Jan 28 2009

Requiescat in Pace

I don’t remember exactly when I first met my grandmother-in-law; probably about two years ago.  You never know what you’re getting into when you start meeting your intended’s family, but I remember the feeling of relief: “Wow, she’s great; one more mark in the ‘pro’ column.”  I don’t know a lot about her younger years, but in the time I knew her, she was one of those women who loved to cook for the men in her family and watch them stuff themselves.  I was sorry I couldn’t oblige her by scarfing down her pies and potato dishes, because she clearly would have loved it.  I did my best with what I could eat, though, and she tried to accommodate my diet as best she could.

We didn’t sit and chat a lot, because my soft voice and her hearing aid problems weren’t a good match; but I could tell she liked me, and the feeling was mutual.  She was dedicated enough to her family to want a good guy for her granddaughter—and probably outspoken enough to let her objections be known—so the fact that she seemed to approve of me meant a lot.  She had some good stories, but mostly she seemed content to sit and listen to family around her and know that they were healthy and happy.

Three Grandmas

Three Grandmas

One of our favorite pictures from the wedding is this one a friend of ours took of our three grandmothers sitting and talking together.  Looking at it, I’m struck by how alike they are: three ladies who have a heck of a lot of toughness and determination under those sweet exteriors.  Modern society would probably look at them and say they were too quiet, spent too much time at home and in the kitchen.  But in those homes, it was their quiet strength that raised a generation that still reflects the way they ran those homes.  Without a lot of fanfare or spectacle, they built families—good ones.

I’m told that, in 1997, my grandmother-in-law had heart problems that made the doctors suggest that the family visit quickly because she might not make it.  Apparently, that was the first of several such hospital vigils over the years, and each time she defied the doctors’ predictions and went back home to cook for her family some more.  Yesterday afternoon, that toughness and determination just weren’t enough, and Wilma B. passed away, after most of her family had a chance to visit with her.  I’m very glad I got the chance to know her, and to become part of her family.

Photo from Flickr.com

Photo from Flickr.com

Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine; et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. (Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May she rest in peace.)

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