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June 1, 2009

Tribute

I had lunch with a good friend today. We had just come from the memorial services for the mother of a colleague. Naturally, the conversation eventually came around to deaths and losing those we love. I was so touched by the tribute that she gave her mother-in-law. She said that her mother-in-law always made her feel that she was a daughter and not an in-law. Isnít that remarkable? I wonder how she did that exactly.

I am so fortunate that Markís mother was also wonderful. I can remember her baking cookies for Valentineís Day and then coming to our apartment and putting them on the doorstep. We often spoke about how sorry we were that Kay never knew her grandmother Myers. I think they would have had a great time together. His whole family always treated me with love and respect. He often said that he thought they liked me better than they liked him. It was a running joke with us. He said that Sister Muriel would ask him something and then she would say, ďAsk Jan what she thinks.Ē I loved Mur and she loved me too.

Motherís of sons often have a harder time with daughters-in-law than they do with sons-in-law. Is it because there is that special bond between mothers and sons? Mur loved her daughters-in-law too although she was a very strong woman and until the day she died she corrected her boysí grammar and would give them advice. Fortunately, the boys are equally strong as are her daughters-in-law and her grandchildren. Being with them all together is rather like being in a wind tunnel. . . you just hold on and hope to survive. I love them all.

My mother was a great mother-in-law. Once her daughters were married, she always behaved as a guest in our homes. She never offered advice or criticized, therefore her sons-in-law liked having her around. My mother liked to fish and I remember a time when some of her sons-in-law took her on a fishing trip Ė without any of us! Isnít that great?

As I thought about the things that my friend said about her mother-in-law and great loss she feels after her death, I think that the love was mutual and that her mother-in-law also felt as though she was loved as a mother not as a mother-in-law. My friend has that way about her and I know that I always feel loved when I am with her. This is a tribute, not only to her mother-in-law but to Judy too.

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