The Sad News of My Mother-in-law

Easter 2024

I don’t remember how much I’ve written about my mother-in-law’s battle with cancer. She was diagnosed with colon cancer a year and a half ago. I’d taken her to the doctor’s for bronchitis (I think) and the x-ray tech caught a bit of her abdomen in the picture. The doctor brought me aside and showed me the mass, explaining where it was. Within two weeks she was diagnosed, went through surgery, and began chemo. We were navigating a whirlwind of emotions.

Richard, Sr., Carolyn, Richard, Jr., and me from our wedding

Carolyn was a stoic woman taking everything in stride. Or it seemed so. After a year of chemo, she just couldn’t continue the treatment, so she began maintance chemo. Even that became too much for her frail, 90-pounds. This time we had three weeks of waiting and anguish. It is difficult to watch someone you love suffer in pain.

Eventually, she suffered a stroke and, after a long hospital stay, went into the nursing home with hospice care. She died quietly in her sleep last week. We had a beautiful funeral service and laid her to rest next to her husband of 53 years.

We are now trying to find our footing in this new way of living. Richard visited her every day, and we spent Sunday afternoons swinging on her porch, chatting and visiting with friends and family. They were informal, 0pen-house visits. We never knew who might drop by for a few minutes or an hour. Oddly, those Sunday afternoons were very much like the way our parents and grandparents spent their free time. They called this time together une lavay or a rest. It can be used like our word rest can be both a noun or a verb.

Sundays and most days are going to seem strange for a while, I’m sure.

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