This isn’t my typical column, but I am sharing this as a tribute to my mother-in-law whom we just lost last week. This was read at her service, but I wanted to share how we all felt about her, and the kind of woman she was. A little something I aspire to be every single day.
I didn’t think I would have to write this letter to you for many, many more moons to come. I’ve been telling your sweet Kelly how “jipped and shorted” I feel for losing you. Even though I have technically known you my entire life, I’ve truly been “in” your life for the past 6 years. So I just feel like I was scratching the tip of the iceberg of life knowledge and philosophy I was gaining from you, on a daily basis.
I’ll never forget when I knew that regardless of where mine and Kelly’s path headed, you and I would remain in constant contact; and oddly enough that was on mine and Kel’s first date, that happened to be on your birthday, November 2nd, 2006. You remember, you were there, and Paul, and Justin, and other friends also joined us—now how many girls end up marrying a guy who takes her on a first date with his entire family? This girl! Because I loved you from the very first day, oh and Kelly too.
I woke up on the morning of October 13, 2012, trying to figure out how to say goodbye to the woman who welcomed me into her life, her heart and her arms unconditionally—no questions asked. I took the elevator to the 17th floor, just above your room at Baylor, and I sat there as the sun rose over the horizon, Dallas was coming to life, and the lights at the Cotton Bowl were being turned on for the big Red River Rivalry game that was taking place later that day. And all I could think about was one of the kindest most beautiful women I’ve ever known was leaving this world in about 3 hours. I know they say preparation for someone’s passing is easier, you get to say your good byes, and thanks and talk to them and the Lord…but saying goodbye is never easy.
Even though I only had 6 wonderful uninterrupted years with you, you gave me so much. You did in fact welcome me into your life and Colin too, without hesitation. In fact I think you loved us before Kelly realized he loved us; but the day your sweet son proposed to me I know was a highlight in your life. All you ever told me was it took him a while, but he finally found his angel, the one you and he had been waiting on. And to be honest Memom, he was the one I had been waiting on too. So I thank you, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the wonderful, kind, patient, and big hearted woman you are for giving your son to me and our Colin; which in turn gave us your Todd and Zachary.
From you I take a new found ability to love with an even bigger and more open heart. My first Christmas Eve at your house was a bit overwhelming, and you know it was. You stood by me, holding my hand trying to explain to me who this wonderfully loving but very big family was. And it was at this moment, that I realized you were the matriarch of all matriarchs. You were not there to instruct or organize, you were there for one reason and one reason only, and that was to love. And oh my goodness do you know how to love, you love every creature; especially the little ones you covet under your wings.
Starting with your two boys. You are a momma that wears her heart on her sleeve. Every day you woke up proud of the fact you were their momma. You could see it in your eyes and in your smile. With the nearest mention of Kyle or Kelly, a smile would spread across your face from happiness. And the love you showed Lori and me, was unconditional. I envy Lori, I really do. She has gotten to be your friend, your co-worker, and your daughter in law for 31 wonderful years; but along with that little bit of envy, comes great gratitude, that what Kelly can’t pass along to me from Memom, I know Lori sure can. Even though God never blessed you with a daughter, I know Lori and I were your girls. I know because you told us almost every time you were with us. I can proudly say that I love my mother in law, she was my friend, a teacher, a good mother, and kind to me…and not many people can say that about their mother in laws, right? You were less like a mother in law to me, and more a second mother to me…
And your 4 boys…Tyler, Colin, Todd, and Zachary. This is the hardest part of all for me Memom. Not only will you not physically be here with them anymore, but they won’t be able to receive any more Memom hugs or smiles. Now I know, you will always be here watching over them; at graduations, ball games, dates, and weddings. But I guess this is the selfish side of me…I want you HERE for it all. I got to witness first hand, a miracle…and that is the miracle of love from you. You loved each and every one of your boys unconditionally, whole and true. And they felt it every single day. And we, as your kids, promise you that the memory of their Memom will never fade. They will know your love, your kindness, your smile, and your wisdom.
I just hope that each of my boys grows up with a little bit of the goodness from your heart and soul. And I pray that they love me, just a fraction of how much your boys love you.
I will forever miss you Memom. I will miss your smile, the orange gum you chewed, Memom’s trash (the cereal mix you always made us), the homemade chicken soup you brought us when one of us was sick—but most of all Memom, I will miss you!
Also, I promise to keep your Kelly safe as he flies. I know that was always a worry of yours. But I feel better knowing that you are up there with him now on a daily basis, sitting on the wing of his jet as he glides through the clouds. Now you don’t have to call any more to see if he’s ok; because you will be with him, protecting him.
And even though they are tiny little shoes, I have some pretty big shoes to fill. You were an amazing woman and mother, and I promise to you that I will continue to watch over and protect your babies, and raise them into the best men that I possibly can. But I know you will be there to guide me and lend me a hand along the way. Because I am going to need all the Memom help I can get.
I love you with all my heart,