I went to visit my former mother-in-law this morning with a card, flowers, and chocolate. I apologized that her son Rick could not be the one visiting her, that instead she got me. I told her even though Rick was dead, even if I eventually have a new mother-in-law, that she would always be my mother-in-law. I hijacked her box of tissues and wiped at my eyes a lot. We held hands and had a little cry together, but we recovered.
I told her I love her. She gave me kisses and called me "precious." She tried to wrap her head around the fact that her son will be dead for a year next Monday.
Today, I also posted on Facebook an old photo of my mom and me, accompanied by these words:
I have grown up always knowing I have the greatest mom as my mom. She has been an amazing example of a working mom (nurse), a caregiver, and a wife. She is also a comedian, a smarty-pants (though she can fool you with her lack of common sense at times), and a wonderful artist. She has always been supportive, non-judgmental, thoughtful, and fun. People would meet my mom and say, "Wow! I love your mom!" or they would hear a story about her and say, "I wish my mom was like that!" BUT during this last year, from May to May, I've never felt LUCKIER to have her as my mom. She held me on the worst day of my life and stayed with me at night in the same bed. She watched her daughter experience pain and tragedy, plan a funeral, and move forward...but she was hurting too. She took care of my cats while I traveled, she helped me do my laundry and clean my house, told me Rick stories, and she helped me navigate life. I love you, mom, and I wouldn't want any other mom but you! Thank you for being the person you always are, which is the person I always need the most!
After I posted that and my mom read it, she texted me to tell me that the post made her cry, that she loved me, and that Mother's Day was the last time she saw Rick. I hadn't realized that. Rick died exactly 1 week later.
I spent the rest of today with my family - my mom, my dad, both of my grandmothers, my brother, his girlfriend, and my two nieces. I am not a mom, but I have a great one and I know many, many other fantastic ones as well. It's nice to know the world has so many awesome women in it. Today, more than one person told me these words: "Happy Mother's Day. I know you'll be a mom one day." I'm not sure how to feel about that, except to take it as a compliment and move on. I have so much good in my life already, I couldn't possibly ask for anything more.