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People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”Unknown
Everyone has different kinds of relationships with a single individual. Some people have known someone their whole lives, while others may have known them for just a few years or months and some for days.
I believe that people come into our lives for specific reasons and vice versa.
You are very lucky if you get to have an unbreakable bond or honest connection with another person. Let me point out, that I believe that not everyone shares the same type of bond with someone and that’s completely ok. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced this with a very small handful of people in my lifetime.
One such connection I’ve had is the strong bond that I’ve been fortunate to have found and shared with my Mother-in-law, Jean. Yes, you read that right and we do get along just fine!
We first shared a phone call when I was living in Monterey with my pre-teen son, Nick. I was planning on moving to Florida to continue a relationship that I was started with her son, Randy while he was in town in a temporary job assignment.
She told me often that she was so happy that I came into her life and her son’s life. “He needed me!” She’d say, which made me feel so proud.
She had no qualms about expressing her feelings. She would build me up, talk to me when I was struggling or in a crisis and would always give really good advice. I learned a lot from her!
With that initial phone call that we shared in early 2014, we got on from the moment we first spoke and the amount of love, support, encouragement, positivity and warmth that I have felt from her has stayed with us over the last 5 years that I’ve been honored to have known her.
Jean is my husband’s elderly mother. She’s 83 years old and is a true survivor. She’s fierce, independent and like my Norwegian Mom would say she is “full of piss and vinegar!”
She knows what she wants and doesn’t want and is vocal about things when she needs to be. She is head-strong, she tries to do the right thing in life, she’s opinionated (what old person isn’t), experienced in life and love and is super sassy at times.
She is also ‘old-school,’ traditional and classy. She loves to get “all dolled up” with beautiful clothes, meticulous makeup and she doesn’t hesitate to show off her prized jewelry collection whenever we’d go out.
Another cool example of how classy she is, is that she hand writes thank you cards and then sends them via snail mail. She’s a lot like my Mom in fact, they even shared the same red colored hair. I wish they would have met one another.
As I write this, my Mom-in-law, “Momma Jean” as I like to playfully call her, she is in the Mayo Hospital in Jacksonville, 5 hours away from me. She has suffered more than 5 strokes and is in hospice. I hate it that I can’t be there with her now, even though I am told that she doesn’t recognize anyone in her immediate family. I am currently in the middle of my 5 day a week radiation treatments for the breast cancer that I had a few months ago. So, I thought that I would write this as a dedication to her, she already knows exactly how I feel about her because I’ve expressed it often in the past.
I’m so happy that I was able to meet Jean and have her in my life. Everything between us hasn’t been perfect or all a bed of roses but at the end of the day we had mutual respect, care and affection for one another.
We ironically also had a lot in common, both of us are survivors, divorcees and had been single Mom’s to name a few similarities, so we could easily understand each other and could sympathize when we told each other stories about our past.
Our relationship evolved over the years, I can proudly say that it felt like she is my Mom. I just got her and she got me. She is again like my own Mom in many ways, so I knew how to interact with her.
Jean also helped fill a big void in my life because for a stretch my Mom and I didn’t have much of a relationship, we lived far from each other and things were strained between us, so it was amazing to be able to get “motherly’ advice and spiritual counsel when my Mom wasn’t able to be there. I could call her up any time and have a pleasant phone call with her, that meant the world to me!
An update just came in around 5 p.m. tonight, August 4th, Jean has passed, peacefully and painlessly. I am crying as I write this and sad, but still able to find solace in the fact that she is no longer suffering. She “gets to go see her loved ones in heaven” as she told her son Randy, “I am ready!”
My heart goes out to my husband and his family now. Randy was able to be there by her side at the time of her passing, that brings me peace because he has been so good to her over the years. And Jean has been so loving and just plain good to me and to my son, Nick.
It was just a ‘Win/Win’ relationship between us!
I have lots of good memories of her in my mind and she will be in my thoughts for some time I suspect. I can hear her now saying “Hey darling! How are you?!”
I am proud to be able to write that she has made a wonderful impact in my life and in so many other people lives as well. She had lived what I believe is a good and full life. She will be missed greatly!
I know exactly why she came into my life, when she did and I’m so very grateful and thankful for my time with her.
“I will always love you Momma Jean! You have made my life better for knowing you and have been a great example to me, rest easy up there!”
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