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Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? 
Aug. 23, 2011 3:40 pm 
Updated: Feb. 9, 2012 5:09 pm
Early Saturday morning my mother-in-law passed from this life.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it caught us totally by surprise.  She was 90, almost blind, almost completely deaf, and a very frail 60-something pounds.  She had been asking on a daily basis how much longer it’d be before she said adios, saying that people just lived too long.
Since her passing, I’ve found myself devastated.  For most of the 50 years of our life “together,” I didn’t even like her.  In fact, many times I put it in even much harsher terms.  So why has this hit me so hard?
My own mother passed this life a lost girl in a 90-year-old body, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.  A gentle soul, she stayed sweet to the end.  She wandered the hallway of Sunshine Terrace trying to figure out when her long-lost husband would come back and how on earth she was going to feed all these people!  I really didn’t know my mother very well.  In fact, she once wrote me a note telling me that whenever I listened to Bach’s Piano Concerto (a favorite of mine) to understand that that’s when our minds were simpatico.  She apologized for not really getting to know me.  That was in 1965, just after my husband and I moved away to California.  She offered her opinions to me only in the context of food.  We visited often, and I know I was a comfort to her.  I know we loved each other.
Now my mother-in-law was quite the opposite!  She injected her opinion in every way possible, especially when I least wanted to hear it.  It was difficult for me to accept in the early years of my marriage and our early child-rearing days.  Oh, she could be brutal and hurtful, and then she’d turn around and shock you with her generosity, always of the monetary sort.  She did not like to hug anyone or be touched by anyone, and I never heard her say words of comfort.  She only told my husband recently that she loved him, though he knew she did.  Why were those words so hard for her to say?
I grew up in an age when women were supposed to know their place.  We were supposed to stand to the side and back a little of our menfolk, while always being in charge of everything.  That wasn’t an easy task when you worked full time.  So I left home from a place where I had to figure out everything on my own without guidance into close proximity to a woman who told me everything to do.  She could routinely sweep her eyes over my house to hurumph over a dustball she could find in the corner of the kitchen.  So I had to learn to clean.  I needed to learn to iron.  I needed to learn to be skilled at many things.  I learned from her how to become self-sufficient.  And so because of her I learned to grow up.
I finally was taught by a wise counselor to accept the things I could not change (don’t you love The Serenity Prayer?).  I forgave my mom because she did all she was equipped to do.  It took me longer to forgive my mother-in-law, but I did.  She actually grew to love me; I’m sure of that, though she never expressed it to me.  But she depended on me for many things, and that takes trust.  I’m sure to her that trust meant love.  And so I grew to love her, too.
As I age, I can only hope my daughter, my son, my daughter-in-law, and my beautiful granddaughters can understand that I’ve done what I am capable of, too.  I love them dearly and hope I’ve taught them lessons of life as I know it.  And I’ll never stop telling them all how much I dearly love them.  I learned all I know because of these two women who loved me.
Aug. 23, 2011 3:50 pm
Oh Marianne - this is so insightful and so well written. It amazing what different people teach us - even the cranky bossy kind. I am sorry for your loss and thankful that your Mother in Law is at peace. It's a mixed bag isn't it? I am quite sure she loved you dearly.
Aug. 23, 2011 3:56 pm
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!" I just saw this a moment ago - timely, I think. (((hugs)))
Aug. 23, 2011 3:59 pm
Thanks, Baking Nana! There is truly an empty space in my heart and soul today. My hubby was just saying a week or so ago, "How can one little 60-pounder cause so much havoc?" And now he wishes he had that havoc back.
Aug. 23, 2011 4:09 pm
We felt much the same way when my father passed. I am blessed that I came to terms with him - I had a sense of understanding. He was 88 years old and about 88 lbs and I swore he could still rule the roost. My eldest brother never did understand - never could accept and forgive. It is his loss - and you know what? He is just like our father. :) Shhhh - don't tell him though! :)
Aug. 23, 2011 4:13 pm
Isn't that just how it goes? You could never make your brother understand, either. Sad.
Aug. 23, 2011 4:39 pm
I am so sorry for the loss of your MIL and the gift of kindness she was unable to share with those she loved. It is always sad to look back and see what might have been. I hope the good memories are the ones that carry you and your husband forward. My deepest sympathies to you both.
Aug. 23, 2011 4:51 pm
Thank you, Marie. Yes, the good memories will be the ones to be kept in our hearts. She was a character to remember--bigger than life.
Aug. 23, 2011 4:52 pm
We call the stories the Grandma Mary Stories.
Aug. 23, 2011 7:16 pm
My sympathies Marianne. I too had a MIL that always meant well, but managed to grate on the nerves, and I also had Lillian stories. She always looked to me as a daughter since I had married her only child. Long distance hug, Marianne...
Aug. 23, 2011 7:38 pm
Thank you, Magnolia! I remember us talking a bit about that in Vegas.
Aug. 23, 2011 7:39 pm
So very sorry for your loss, Marianne. I always thought it was tragic when young people lose a parent, but as we get older, I think we know more about what the loss means, and feel it just as deeply. We are now older,,, and presumably wiser, and we understand what the loss will mean to us. Blessings to you as you walk down this path.
Aug. 23, 2011 7:50 pm
Thanks, Chris. Your words are so appropriate, with the operative words being "presumably wiser." :)
Aug. 23, 2011 8:49 pm
Aw, Marianne, you described so well the many ways your irascible MIL touched your life and made you the woman you are. Of course you miss her. I'm so sorry for your loss and yet so glad that you two grew to appreciate one another.
Aug. 23, 2011 9:44 pm
I so feel your pain. As a nurse, I spent many years with, as you so aptly put it, "lost" souls, who tore at my heart. Many of them were so confused, wondering where their mother was... Now my own mother is 86, but thankfully, no Alzheimer's. However, I miss her terribly since she has moved in with my (wealthy) sister in Hawaii, rather than live in The Dalles, OR. I miss her every day. Glad I can say it here. Thank you, Marianne, for reminding all of us how precious our mothers are.
Aug. 23, 2011 10:46 pm
Very beautifully written, Marianne. This makes me reflect on my own life, the women in my life, and how I chose to raise our boys. Thank you for this.
Aug. 24, 2011 2:38 am
Marianne...this is a beautiful and insightful tribute to both your mothers. It is evident that your MIL came to love you though she never knew how to tell you. After all...you are a very lovable woman. It is apparent that she taught you many lessons. I know my very selfish MIL taught me to be a loving and generous MIL. I guess the best thing we can learn from difficult people is to not be difficult. I wish you and your husband peace and healing at the loss of one of the most precious humans in our lives....our mothers. Warmest aloha from Maui XO
Aug. 24, 2011 4:35 am
Thank you, lucylove---the word irascible is perfect! Valorie, the "lost" souls teach us what they remember most, don't they! Redneck, this has been a time of reflection and tears. Mauigirl, you are so right on about teaching us to not be difficult. Thanks, all, for the sentiments.
Aug. 24, 2011 7:00 am
Marianne, cherish the good times and good memories you had with your MIL. Sadly to say there were way too few good times or good memories of my MIL. My husband was an only child of her and his Dad. She had two children by a previous marraige. She never showed any kind of affection toward my husband or my children and for sure not me. She died a lonely death in a nursing home.
Aug. 24, 2011 7:44 am
Beautifully written Marianne! I am so sorry for your loss. I do believe your mother and mother in law loved you in their own ways. I think its wonderful that you were able to learn a lesson from them both and turn it into something positive. And I am quite sure your granddaughters know just how much you love them! If only by all the pictures you have of them. :) Take care Marianne!
Aug. 24, 2011 8:25 am
Char, I guess that mostly what goes around comes around. We were so grateful that she was able to mostly live on her own (with a little caregiver assistance in the afternoon). I hope your husband learned to deal with this.
Aug. 24, 2011 8:26 am
K-Dub, you are right about those pictures! I know those girls knew my voice from before they were born! Thank you for your sentiment!
Aug. 24, 2011 8:29 am
This is beautifully written Marianne. I am so touched.
Aug. 24, 2011 9:40 am
Thank you, Valerie. It was therapeutic on my part.
Aug. 24, 2011 10:06 am
Oh Marianne, I am so sorry for your loss. Beautiful, thought-provoking post. I, too, had to let go of some things about my MIL before and after she passed, yet later I still felt guilty by the hidden animosity I had felt toward her during those tough times. I think I buried a lot of emotions in dealing with her that eventually had to bubble up! Anyway, my sympathy to you and your family... ((HUGS))
Aug. 24, 2011 10:11 am
Thanks, Christine. It just makes you know what kind of a mil you want to be. I appreciate your thoughts.
Aug. 24, 2011 11:49 am
Well-said! I agree with Christine. It is good you were blessed with gifts from both women, and have lavished love on your grandchildren.
Aug. 24, 2011 11:58 am
Marianne, This was absolutely beautiful! I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. (((hugs)))
Aug. 24, 2011 1:50 pm
I am sorry for your loss, Marianne. Thank you for being able to share your story in such a thoughtfully written way. You reminded me of my Mom and MIL, both gone from breast cancer. Again, I am sorry for the loss both you and your husband have suffered.
Aug. 24, 2011 2:45 pm
Mamaw, they certainly do get lavished on! Thank you so much, Christina! Cat Hill, how hard that is to lose two like that. Thanks, everyone, for the thoughts.
Aug. 24, 2011 2:47 pm
Marianne, I'm so moved and so sorry for your (and your DH's) loss. BTW, I love you ((((hugs))))
Aug. 24, 2011 3:16 pm
Marianne, so sorry for your loss. That was beautiful written and really struck a chord with me. Thank you for sharing it.
Aug. 24, 2011 3:25 pm
I'm so sorry for your loss. ISn't is amazing how we come to understand our mothers and the other women who shaped who we became. My mother passed away when I was 22 and I'm sad to say it barely mattered because we were so distant from each other. I had known my MIL since I was 13 and always loved her. Like yours, she taught me how to be a wife, mother, homemaker and adult woman. When she passed I was devastated and very guilty because I hadn't ever felt that way about my own mother. You have written a beautiful tribute to both your mothers and I know your daughters and grandaughters know exactly how much you love them.
Aug. 24, 2011 3:59 pm
LadySparkle, I love you, too! Michelle, there are probably many for whom it struck a chord. Sad in a way, isn't it! BigShotsMom, at least you knew someone to love like that. Thanks for your words.
Aug. 25, 2011 4:00 am
Marianne, thank you for sharing your love letter with us. Your relationship is very similar to the one I had with my dear MIL in that it started off pretty rocky but it got better. By the time of her death, I realized that she was my greatest fan, and I sorely miss that, now. Like you, I came to understand that there were things in her personality that would not change, but the gifts she gave me were priceless. My mother was practical and down to earth, and MIL was a true Southern Belle who would delay dinner an hour or more because she wanted to visit with everyone and hadn't started the roast. She grew roses, and once when we visited, there was nothing in the refrigerator but vases of roses! I learned to arrange flowers, to set a beautiful table, to be adventurous in cooking, and to care about being "well turned out". I only wish I had the chance to let her know how much I appreciated her. I think I was just too young to understand that love is spoken in different ways in different families! Beautiful, thought-provoking post. Thanks again!
Aug. 25, 2011 6:06 am
Your account of your MIL is beautiful, Bibi. We come in all sorts of styles, don't we?
Aug. 25, 2011 7:50 am
Marianne, I am sorry for your loss. This is very well written. Your insight into people is amazing. Thank you for making me realize that I too have done all I was able to do. Its funny how sometimes we learn more about people after they die. I think your mother in law must've had some interesting stories.
Aug. 25, 2011 8:01 am
Rosebud, you have no idea about the stories. I hope she won't mind that we talk about her because she did not like talking about dead people. She never talked about her husband, who died in 1983 from ALS.
Aug. 25, 2011 8:49 am
Marianne, What a wonderful tribute to someone you grew to love and value. So often, we can't learn the lessons that you opened yourself to learn and we just remain adversaries. Bless you for being open to caring about your mother-in-law, even when it wasn't easy. Talk about blessed, I had the most incredibly sweet and loving mother-in-law that ever lived. She was always so supportive, never critized, and went out of her way to brag on me to other people. Believe me, I'm not that great, but she made me want to strive to be the person she thought I could be. It's been three years last March since she died and I think of her every day. You know, she gave so much of herself to her family, that it's hard to believe she's gone. I try to be the MIL to my in-law children that she was to me. I bet you're a great MIL! I wish you all peace and comfort at this difficult time.
Aug. 25, 2011 8:52 am
Maxie, how lucky you are! I'm sure you will be just as gracious.
Aug. 25, 2011 10:38 am
Marianne, this was a beautiful tribute to two women who influenced your life in very different ways, but who helped you to become the person you are today. Having met you, I can say the person they helped to mold is truly a wonderful person indeed. You are such a kind, caring soul, so I am quite certain your daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters have no doubt in their minds regarding your love for them.
Aug. 25, 2011 11:24 am
My former husband's mother died recently also. Even though I divorced him, I still considered her my mother-in-law, and she was simply an incredible, one-of-a-kind person. All of us miss her intensely. Hugs to you.
Aug. 25, 2011 12:18 pm
Heartfelt thoughts to you and your husband, Marianne. Your blog is beautiful, and well timed for me. Though I loved my mother deeply, I parented in a totally different way. I also believe people honestly do the best they are capable of and hope my children are as accepting of my shortcomings. Hugs to you.
Aug. 25, 2011 3:04 pm
It amazes me how hard it is for some people who are the closest to you to show affection. I recently had a 94 yr. old client/friend pass away. I only knew him 6 years. We went to lunch every other Tuesday for 6 years and we grew so close. We told each other "love you!" It was so easy. The loss I feel is overwhelming some days..... especially, Tuesdays. Thanks for a great blog, Marianne! You are a doll!
Aug. 25, 2011 3:51 pm
Sorry about your MIL Marianne. I'm so glad I have good relationships with both my 'moms'. It is going to be that much harder when they do pass away. My mom has always been my best friend.
Aug. 25, 2011 4:13 pm
I could have written the same story only not as eloquently as you did. My MIL came love me and accept me after about 12 years andI so enjoyed her after that. She taught me so much. My own mother loved me is the manner she knew. I loved her and miss her every day. I know that you and your husband have many memories to sustain you as you grieve for her. Know that your AR friends share in your sorrow and appreciate you sharing with us.
Aug. 25, 2011 4:39 pm
Beautiful tribute Marianne to both mothers. I was so fortunate to have a loving mother in law and mother both. I miss them both a lot. My husband used to laugh and say if we ever separated he would go to my mother and I would go to his!
Aug. 25, 2011 7:16 pm
Keri, thank you for your thoughts. One can only hope that their family loves them back. Patricia, I'm sorry for your recent loss. I've met a number of people in your boat. Always touching because I've considered my DIL to be mine, too.
Aug. 25, 2011 7:20 pm
Maggi, I always thought I was doing the opposite, but at times I'm not sure if I was or not. There's that thin line one is never sure about. I always thought reading every night to my kids, going to all their events, etc, was a step forward. It doesn't always work that way. Shanon, that sounds like our kids' great grandpa---everyone just loved him to pieces until his passing at 93. He was a real storyteller. Sassy, it's always hard to lose someone, but it makes more sense when they get to live a full life without pain.
Aug. 25, 2011 7:24 pm
Silvergal, oh, man, the stories! And I don't think she had any idea what effect she had on us. All those years of rolling our eyes. Now I can only hope my kids will love us like that, too! Grannygigi, I understand what you are saying. That's why it is so important to be able to share your life with someone, isn't it?
Aug. 25, 2011 8:23 pm
Dear Marianne: Terribly sorry to hear the sad news about your MIL. It's too bad you were not told how VERY Special and Wonderful and Lovable you are by 2 woman who meant the world to you. Women need words, whether from hubbies, friends,children and yes moms-mil's. Before my mother died, I wondered in passing,that if she died, would I love her. Well she Did die not long after and I found out if I loved her. Marianne your Mil doesn't tell you she loves you and mine, 1 day she tells me she loves me and that I am her DD, the next day she calls be a B!tch for trying to give her a bath! It's a toss up which I would prefer at this point. Please know you did the best you could for her. Hugs from my side of town Sugar. This will just give you extra incentive to hug/love those GD's a lot more:) They will Never have to Wonder if their Granny loved them, they will KNOW in spades!! Be well. oxoxoxox, Patty
Aug. 25, 2011 8:35 pm
Geez, Patty, I can totally understand where you come from. Isn't it just a lesson to be learned!?! Thank you for your kindness. I got lots of XOXO's from the little ones today, so I'm well!
Aug. 26, 2011 9:24 am
i have the nice version of your mother in law. i married her only "good" son and because of her he mows 6 yards all summer keeping him out from under my feet while she invites me to drink coffee on the porch when my nerves are shot. she has parkinsons and being im a nurse in the last 5 years ive told her if theres ever a need for someone to take care of her it will be us. she takes care of my husbands 94 year old great aunt who instead of alzheimers is sharp as a tack and a little hard to deal with some days.. i am blessed and you reminded me of that. i hope you feel really good on a day you need it most. well written and thoughtful. ( i think i just reviewed your post, sorry) thanks marianne!
Aug. 26, 2011 10:32 am
Thank you very much, soupisgood. My MIL has three really good kids---she was blessed, for sure!
Aug. 26, 2011 11:15 am
marianne, i'm so sorry ya's loss. my mother was the opposite of yours i guess...very loving, gentle and nuturing. my ma-n-law was a different story. i WAS NOT her idea of the best choice for her eldest daughter. but after 29 years of marriage we agee on many, many things...especially that we want the best for that blushing bride and daughter of hers.
Aug. 26, 2011 12:19 pm
And so, Gary, there was finally a meeting of the minds. You can't ask for better than that! Thanks for your words.
Aug. 26, 2011 2:18 pm
marianne, i don't usually read blogs but the title of this post intrigued me. And i'm sooo glad it caught my eye. My mother is a kind and gentle southern lady. Everyone who knows her loves her. My m-i-l is pretty much the opposite. I needed to read your post today to remember that she is the reason my dear husband is the man he is today. Thank you for that gentle reminder!
Aug. 26, 2011 3:39 pm
We all need our reminders, carol! I'm glad you found yours in this post. Best wishes.
Need all the help I can get 
Aug. 26, 2011 5:42 pm
oh my goodness we have the same mother in law. your story really moved me. i am so sorry for your loss. my "ex" mother in law died of cancer last year. she was very much the same as the women you just described,and no matter how much she upset me throughout the time i was married to her son (15 years), i couldnt believe that even after my divorce how much it botherd me when she died, i miss her so much, and wonder if when my mom passes that i will feel the same. my new "mother in law to be" is even worse. just recently i have been very upset with things she has said to me about my home, how i raise my kids, and my job, i feel like nothing is ever good enough. reading your story is exaclty what i needed to hear right now! oh my goodness! its good to know that at the end of the day they have taught us values that maybe our own mothers have been unable to teach. going forward no matter how hard it is, i will look at her comments in a different light. thank you so much for making my day and feeling a sigh of relief after the last 3 weeks feeling like hell. you have no idea how much your story has helped me.
Aug. 26, 2011 6:32 pm
Marianne, I've been gone for most of this month and feel as though I have missed out on so much. I haven't had a chance to read all of the responses you've gotten, but somehow I'm sure there is a a ton of support not only for you and your husband, but for the courage it took for you to write that beautiful tribute. I lost my own mother at the age of 29 and have never, ever had a day go by that I don't think of her. When my husband and I got a divorce, I was fairly close to my MIL, but because of circumstances she chose NOT to choose sides, thereby casting me aside. It was a death of sorts with a woman that is still very much alive and a very surreal experience. I'm very sorry for your loss and am sending you a hug and squeeze from someone that really cares about you.
Aug. 26, 2011 7:36 pm
OMG, Avon. If anything happened to the marriage of my son and wife, I'd NEVER give her up. I love her dearly. So you had two losses. How could anyone let that happen? Love to you.
Aug. 26, 2011 7:40 pm
Need all the help I can get: your story has my heart in a knot for you. You must only think positively. I chose for a few years to not have anything to do with my MIL. It just didn't work. We were intertwined too deeply--maybe because in my heart I knew she was right about a lot of it. I wish you much love and luck (they are maybe one in the same!).
Aug. 26, 2011 7:41 pm
Avon, I just don't get it. How could anyone let you go?
Aug. 26, 2011 8:45 pm
Marianne, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your MIL. Over the years, many women have been a significant influence in my life. The two biggest, my own dear Mama and my mother in law. And, for totally different reasons. My mother couldn't cook a lick, but was the wisest person I've every met. My MIL was the best cook (to me) on the planet, but only had a 3rd grade education. I learned lots from both. My Mama's been gone for 4 years and I miss her terribly. I suspect I always will! When she died, I told my sisters, "We're orphans." That how I felt. A 56 year old orphan.... Isn't that odd? Our Father died 10 years prior. Please go give your husband a hug and have him give you a hug from ME. For, Marianne, my dear friend... I LOVE YOU!!!
Aug. 26, 2011 8:47 pm
Oh, and Marianne... if you knew Avon like I do, you would be even more perplexed how anyone could let her go. She's kind, and funny, and smart and a good friend and all the things you hope your own daughter would turn out to be. I love her too!
Aug. 26, 2011 9:27 pm
Candice, you are so sweet. Thank you! I love you, too!
Aug. 28, 2011 1:13 pm
This was a beautiful expression of relationships. We all try so hard to be loved and to show love in our own way. I also pray that my sons and my daughter-in-law and my beautiful grandchildren will know how much I love them...and forgive me when I make mistakes. You are very insightful.
Aug. 28, 2011 3:29 pm
Thanks, Hayley. That's about all we can do is try. Hopefully we all get better at it.
Aug. 28, 2011 6:03 pm
Marianne, I have sensed the kindness that comes from your posts. This blog let us see that the tough experiences you've had have shaped you. You must be teachable as you've been blessed by your MIL efforts. A quality that is good to have. Your depiction of your mom with alzheimers is priceless. A very good blog. Thank you.
Aug. 28, 2011 6:04 pm
And I hope you blog more about your relationship with both!
Aug. 28, 2011 8:30 pm
Thank you, Maureen. We are still finding new areas of emptiness. It is very strange. And, well, I can't think of the right words now. I mean, no more phone calls? How can THAT be?
Aug. 29, 2011 1:59 am
Dear Marianne - thank you so much for sharing from your heart. It touched me - for it reminded me of the lesson I learned after my mother's passing. I often felt cheated/unloved........but grew to understand that she did the very best that she could do in raising her kids. And when she could do no more - she left us in God's hands. Even hours before her passing - she displayed her feelings that I (her daughter) couldn't do things the 'right way' and that she must take over and do it herself! While that hurt at the time - that was my mom. And regardless of any of that - she loved me and I loved her too. May God bless you and help you to treasure precious memories.
Aug. 29, 2011 5:46 am
Robbybaby, you display great forgiveness in your comments. Thanks for sharing.
Aug. 29, 2011 6:24 am
Marianne, I am very sorry to hear of your Mom in Law's passing. I guess we all love in different ways and for those of us that love quite openly, we find it hard to understand people that are not of that nature. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and love very openly and with tremendous trust. Oddly, I tend to have many in my life who are the polar opposite. I feel compassion for many of them; not having the joy in their lives and hearts that I feel in mine and with that compassion comes forgiveness. Just know that you loving her in your way was a wonderful gift and one that just might have ticked her off a bit!! I often thought my grandfather was slightly annoyed that no matter what a misery he could be, people still loved him unconditionally. I will be thinking of you as your heart heals, xo
Aug. 29, 2011 7:06 am
Sweet words, Carrie. Thank you! I appreciate it.
Aug. 29, 2011 7:54 am
Marianne, I too, am sorry for your loss. The wisdom we glean from the older women in our families is priceless. In my family each older woman taught me valuable lessons and I miss them all more than words can say. While it is easy for me to say, "I love you" to family and friends, some of these women were more comfortable with SHOWING it...many times with food and cooking traditions, making certain that they could pass it on to someone they trusted who would in turn pass it on. Having three daughters, I hope I have made my great grandmother, grandmothers and mother proud.
Aug. 29, 2011 8:32 am
Avon, I am so upset to hear that your MIL abandoned you. After all, you are the mother of her grandchildren. Crazy! I told my son years ago to not ever make me abandon a friendship with the loves he has brought into our lives. I have maintained friendships with his exes and if he even says a word, I remind him why they became precious in my life. I wish you the best kid.
Aug. 29, 2011 8:35 am
Dear Marianne: I don't know you, but you must be a great person. I never felt close to my mother or mother-in-law. We moved to Fl after our family was all out of the nest,there fore I am not close to most of my grand kids, sorry now but can't go back. I went in nurses training after our kids were gone. Your blog has given me many things to think about with my own family.Love and Bless you. Dee.
Aug. 29, 2011 8:57 am
Cynthia, using those words, I'm so sure that you have done what you set out to do! Mauigirl, isn't that the truth! I mean, Avon--of all people! I don't think anyone should have to choose sides! Dee, we each have our own way. You probably found nursing as your way to express what pained you in other ways. Best wishes to you!
Aug. 29, 2011 2:31 pm
Marianne, your writing is beautiful and I loved reading every word. Thank you so much. My MIL was the opposite of yours. She died relatively young at 63. That was 24 years ago, and I still cry when I think of her. She loved me so much, even more than my own mother, it seemed to me. She told me never to worry what the house looked like when she came over; she said she didn't want it to say on her tombstone "She was a good housekeeper." LOL. She was a terrible cook. And she loved me unconditionally. I occasionally wrote her letters (even though we lived nearby) telling her how much I loved her son, and how my love for him grew every day, and that he was the wonderful man he was because of her mothering. We never spoke of those letters, but I hope she enjoyed them. Thank you for sharing your heart and your deepest thoughts; they will add wisdom to anyone who reads them.
Aug. 29, 2011 3:39 pm
How lucky you have been, Marcella. I am very sure that she knew your love. Thanks for your words.
Aug. 30, 2011 2:51 am
Aug. 30, 2011 4:22 am
Marianne, My grandmother passed away in October 2010 because of dementia. The last few years not many people liked her. They thought she was very hateful. My uncle even took my grandmother said she could live with him a year. Well she lasted 2 weeks till they put her in a nursing home because of how mean she was. I feel lucky that she lived with me before her dementia got too bad. I pretty much took care of her. So me and her always had a great bond. I feel bad for how she treated my mother while at the nursing home here. But no matter what me and mom went to the nursing home to bring her some kind of chicken from either kfc, chick fila or something like that. She refused to eat anything the nursing home made. We always knew no matter how hateful she was that she loved us. When she had a good day she would break down and tell us shes sorry she has been mean. She always thought it was just nightmares. But when she finally got really sick she finally thanked us and told us how much she loved us. I always feel bad because my uncle and kids never heard that well maybe on the phone. Sometimes you just have to forgive and know they try. Its just hard for them to show especially when the get older in age. I'm sure your kids see how great you really are. Hopefully they will always be there for you also. I am 32 and I see how hard my mom has worked for everyone. She always told me her fear is when shes older everyone will forget about her like they did to her mom. But I promised her I'll always be there. We still cook and bake together. Thank you for your words. It reminded me of my grandmother.
Aug. 30, 2011 5:44 am
Thanks, chrissy. Jtill, dementia robs people of their dignity and their spirit, too. Can you imagine your grandmother's nightmares? Your family is very lucky to have you. Thanks for your post.
Aug. 30, 2011 10:04 am
Beautifully written. Sorry for your loss. I think everyone loves in a different manner. Some show it and some disguise it, but it was their way of loving. But who knows maybe that was the way they learned to love from their parents. My MIL is very similar as you describe yours and she is not very affectionate, yet I know she loves all of us. May your heart be content knowing she is at peace.
Aug. 30, 2011 12:10 pm
Appreciate that, lovecakes! Happy day to you and those little ones!
Aug. 30, 2011 10:13 pm
I am glad that I get to read your blog. It is indeed touching and you are one great lady with compassion and forgiveness for both of the grand ladies -- your mother and MIL --in your life. It made me tear up when I sometimes get so mean with my mother. Later, when I know more about Alzheimer, I do understand and let her be the way she is as her care-giver for 7 yrs now. She would always tell me how kind (and I am mean at times before) and caring and that she is being troublesome to me. I would tell her that she is no trouble as it is now my responsibility to take care of her and it's payback time for all the toils and hardship that she has overcome to bring up her kids. I would tell her I love her and kiss her every night and ask for her forgiveness if I am mean to her. She would reciprocate by her loving gestures, too. How can anyone not love such a great woman in our lives. A girlfriend of mine call her the Grand Dame and that is what she is to me now. God bless all the grandmothers, mothers, daughter-in-laws, grand daughters and daughters -- the backbone and future backbones of their children to come. Am I saying it right? Have a nice and peaceful day, Marianne. P.S. Your cooking and recipes are great! I will try them! Thanks.
Aug. 31, 2011 5:44 am
JadedBlueSapphire, we all learn from each other, don't we? I think that a special star hangs in the sky for caregivers of victims of dementias. Thanks for your very kind words.
Feb. 9, 2012 5:07 pm
Marianne, I saw this and had to stop and read. I remember how my mom was. She passed away 5 years ago and I remember how she nagged me. "You should have ..........." "You shouldn't have .........." She had lung cancer, she only had a few months to live. During my childhood I remember her in the kitchen and at the sewing machine. She never had much time for me. There were 3 of us children and she worked part time then as we children got older my mom went to work full time. My dad had his own business but paying the bills and insurances and other things well, there was never time for parenting, guidance, but we 3 children seemed isolated from one another. I never heard the words "I love you" that often. Now that I'm married and have 2 children I try to be a mother, parent, wife, and it's not easy but take it one day at a time. I say the words "I love you" when my children heave for school, for hanging out with their friends (not in front of their friends), every night, even when they get into the car. My mother was pretty much like your mother-in-law. She grew agitated (sp), angry, upset, even depressed. Some days were good. It's crazy but I miss her.
Feb. 9, 2012 5:09 pm
heave? should be leave
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About Me
As a child of Swedish parents who always cooked, I have always loved to serve up my love to others through food--just like my folks. Most of my favorite family memories are a result of meals, families sitting around the table talking, parties with good food, good wine, sparkling conversations.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite foods depend on the time of year, the occasion, and my hankerings. I'm easily coerced into changing my mind by mere suggestions (I am Libra rising): a bit of meat--yum; a pancake--I'm ready; potatoes--now what! Desserts, well, that's a whole new ball of wax! Whew!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Swedish pancakes are really a trademark I copied from my mother. These crepe-like pancakes are cooked on a cast iron griddle, spotted with sour cream and jam, rolled up and then sprinkled with syrup. I dare you to eat just one!
My cooking triumphs
When I cook vegetables and am actually able to eat them, I consider that to be a triumph! I grew up with a botanist father who grew EVERY single vegetable possible and could NOT for the life of me eat them. I'm the only one of four children who would sit at the table for hours until I finally convinced them I wouldn't eat. Now, only a few, and then mostly only raw.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married more than 40 years ago, I bought a bag of peanuts from someone "giving" them away for some charitable organization. Naive, yes. I made a meatloaf (supposedly a very good recipe) using those stale, sour nuts and ended up throwing the "result" against the sink when my husband suggested that perhaps this was not really an edible meal. I have since learned better ways to handle disappointments!
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