Monday, November 23, 2020

My Other Mom is Gone

I remember the first time I met her. My then-boyfriend had spent a bit of time describing his mother to me, but his description did not adequately prepare me for who she was. 

When I first saw her at the airport, I can still see her face to this day. It was stern but welcoming; however, I was not put off by her. I was never afraid of her and always felt comfortable around her. She was staring straight ahead, with perfectly coiffed hair with an outfit that displayed her status in this world. 

But it was her face that struck me. At first glance, she looked nothing like my husband; her complexion was similar to mine, and we were about the same height and size. It turns out these superficial commonalities cemented our bond over the years.

When she finally spoke, there was a warmth to her voice, a giggle not far from the surface. I liked her from the moment I met her and loved her soon after.

She herself was bruised by her first marriage but was happy to see her oldest son take this monumental step. I've never understood mother-in-law jokes because she was a friend, my other mother. We did so much together, and it was in the mundane of life that we connected - gardening, cooking, shopping. My mom loved to shop, so I taught her the American way: always look for sales, keep your receipts, and if you didn't like it, return it. She, in turn, taught me how to refine my taste and aesthetic. Together we were the dynamic shopping duo.

We both had a love for shoes, and we were the same size; we spent significant time in shoe warehouses solving the world's problems as we tried on shoes. Shopping was an excuse to hang out, to talk, to bond. We'd try on outfits and laugh or critique each other. People wondered if I was her daughter because we always had such a good time together. I was!

But it wasn't just the shopping; it was an understanding of what it meant to be a wife and mother and how to do so without losing yourself, with dignity, class, and honor.

I'm going to miss my Mother-in-law, affectionately known as Aunt Las (though she never fussed about what I called her).  She inspired me in untold ways while understanding that dreams never have to die.  She had a second career where she rose to become the Managing Director of her organization in her late 50s.

She was the epitome of hope. If everyone thought something could not be done, she would find a way and get it done. And then she’d smile that smile which I never got tired of seeing as it embodied all of her - her eyes twinkled, her dimples dimpled, her voice trilled, and she relaxed. I will miss her wit, style, sense of duty, organizational skills, and practical nature.  

What I've realized is that my mother-in-law became to me and others what she craved. She was a good friend, the embodiment of kindness, a shoulder to cry on, a comedian, and a wise soul. She took whatever life dealt her in stride - well dressed in high heels until she couldn't. I have missed her every day since her passing.

Until we meet again.

Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
1 Corinthians 15:54,55

PS - My aunt called me to check in on me, and she said, "your other mother is gone." I knew then that I had to keep the title of this post.

PPS - I bought a pair of pumps in honor of my other mother! They reminded me of her; every time I wear them, I will remember her.

PPPS - In one of our final conversations, she joked about the warranty expiring; how everything in her body seemed to fail all at once. She laughed frailly. I marveled that she still found levity in a grim situation. We surely could laugh together.


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  1. I'm so sorry, Nylse. My other mother was one of my favorite people. We were so close and I still miss her much. Thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute. God bless you!

  2. What a beautiful tribute, Nylse - and what a blessing that mother-in-law-daughter-in-law relationship can be when both reach out to each other! I want to be like her! I miss my MIL all the time. I learned unconditional love from her! As a mother of sons, I want a DIL just like you! ~ Maryleigh

  3. This is just beautiful! My Mother-in-Love is such a gift to me. I’ve never had another person encourage me more or love me so unconditionally! I don’t know what I’d do without her! I’m so very sorry for your loss of your other mother!

  4. I'm so sorry about the loss of your mother-in-law. She sounds like a wonderful person and I can easily understand why you loved her. I believe that kindness is like rain drops on a pond. The ripples from the rain drops spread out and touch the ripples created by other raindrops. Kindness is like that with other people. The kindness of one person reaches out to embrace another and another. Both you and your mother seem like people that embrace that idea. Though your other mom may be gone, she lives on within you in the memories you have of her, in the things she taught you, in the kind of mother-in-law you will be some day when you have children and they marry. Thanks for sharing your love for your mother-in-law with all of us. It was a lovely tribute to her.

  5. A lovely tribute to your other mother. I was also very fortunate in that I was very fond of my two mother-in-laws. Thank you for sharing at #WowOnWednesday.

  6. Nylse, first, I'm so sorry that your other mother is gone. You had such a gift in her. This is such a beautiful tribute to her. It sounds like she has imprinted an amazing legacy on the lives of many. I'm saying a prayer for you.

  7. I'm sorry for your loss Nylse. What a blessing to have that kind of relationship with your mother-in-law. She sounds like a good friend and person.

  8. What a beautiful tribute to your mother in law! She sounds like a truly amazing lady. My heart goes out to you and your husband at this very difficult time. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post at the Hearth and Soul Link party.

  9. This is such a beautiful tribute to your other mother. And how blessed you are to not have understood mother-in-law jokes! It sounds like she was absolutely a one-of-a-kind truly special human being. Thanks so much for sharing a bit about this wonderful woman with us all. Sending many prayers to you as you heal and celebrate her life.


  10. What a lovely tribute! Thank you for sharing your personal story with us at Embracing Home and Family!


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