Last week my family got on the road from Texas to Illnois to say our final goodbyes to my beautiful mother in law (MIL)…my husband, Bryan’s, mom. Though it was a sad occassion, we were excited about seeing our families.
When I think about my 25+ year relationship with Carol as my MIL, the word that first comes to mind is easy. I know people who have had, or cuurently have, strained and contentious relationships with their MILs or in laws. I’ve never had that with Carol. It’s been an easy relationship.
What I’ve loved about Carol since I met her is she enjoyed sharing family stories of how Bryan grew up. In fact, she was always sharing information. I appreciated that very much because it helped me with perspective on why Byran was the way he was, especially earlier on in our marriage.
Carol was also very warm and nurturing. She was the epitome of the family matriarch. Like my mom, Solange, who passed away in 2017, Carol was a worrier and it seemed to get worse the older she got. I wished both of them could be free of all that worrying.
Carol loved her family and I know she loved me. Though it was sad we all gathered for her homegoing, this weekend was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had with Bryan’s side of the family in a long time. We gathered at an aunt’s house after the funeral on Friday for the repass and again on Saturday at an uncle’s house.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching my children playing with their cousins, especially my son, Caleb. It was too many cousins to keep count, especially the little ones. They were all over Caleb. They were fighting over who was next to ride on his back. They also enjoyed toppling over him.
On Saturday evening, we spent time over my second oldest sister, Gina’s house with my other sinblings and our children, helping celebrate niece’s birthday (Gina’s youngest daughter). Since my mom passed away, my siblings and I have been intentional about seeing each other more and staying connected.
My other niece (my oldest sister, Mylene’s daughter) had her first baby, Serenity, a month ago. I fell in love with that little tiny angel. Serenity would be my mom’s first great grand baby.
I’m still processing the beauty and genuine positive vibes of spending time with both sides of our family on this short trip. Bryan and I have experienced both of our parent’s passing away. We were talking about being orphans in a way. Our parents’ loss reminds us of how crucial it is for us to remain connected to our families because life is so short.
Like my mom, Solange, Carol’s grand children and great grand children are the legacy she left here on earth. She passed on her love for family, taking care of people, and actually being loving. She didn’t judge. She just loved and sometimes that may have been to a fault because she never put herself first. And all of her family benefited from her selflessness.
As Carol’s daughter in law, I was a recipient of her love and of the love she poured into raising Bryan. I want the love to keep flowing and growing so my children can have that love fill them up, especially on days where they may feel alone, sad, or whatever.
I will work on being an even better nurturer because of Carol’s example. I will do my part to ensure her legacy makes her proud.