Family, Grief and Strength

family isn't always blood

It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since my Mother-in-law died very suddenly and unexpectedly.  In a week she went from being completely healthy to dying of stage 4 ovarian cancer.  The only blessing is she never really knew she was sick.  By the time we knew it was cancer, she was already in hospice.

I’ve just been exhausted physically and emotionally. We’re all Catholic so the wake was Friday day n night. Then Sat morning was the funeral mass at church then the burial. Then we had a lunch at a restaurant. We rented the whole place so it was nice.

Neither of my husband’s brothers or sister are really spiritual (I have lovingly called them heathens for years n my Mother in law used to laugh lol) so I planned the funeral mass. It was beautiful and sweet. Just what she would’ve wanted. No hypocritical church bullshit lol. The priest looked like and sounded exactly like the actor from those old 7 up commercials. My H said his Mom would’ve really liked him.  I thought so too.

I was sitting there in the front on the aisle because I had to do a reading because my brother-in-law changed his mind which I understood.  It really hit me right them, standing near her covered casket and I started crying silently, the tears pouring down my face.  My H took my hand and squeezed while putting his arm around me.  Then of course I felt horrible that he had to comfort me because it was his Mom we lost. But just when I felt so weak and broken, I turned around and looked back at the church.  There a few rows back was my family!!   I knew they would all come to the wake. But I was so surprised and happy to see my Dad, his girlfriend, my brothers n sis in laws, even my cousin at the church. My Mom would’ve wanted that but I was so grateful and it gave me so much comfort and strength.  I know they are all very busy, except my Dad who’s retired, so the fact that they were all there for me?  It helped my heart tremendously and lifted my spirit more than words can ever say.  That’s why even if we drive each other nuts or piss each other off, it doesn’t matter.  When push comes to shove, we are always there for each other and that will never change.  I know how truly blessed and lucky I am to have them in my life.  I’m going to my brother’s house later for a birthday party for my nephew.  They will all be there and I will definitely tell them since I don’t tell them nearly enough how much they mean to me lol.

Life is so short! All that matters is love, family, friends, laughter, joy n yes passion n great sex lol. I know everything does happen for a reason and I am so grateful that I was here for my H when he needed me most. I will continue to be here for him.  But if January comes and there’s still not improvement in the sexless part of our marriage? I will not be living without love, sex and passion and that is non-negotiable.

My Dad

I know I write a lot about my Mom but I hope I also share how wonderful my Dad is. He’s 6’4, a big but gentle man and has always been laid back and pretty hysterical.  He likes to tell stories and jokes. One of the best gifts he gave me has been my ability to always find the humor in ANY situation. He’s very sweet, loving, kind and he has always been 100% supportive of those he loves. 

He grew up in Brooklyn with his older brother and sister. His Dad, a longshoreman, was killed when he was 9 months old. Fortunately, his Mom was a smart and strong woman, ahead of her time. She died when he was 16.

People tell me he changed a lot when he met my Mom. He let down his walls and totally let her in to his heart. She had that ability to tear down walls because like me, she didn’t see them lol. But it took courage to risk losing someone he loved with all his heart. I’m glad he is a brave man.

He coached my softball team from when I was 5-10. Anyone will tell you coaching young girls is not an easy task lol. In the beginning he actually bribed us with bubble gum. He was always kind, patient and he made us all laugh.

He’s a big, tough guy from Brooklyn who I never saw cry til I was in my 30s (a story for another time). So when I got sick and we found out it was severe clinical depression, he was definitely not naturally equipped to know how to act or what to say. But he read what my Mom showed him and learned almost immediately how to help and support me. He also made me laugh when I no longer thought it possible 🙂

When my Mom was sick and we were taking care of her, it sometimes got very stressful and we would get angry. But we couldn’t tell her, so once in a while we’d get mad at each other for the stupidest things lol. Probably not the best way, but we always laughed and apologized soon after.

One time he said something that hurt me very much in my very sensitive state and I mumbled under my breath, “I wish it was you”. Now my Dad wears hearing aids, is almost completely deaf and he wasn’t wearing them. But he heard and I hung my head in shame. He put his finger under my chin and made me look at him. He said “So do I sweetheart, so do I. So don’t ever feel bad for feeling that way. She’s your Mom, your best friend and your soul. I will try to be your best friend too.”

We will always be very close and bonded by what we went through. Only the 2 of us were there when she passed. He adored and loved her for 42 years. He could’ve easily given up when she died. I know he wanted to. But he didn’t for my brothers and I. And for their grandkids who mean everything. It wasn’t easy and it took a few years, but he is happy and doing well.

He met a widow from down South and they spend half their time here and half there. She’s a great lady who never ever tries to be anything other than who she is. Just like my parents, she had a wonderful love with her husband and nothing can replace that. But life must go on. They have fun together and laugh a lot.

My Dad has taught me to be strong and resilient. He also taught me laughter is more powerful than any drug and joy is a recipe for happiness.

My H and I are taking them out to dinner soon and I will take the time to thank him for always being there and for helping to make me the good person I am.

Happy Father’s Day!!!!