Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Remembering my Sweet Mother-in-Law


I must admit that I have been a horrible blogger...so here is my official apology. I have so much fun reading other's blogs that I run out of time, with the othe 100 things I do on a weekly basis, writing posts for my own. I do the same with scrapbooking...I love to do it, but I have trouble finding the time and motivation to get it started. Some people are wonderful starteres but horrbile at finishing...I have just the opposite problem. I wont even start if I dont feel like I can finish strong...just the perfectionist in me.
But I cant think of no better way to start my blog back up than with the post Im about to make. See today is my 29th birthday...thanks for all the well wishes...my husband was working all day so we celebrated yesterday. My sweet little boy kept singing "Happy Birthday to My Mamma" all day. But the balloons they gave me were all "his":) I just love him. Anyway thats not why this is a great way to start back...the reason is because this day is not just my birthday, but also my precious mother-in-law's who passed away July 5th of this year (I always thought is was so neat that we shared the same birthday)! This post is dedicated to her life here on earth and the many people she touched and changed forevermore.
You see...many women I know, good friends included, do not really like their mother-in-law...yes they grin and bear it for their husband's sake, but inside they really dont understand nor want to understand their minlaw. I can honestly say that has never been the case for me. God blessed me with a great one. I can remember the first time we met. I had heard a lot of great things from my husband, who was very close to her; the very same things I hope my boys say to their future wives. When we met, she truly was the person he had made her out to be. She was so sweet, so gentle, and so compassionate. A very funny thing happened the night we met...my husband, who was my fiance at the time, was keeping our honeymoon destination a secret. She was so excited and nervous to meet me that she totally spilled the beans. She said, "so Kelly are you excited about Hawaii"? My husband was not very happy, but we were both very understanding...Im glad she got to be the one to tell me. From the moment we met, we totally hit it off. Up until the time she passed, when introducing me to friends or one of her many nurses, she would say this is my daughter-in-law, Kelly...we fell in love at first sight:) Just one of the many ways she made me feel the love she had for me. And it was truly love at first sight.

Shortly after my husband and I marrried (5 months exactly), my minlaw was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer. Her surgery to remove the tumor caused major damage to her lungs (probably from an infection). So she was fighting two insurmountable illnesses that were sure to take her back at that point. I can remember one doctor sitting my huband and myself down and telling us she had a "double 0 chance of living". Heartbreaking, heartwrenching words for us to hear. I had never seen a man so broken as my husband was during that time, and of course as his new wife, I hurt not only for my sweet min law, but also for him and the family, her husband and one daughter, Kelly. We prayed that God would send a miracle and heal her body. The prayer was answered in that she was allowed to spend 4 more years here on earth. The testimony of His faitfulness was shouted from the rooftops as my minlaw was released from the hospital where she was never supposed to leave. The next 4 years of her life were probably the hardest, but also the most significant years she had ever lived (I think she would vouch for this as well).
Her relationships, which were the most important part of her life, became even more meaningful. She was a woman who loved her family, her friends, and most importantly her God. And she was not afraid to tell anyone. Whether it was a stranger she met while waiting for Chemo treatments or a friend she had known for years, when she talked about those close to her, there was no mistaking that she radiated a love for them like none I have seen. She was so proud of her family... she smiled from ear to ear when she was able to tell people that her son was working in the ministry; she loved her daughter so very deeply and stood by her side no matter the circumstances. She was truly supportive of her children and would be there for them in a New York minute. My husband likes to say he could have committed murder and she wold go down fighting in his defense:) She got to enjoy many great events during those last 4 years, one being the birth of Carsten. She was so excited the day we told them the news of our pregnancy. We even found a calendar where she had written down all of our doctor's visits, ultrasounds, and any little tidbits I shared with her about his upcoming arrival. I didnt even do this. But this goes to show how involved she desired to be in the life of her own children. When Carsten was born on Sept. 30th, 2006, she was unable to be here physically, but she was here in spirit. She got to hear over the phone the first cries of her sweet baby grandson and this truly delighted her. She loved the fact that he looked so much like her own son...I think every time she was around Carsten, it took her back to the sweet times she had with Scott as he was growing up. She would say "he reminds me so much of Scott when he was that age", with a twinkle in her eye. She loved our little boy so much and that made my love for her go even deeper. See, when I had Carsten, I developed an even greater appreciation of my minlaw. I remember looking at Carsten (and still do) and thinking I can totally relate to my minlaw and the admiration, fondness, and adoration she has for her own son. Even if she had not been all the wonderful things she had been to me, this one fact, that she birthed my husband, would have made all the difference in the world in our relationship. I now tell people that if my son ever and I mean ever gets married, that I will be best friends with his wife..:) something that I can say happened between my minlaw and myself. Maybe that was her goal from the very beginning:)
The day she died was one of the saddest days in the lives of her family, but one of the most glorious days for her. See she had prepared to meet her maker from a young age, but it wasnt until those 4 years of being sick that she really yearned to meet Him in a very personal way. When she spoke of the Lord, she spoke of his goodness in her life (something that would be hard for anyone in her position). She spoke of his kindness, his faithfulness, his amazing grace, his love over her life, etc. She could not get enough of her God. She loved His Word so very much and at times devoured every single line of it as if it was her very daily bread. It sustained her, brought joy to her soul, and gave her strength for even the toughest of days. She was a fighter in spirit, even as her physical body gave way to this temporal life. This is what made her struggle with cancer a unique one. Never did I hear her murmur or complain against the Lord...she loved him with all her heart, soul, strength, and mind. She knew her "slight and momentary afflictions was preparing an eternal wight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinth 4:17) And that is what she lived her life for.
Her funeral was very much a mile marker for me in my own life. Funerals really do tell a lot about a person's life, more so than we could ever realize. And her spoke volumes of who she was. My very brave husband spoke at her funeral...you know you've married a man of all men when he can get up at his own mother's funeral and speak without completely falling apart...not that there were not tears shed, but he so unswervingly believed that she was not just in a "better place" but the "best place", that he could stand in confidence and give an account of his mother's life to all that were present. One of the things that I heard over and over that day and the days to follow was her compassion, love and unselfishness to all those she came in contact with, especially her family. See it wasnt the many diplomas she earned or didn't, it wasnt the job promotions or lack thereof, it wasnt how many "things" she acquired or didn't that set her life a part. It was the love she had for others, and the faith she had in her God. In a superficial, very competitive world, we (myself included) lose sight of the things that are most important, and strive towards the things that have nothing to do with our eternal life and the glory thereof. We become consumed with how we look, how we are perceived, and how we can have a "better life now". But all of these things bring a quick, temporary happiness...one that leaves us void and only wanting more. What I learned (and still a very hard lesson) from my minlaw will forever be with me. All of these things pale in comparison to the greatness of knowing God and deeply, truly loving the people he has placed in our lives. She lived a life worth emulating and I forever will be changed because of God blessing me with her. She has made me want to love my husband, children, friends, and God in a greater, more passionate way.

I miss her so badly...to see her again on this earth would only leave me yerning for one more day. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will be untied once and for all. Here's to her life and the way she touched so many.

4 comments:

The Bishop Fam said...

Kelly that was such a wonderful post. Your MIL sounds like such loving lady that anyone would have been lucky to have met while she was here on earth. I am proud to say that I also have an amazing MIL. I think it is great that the two of you share the same B-day. What a great way to remember her! Happy belated B-day! How is everything coming along with your pregnancy?

The Jones' said...

Beautiful post Kelly- thanks for sharing your mother in law, your faith, and most importantly our awesome God with your readers. Hope you are feeling well. Oh and I think Carsten looks like a Cherry too!

maryanne420 said...

hi kelly,

how's the pregnancy going? i wanted to thank you for this post as i, too, am blessed with a wonderful MIL. what a tribute you gave her on this post. i'm so glad that she got to see/spend time with carsten before going home to her Savior.

The Neipling's~Chad, Stephanie and Graham said...

Kelly, that was such an awesome post and has left me in tears! What a wonderful person to have in your life and how incredibly blessed you all are. Happy belated birthday!