Monday, June 25, 2007

Sadness, Memories, and Mixed Feelings

My ex-mother-in-law died late this afternoon at age 94 peacefully with her only child and grandchild, our 20 year old son at her bedside the last several hours. My son had called me in tears yesterday telling me that she was near death.

I brought flowers when I first met Peg in 1976 which she very much appreciated. Over time our relationship became difficult, particularly after she moved to Oakland when widowed. She was a wonderful, doting grandmother. It was very hard for our son to see her lose her independence over the past years. She got her purse snatched, then not that long after broke her hip and deteriorated greatly over the last 5 or so years of her life.

I have memories both of a most caring person and one who could be very, very tough, particularly on her only child. Peg's father had moved their family from Windsor, Ontario to Nova Scotia for work and then died, leaving a widow and three young children. Not being able to support her family, her mother moved the four of them back to Windsor where family could support them. No doubt being the oldest child this greatly affected her for the rest of her life.

I remember the story (just before my time) of when my (now ex-) wife B and her mother visited B's best friend's mother. The mother was explaining how hard it was coping with her daughter living with her boyfriend/fiance (who she later married). Peg was saying how kids were different these days and one had to understand and accept them. B was thinking to herself: "Gee, Ma sure has changed her views dramatically in a good way!". Just after they got out the door, mother said to daughter: "Now if you ever do that, I'll kill you!"

Hopefully daughter and grandson will remember Peg mostly as the good person she was. I will always have my mixed memories. I wish that I had been more patient and accepting of her than I was. She wasn't happy living well beyond when she could control her own life. B will be freed from the burdens the last few years increasingly put on her. Most of Peg's friends have already passed on, but a memorial mass will celebrate her life in her Oakland parish.

I hope that all will find peace within their memories!

1 comment:

Hugo Schwyzer said...

A fine and generous recollection; thank you...