I got some sad news this morning. My former mother-in-law…my children’s grandmother…had passed away after a long illness. I haven’t seen the family for many years now, as happens when couples divorce. But even removed from the sadness and mourning by miles and years, when my daughter told me her Nana had died, I cried.
My ex-husband and I have had a notoriously adversarial relationship, but for the first time in years, I felt a deep compassion for him. And the family I was once very much a part of was at the forefront of my thoughts as I went about my day. I was grateful that my children were with them, having traveled to New York to be with their grandmother at the end. It’s important for family to be together in moments like this.
But what about those, like me, who were once family? We still mourn the loss in our own way.
I thought about my ex-husband’s mother all day. I remembered her smile and her laugh. She was the epitome of elegance, always dressed impeccably in beautiful clothes and jewelry, with her hair done and make-up expertly applied. When I first married into the family, she would sit on her bed with me and show me all the jewelry she had collected over the years. She let me try things on like a little girl. She shared old family recipes with me. It was her mother’s wedding ring I wore while married to her son. She was truly one of the classiest women I’ve ever known.
So…I may not have been her daughter-in-law today. I wasn’t part of her family when she passed…but once upon a time, for fifteen years…I was. And the memories I carry of her will stay with me. Family or not.
Until the next time…I’ll be remembering a wonderful lady.