Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Tribute to My Mother in Law

I was 38 when my Mom died. I have lots of fond memories of my childhood and growing up years. My mom gave birth to eleven children, eight of whom are still living to this day. In addition to be a busy mom, she helped my dad on the farm, quilted, and did lots of other things. And yet she still had time for each of us. Many of my memories growing up are of working side by side with my mom in the garden or in the kitchen where she taught me by example to be a wife and homemaker.

My husband and I will have been married 39 in a couple of weeks. July 2nd my "second" mother died. It occurred to me that I had the joy of being her "daughter" just as many years as I enjoyed life with my own mother. In addition to having raised my wonderful husband to be the kind, loving husband and dad that he is, her example taught me what it is like to grow old gracefully. She loved gardening and hated the fact in the last two years that she couldn't take care of her flower beds anymore. She loved baking especially shoe fly and lemon sponge pies and sugar cookies. Every Easter she made peanut butter and coconut eggs. We will miss all those baked goodies and sweet treats. She always made sure we had more than enough to eat when we visited.

My children were very young when my mother died and even before she died she was confined to her bed in a rest home. So when my children think of Grandma, it is their Grandma Brandt that they think of. She was the Grandma who took care of them when Mom and Dad were both working and they were sick. She loved having the children come to the farm and spend time with them. And she spoiled them, but that was okay - that's what Grandmas do. Cookies before lunch? Sure, why not. Life is short; a cookie won't hurt them! I do believe something happens in the brain between the time a woman raises her own children with all the rules, etc. and the time the grandchildren come to spend the day!

Both of my mothers lived out their final years as widows and both taught me that life goes on even when a loved one is gone. I never felt like the "daughter in law" since from the moment we were married I was openly accepted as one of the family. In the past two years I have taken her to doctors' appointments and sat with her in the hospital and stayed with her at home when she came home from the hospital. She seldom complained, other than to wish we didn't have to take so much time to take care of her. She loved simply spending time together, regardless of whether we were talking, playing a game, watching TV together, or just sitting.

I love you Mom Brandt and we will all miss you.