The wind has been taken out of our sail….

So as mother’s day comes I always have been in mind of those who do not have their mom.  It is a hard thing. It doesn’t matter if the relationship between you and your mom was the worst on the planet, everybody needs their mom. Outside of Christmas, this time of the year is one of the most hardest times for people.  This year to our surprise we are dealing with the same.  My mother in law passed this past November and it seemed as if life has most definitely changed.

My husband is going to experience his first mother’s day without his mom.  Today I need to put my thoughts to paper and honor her at the same time.  When she passed it happened so fast. There was no moments to breath.  She got sick just about a few days after her birthday in July and never really returned home outside of maybe a day or two. During this time the kids were in the middle, too young to understand but wanting to know why they couldn’t see their mom mom when they wanted to.  Regardless of past times when our relationship was rocky I prided myself on always keeping an open door with her concerning the kids.  If her and the kids requested to see her we made it happen.  This was in addition to regular visits and daily phone calls.  We lived together for quite some time.  As with any mother in law and daughter in law relationship the struggle to be in charge was there.  Its hard in my opinion for two women to live under one room.  Our common ground was always the kids.  If she wanted to do something for the kids as long as it didn’t go against their diet as far as their allergies I was okay with it. She always forgot what they could an couldn’t eat.  She wanted to be able to give them anything and everything she had.  Sometimes it was my need to assert that I was there mom in the way.  Other times it was the “you live here” that got in the way.

Her love for her son was unmatched.  Often times the thin line between separating the relationship of him as a son and him as a father and husband seemed to be the issue if ever there was.  However she loved her son and he loved her.  He is an only child.  We meaning my friends and I and his friends always made fun of him because of it.  He would be the poster boy for the picture perfect momma’s boy.  He hated the term.  He in his mind wanted to be the boy who loved his momma instead.  He was there for her.  She had been sick for quite some time off and on and thus it prevented him in ways from moving away after he graduated college.  She needed him.  So as someone who was fully aware of their relationship before marriage I knew what to expect.  There were conversations between he and I about what I expected in a relationship.  It was never a thing for me to interfere with theirs.  They had their own challenges.  Often times even she wanted my opinion on why he wasn’t as close to her at times.  I remained the same, staying out of it. You know things go, if I speak up on something I would become the bad person and I had went through that once.  I am a quick learner so I quickly hit stage left in the middle of their arguments.  She and I had our trying times.  When we moved out it got much better. It took me some time to visit.  I needed space and I needed it to be on my terms.  I needed time to restore the peace and I wanted it to be because I wanted to come not because I felt obligated.  She felt like I should have just come just because she requested and she was right in some regards. However I needed it to come from a good place and not forced.  I do not and still do not feel that relationships with people should come from title alone.  Love and respect have tobe mutal and sometimes respect earned from both parties to make it work.  You can’t love someone you don’t respect.

In spite of it all, the time apart paid off.  I found we texted more often.  She called more often.  She asked me to come over usually to do stuff but in that she opened up more. It was a relationship forming.  As she got sicker and had to be in and out of the hospital I stepped up as a daughter in law making sure the doctors were doing what they said.  I even almost came to blows with one doctor.  My thing was making sure she had the same treatment as my own mother.  No one wants to be mistreated in hospitals and nursing homes.  During this transition I did what I always did in the background, let marques be a son.  It was his season to do so.  He needed to be there for her.  His job and his family became secondary.  I would have it no other way.  As I look back it was the best thing. Had I put pressure on him he would regret me.  He is already dealing with enough my antics wasn’t needed and I gave him none.  She needed him and in those moments I just watched.  I tried not to ask too many questions.  Just not stressing him was what he needed.  On the faithful day that she took her last breath, I had gotten to the room and had some alone time with her before others arrived.  She and I just talked a week before alone.  She planned to make my favorite meal, pepper steak when she got home.  She wanted me to get the kids Christmas gifts too.  She wanted me to plan a trip to Disney World.  She laid it out there. However at this one on one moment she no longer could tell me what she wanted.  I sat quiet because I had no idea what I was supposed to say.  I just kept telling her that I would look over her son and grandkids.  I told her that I loved her. I was glad that she and I had a really long talk the week before and said love you to each other.  She told me that I wasn’t the issue.  She just wanted to be included and felt like she wouldn’t be and that she and I can talk about what boundaries she would agree on. That was her way of saying let’s make it better.  I took notes, but sadly I watched scared to death as she took her last breath holding my husbands hands that got weak.  I am afraid of death.  I don’t even go to funerals like I probably should.  But I was there.  I still see images of the whole thing unfolding.  However it was peaceful even though it was hard.

At the funeral the part that broke me was that my son who is and was super close to her had been out-of-pocket all morning.  When they wheeled her out of the church he screams somebody get me my mom mom.  I broke.  I was trying to be strong for the house but in that moment reality set in.  The woman who wanted to be there for everything was gone.  My world was changing.  I felt guilty too.  My mom was at the funeral sitting what felt like forever away from me and I wanted and needed her.  I couldn’t calm my son.  He was besides himself and rightfully so.  I ran to my own mother. I just needed to hold her.  I felt bad and still do for my husband.  He is doing as well as he can be these days.  This year I plan on going to my moms the day before so I can be there for him all day Sunday.  I pray that although his lost is great that he will find comfort in knowing that he did all he could for her.  He was there for her.  He loved her and she loved him.  I pray peace and love in his heart this year.

My family and when I say that I mean my immediate family the ones I live with have been hurting since she left.  We know she’s in our hearts but there are times when thing happen and we remember that she would have loved to be there.  We remember she would have had something to say about whatever was going on.  I haven’t taken her number and name out of my phone. Sometimes it comes up when I go to call my own mom.  Her influence in my life will never go away.  I have shared tears, arguments, food, and living space with someone.  I love her and I miss her.

Here are the lessons I learned from my mother in law,

  1. Bills-Pay them on time and keep accurate records.  When I tell you as we went through the things that were left behind she kept her bills from the 90s.  She was always calling making sure she watched every coin that left her account.  She made sure her money was together.
  2. Love-she loved her son and when she passed it was like she passed the torch to me. She showed me what it was really like.  When I leave my kids daily I am more careful of the interactions I have with them. I go above to make sure I say I love them and give hugs and kisses.  I want that if I should not return for their last memories of me to be that of a loving mother, not a mother who was too busy.  My husband’s mom worked for 40 years at Social Security and as a single mom, she still made time and everyone around her knew her son was her pride and joy.
  3. She was strong-although she may have been wrong she was strong in her convictions.  If she believed it was so, she made sure that others knew it too.  I doubt there was anyone in the family who didn’t know where she stood.  Even the ones who may have to say hey that don’t make sense, they knew she wasn’t changing her mind that easily.
  4. Family-she believed in it. This one is a struggle for me.  She knew when people were using her, or if and when others wouldn’t drop everything for her when she needed it but she still was there.  She talked often about doing for her family and how she just wanted everyone to get together more.  She loved family.  I admired that about her.  I had a hard time opening up and letting others in.  It’s usually had to do with once I do and then they do something to hurt me I would push them away so I wouldn’t feel that way again.  She always put herself out there regardless.
  5. Worry-she was one that worried a lot.  Watching her having all kinds of desires that she wanted to happen let me know now to stop putting things off until another day. She wanted to get a new car, travel, and she was retired.  A large part was her health that held her back.  Sometimes it was just thinking if she did for herself in one area it would cause another issue in another area.  She always told me not to do that.

As this Mother’s Day comes along, the memory of Deborah Ann Wilson-Storr shines bright.  For that I honor her!!  Happy Mother’s Day in heaven and thank you for leaving love here on Earth in Marques and your grandkids!!

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