A lot has happened in the month plus that it's been since I last posted. I have neglected my blog before when life events pick up to the point that I have no down time for reflecting online, but this was different.
My mother in law Carol had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer about 2.5 years ago. Since she was still with us for the .5, that was bonus time. The projected life expectancy for someone diagnosed with the disease is 2 years. Still, we all had hoped that she would be the happy ending and that this was a blip in life. A long, terrible fight of a blip, but something that we would try not to talk about and could hardly believe happened when it was 20 years down the line and we were all gathered for a holiday or family event. Unfortunately, that's not how the story played out.
Carol lost her fight with cancer on February 21st.
When a family loses a mother/ grandmother, it leaves a very big space. This is especially true of Carol's absence. After about a week of being relieved that her fight was over and there was no more pain left for her, we started to feel that space. We know logically that the pain of the loss will lessen over time, and that we'll be left with all of the happy memories to focus on versus the thoughts of time ahead that will be missed out on. My husband is being amazingly brave after having one of his pillars pulled out from under him. But honestly, it's all been very hard for a very long time. Anyone who has a loved one that's gone through a long fight with any health problem knows that.
But, instead of focusing on the pain and the loss, I'm trying to focus on the amazing lady that I knew. She was in my life since I have been with Davey (1998), which is about 1/3 of my life so far. She was one of the most kind hearted, helpful, supportive people that I have ever met. She was no push over and would let her opinion be known but was never argumentative or unnecessarily critical. She had excellent style and always surrounded herself with lovely things. She was incredibly generous and did her best to be sure that her sons and their families had as much of those things as she could give to us as well. She had been a model, a florist, a real estate agent, an interior decorator, a store owner, and a teacher (I'm sure that I'm missing a few things too). She had travelled the world and had volunteered with a dentist who went to Guatemala. She went in an administrative capacity, but after they were flooded with people in desperate situations, she was put to the task of pulling teeth (with probably 5 minutes of dental training). I was shocked when she told me this, and she just said, "These people needed help, I had the tool to help them. You couldn't not do it." She was an amazing daughter to her parents, going to their house multiple times a week and making sure that they had everything that they needed and wanted, including company. She was a model (literally) as well as figuratively- of a person who always did her best, tried her best, and loved her best.
And when the impulse strikes to call her or tell her something, and the knowledge of her passing immediately follows- we're choosing to focus on her presence in our presence, and on how lucky we were to know such a great person.