My suitcase lies mostly packed beside the bed. We don't have a spare room so Monsieur complains just about every time he comes into the bedroom. I am having a hard time finishing my travel preparations. My mother-in-law has been in acute care for 3 weeks and left us today. We went to the hospital to say good-bye and to the care home where she had lived for 3 years to pick up her personal belongings.
The first time that I met her was at Bowen Island about 26 years ago when I, the girlfriend of the time, finally got to meet the Mother. Dressed in matching culottes and top, eager to impress, I was handed a paint scraper and told to start on the window sills.
My mother-in-law was a wealthy woman who never forgot the practical parts of life. The doctor remarked that my mother-in-law was tough and the lady across the hall at the care home mentioned that she had a "good brain." She liked to do the New York Times crossword puzzle, listen to the CBC radio and to play bridge. Later in her life, when her mind was not as sharp, she could still win regularly at trivia.
I have been lucky with my mothers-in-law (I have had two). Each of them has provided me with a sort of alternative mother and a different perspective on life. I stayed friends with both of them regardless of my relationships with their sons. It's good to have older women as friends because there is a lot that one can learn from them.
My mother-in-law wanted no obituary or service. Monsieur will go tomorrow to make the arrangements and I will go back to trying to pack the suitcase. This has been a year of much change.