Since my beloved mother-in-law Jean died on Monday, the years of her illness have been fading from my memory, leaving me with a menagerie of enduring mental images of her. I’d like to share just a few.
When I became a mother, it was Jean who taught me what I needed to know—and she did it lovingly. Picture me putting my newborn Becky on the changing table for the first time, nervous because in medical school they had not taught me how to change diapers—and I had never done it before.
Jean could have teased me. She could have taken over and simply shown me how to do it. Instead, Jean being Jean, she stood behind me, gently and patiently guiding and encouraging me through each step.
I am blessed with many powerful images of Jean caring for me and my children after I got sick. The one of Jean hugging me while I hugged an emesis basin is not a pretty picture, but it is beautiful.
Lastly, Jean never worked as a registered nurse after receiving her RN. Yet for as long as she possibly could, Jean lived every day with the heart and soul of a compassionate nurse.
Technically, Jean was my mother-in-law. But the moment Ted and I kissed under the wedding canopy, that joyful, beautiful Jean became my mother.
Jean has been a blessing in my life. May her memory be for a blessing.
June 24, 1928 - February 25, 2013