She moved the other day, wrapping up almost twenty four years here beside us. She lived on an acre of land which originally belonged to their farm. ( now ours)
She had been given the name... grandma beside us.
After seven years of widowhood, she moved to live with her only daughter and family.
A resignation of independence in many ways and ready, but not ready.
Are we ever really ready for those things that force us from our comfort zone?
Although still in great health, the unanimous decision by the family was made that at 83, living alone poses some concerns.
I ponder the dynamics in our relationship. How they seemed to have changed over the years.
How her interest in my(our) lives had at first felt invasive... but then somehow caring and thoughtful.
We were not your typical daughter/mother in law. We shared an unspoken bond and common similarities sprinkled with vast differences but we accepted each other, and understood one another in ways we never verbalised.
She lived far enough away that we had independent lives. She lived close enough to us to be an integral part of our lives.
Now I drive by in the evening and I don't see her at the table doing word search.
The house is dark, deserted and lonely. An abode filled with memories.
Mourning the woman who grew old in body; but whose mind and spirit remained youthful, knowing happiness is homemade and comes through serving others.
(one of the numerous quilts she stitched)
I remember a conversation recently with my family when we were eating dinner out at a restaurant. My children asked if I could rewind time; which time, (in their lives) would I choose?
Hmm, I remember the sweet days of their childhood. Oh the simplicity, innocence and wonder...the problems and hurts that could be solved with a kiss and a hug.
"no" I could not go back there. It is the present that is beautiful... the NOW that isn't finished.
A piece of art; to be appreciated in the collection of memories.
( I took these cuttings from her plant named baby tears...)
Recollection brings out beauty. In my mind I see her, my mother in law in the window waving. Every morning she would watch for the school bus and wave to my children and whoever noticed her there. A steadfast and moving portrayal of life.
A wave, the stages and our days; then we move on to the next phase.
Each one brief and bittersweet.
I pick up her mail that has not yet changed address. She loved mail. I guess when you live alone and your days are long and lonely, mail is that bright spot...that needed diversion. I start a pile to take to her when we visit. Something that will no longer be spontaneous, but a conscious choice and an event.
I sit here and think about change, and it's constant rhythm, the continuous surrender that must be embraced if we expect to live lives brimming with joy.
I know my mother in law will adjust to her new surroundings, I know eventually it will feel like home...
I know my heart will cease to have pangs at her absence.
I know we will sort her left over belongings, and look forward to new neighbours.
Spring will bring robins and flowers will begin a new circle of life.
Though much is taken; much abides.