cared deeply about its politics, and she and I had butted heads often over ideas, ideals, and candidates.  I always felt we disagreed more in degree and application than in outlook, but I could never seem to assure her of that.  In those last six weeks, though, those debates just weren’t important anymore, and I’ll always be grateful for the talks we had instead.

Talks about family, love, and faith.  About how much she believed in and supported our following God’s call to help others in Christ’s name, and how important He was in her heart.  About the peace and joy she had, and about ways that we could offer her a little more, like arranging a gift for someone or simply bringing her a little more broth and rearranging her blanket or pillow.  About how pleased she was by what she saw in me as her daughter’s husband, her grandkids’ father, and her son-in-law; nothing could have been more meaningful or treasured.

Karen was just 7, and Billy was not quite 5 while their grandmother stayed with us.  Karen loved going in and talking to her.  Billy preferred to just take his toys into her room and be near her.  Marty loved the time with them and talked about so much that she saw in each.

It was a cherished time of passing along blessings, easing sorrow, and leaving memories.  What a legacy she left for those she loved so well.



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