Home » Family » Spring is a Good Time to Go

Spring is a Good Time to Go

I had planned on a Sunday post filled with flowers…. Here we are Monday.  Spring means life even if it also brings death. And in this case, my mother-in-law, Jean, aged 85 and almost two months, passed away just before midnight on Saturday – another COVID casualty.  I guess it was fitting for her to die on a Saturday; she did like to go to Church on Saturdays.  She went four-five times per week but loved the Saturday service best. Makes one wonder just why she needed it so much. I have my theories but I shall keep them to myself.

Mother’s Day 2015, first one without Mick

We had a strange relationship, Jean and I. She was not an easy woman to deal with. In one breath I was the best wife, mother, cook; and in the next, I was the bitch who had her locked up.  If she only knew it was me who pushed her son to go get her, to return her calls, to keep her updated on us.  Or that I did what I could to have her be able to stay in her apartment, even if just for a while.  Neither here nor there, now, is it?

She was not a loving mother to her only son during his childhood, though I think deep down she did love him, in her way – it was just a really tough kind of love.  Neither one of them forgave the other completely for past pains.  And they both had plenty.

She did love her grandchildren, even if she could never get them straight.  Austin was the easy one to remember because he died.  And she focused on death.  All. The. Time.  Conversations were always of the genre:  “Clara (or insert any name) died. Cancer/heart attack/insert malady.”  “Who’s Clara? (again, insert name never heard till now)”  “A friend.”  “So sorry to hear that.”

We only saw her once or twice per year; three, on special occasions.  Mother’s Day and Christmas Brunch, Mick would drive the 45 minutes to pick her up, bring her to our place or the restaurant, and, after the event, do the same trek.  We’d offer to take her out once and again and she always refused, preferring to come to our place.  Despite my being the “best cook and baker”, she didn’t enjoy food.

Her relationship with Mick was very complicated.  Mick had shared with me his version of his history and I tried to get her talk about hers. She didn’t divulge very much but got very defensive.  I came to the conclusion that both were pigheaded in their refusal to accept their part!  Still, when we take the time to see, she did the best she could with what she had and she was alone to do it.  And, when push came to shove, Mick was there for her (and then I was) and she was there for him (and for me after he died).  Even if it was by duty.

Mother’s Day brunch 2010

She was pretty pleased to be the mother of the groom.  This was definitely one of her happy and proud days.  Mick insisted on treating her to a shopping spree, make-up and hairstyling as she was not one to splurge on herself. At all. So it took some doing and a threat or two on his part for her to acquiesce.

September 14, 2002

It is hard to say how I feel as I wasn’t truly in a position to create a close relationship with Jean.  Her son kept her at arm’s length and I had to respect him.  He had his reasons, after all.  After Mick died, I kept up the annual pilgrimage to pick her up and bring her over for Mother’s Day until her fall in July 2017.  At that time, it was discovered she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and would not be abe to return to her home.  I spent a lot of time going back and forth doing what I know Mick would have done no matter how much he bitched about it. Because deep down, we do care.

Mother’s Day 2014 – last one with Mick

So my visits with Jean, with or without the boys, were every few months.  With each visit, it took longer for her to remember who I was and always asked why Mick wasn’t with me. To which I would reply because he was “working” – what would be the point of making her cry about her son’s death when in five minutes she would ask me again how he was and why wasn’t he there? And, of course, she never, ever, stopped asking to go home. The staff at Lev Tov said she asked every single day.  Drove them nuts with it.  She was a proud woman who had always taken care of herself and loathed her lack of independence.  She was not a happy woman but those in her circle loved her and thought her such a nice lady.

After a hair-styling at the residence

I hope she has finally found peace, wherever she is.

143 thoughts on “Spring is a Good Time to Go

  1. Ahhh, Dale, I feel such kinship with you in this post. My in-laws were never easy, and yet, whatever their foibles, they were family. Hoping that Jean is finally at peace, and you as well, knowing that you did the best you could in that moment. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well written Dale, I know it must’ve been very difficult for you to “compose” and put into words your feelings. While reading this, it made me think a lot about my own relationship with my mother which has been strained at the best of times.
    I hope Jean has found her peace. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Frances!
      So nice to find you here!
      Yeah, Jean was a number. And I didn’t want to do her a disservice but I don’t believe in sugar coating, either ..
      I hope she has

      Like

  3. I had a great Mom-in-law but I know many wives who could say, “Our relationship was iffy at best.” So I can understand a bit of how you feel and am glad you got some compliments and can remember some good times. It’s hard to know what she learned — or didn’t — in childhood. I hope she finds the peaceful home she was longing for.

    Like

    • Wonder why you ended up in spam!
      My husband also had a great mother-in-law 😉
      Well, I felt this was not the place to list her issues. I do hope she finds peace because she didn’t really have it here.

      Like

  4. Dale,

    This is a connection to Mick, and the complicated history between you two does not change the fact that this woman was a part of that world. And I happen to know how above and beyond you went because you keep that past alive in your stories, in so many things you do in the every day.

    You never looked nor expected anything in return. It’s not who you are. But this tribute is but a very small sampling of what you gave and what makes you, you. Beautifully done. Truly.

    Marc

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing this complicated, tender, real, reflective, generous yet honest post of letting go. We’re complicated people, aren’t we? Some of us more than others, obviously. Oy.
    She was lucky to have you. And she did give you Mick, and sometimes there are blessings enough. Flowers in the thorns.
    Love to you during a tender time, complex as it is,
    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

          • I am good, Busy at renovations. Preparing to retire about this time next year. Fingers crossed. Though am back to work now, I was working on and off at home. And of course writing a bit. Playing with photographs. I honestly just accepted things as is. Of course plans and trips were cancelled. But everyone is the same boat more or less.

            So, yes am okay. How about you?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Renovations… I should be doing some but frankly, don’t feel like it! I have to start looking for a job as the restaurant biz is a thing of the past for me. Bummer I don’t get a chance to read your writing 😉
            I’m actually enjoying this being home and cooking and enjoying life. Makes me wish I could retire now. I am so ready. Ah well…

            Like

          • Am ready for it. If it were not for work obligations I’d have retired in September of last year before this all started. But I hear ya, it is nice to stay home do as one well, at ones own pace. So what would be your dream job? I do believe you could do anything you wanted.

            Okay here is the last paragraph I wrote last night…..oh the entire thing is under the title La Porte Bleue. By the way this is not the beginning. ….

            ‘Dead Bill, his god given name, discovered himself scripted into life on a piece of rag paper. Ripped. Torn. Dispatched from an unimaginative colouring book void of lines. Conception and gestation analogous to a musical note expelled to a vast envelope of symphonic sound bags, then mercifully left to his own devices to learn how to fly. Such a resplendent speck allocated to a flourishing womb, where quite possibly one can only imagine, a harmonious heart once lived. Gradually and true to form, he came in to existence as that which dreams toil and aspire to become. Vivid. Fantastic. And profoundly real. Flesh, it is noteworthy to mention, not all that important nor necessary in the realm of a dream.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I hear ya. At least it’s in your near future. My dream job would be some kind of representative/ambassador – but not sales oriented (i.e. meet quotas – I ain’t even close to being a good saleswoman!). I missed an opportunity within a wine agency – only found out about it too late and when I read the description was like… hey! That’s me! And that is rather kind of you to say…

            Oh wow… You do have une belle plume, Calvin. I’d definitely read more of that!

            Some peeps just have a gift. You’re one of them.

            Like

          • Yes that would be a great job for you. As you are passionate about food and wine. God knows Quebecers do love there vino. Why is that?

            And thank you.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Anything where I can socialize 😉.
            Please. Not just Quebecers… Peeps above 50!!

            And you’re welcome. I really did like it

            Like

          • I like that 61-ish. I am a new 56.
            Since I’m one-quarter Scottish… Seriously. I dunno. I’m good at selling something (freely) I love that I just discovered – but does not require me to do so. If that makes any sense.

            Like

  6. Sending you much love and light Dale. No matter how challenging the relationship, death has a lovely way of reminding us that in the end, it is love that brought us into this world and it is only Love that we can leave behind. I love to think that my brother, who left this world very angry and bitter, has found only Love on the other side. It is all I can carry for him now.

    A beautiful tribute that seems to reflect beautifully your husband’s memory. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Louise. I agree with you. It serves us no purpose to keep any anger or bitterness, especially towards the departed. I hope so for your brother as well.

      Thank you for your kind words. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love and hugs to you, Ms. Dale. Families are such odd and twisted things, and yet we do what we can. I applaud you for carrying on with her after Mick passed.

    So much pain and loss embedded in this, and so much of that pain and loss is just a fundamental part of the human condition. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mark. Families are all that. I had to do what Mick would have. Out of respect for him and for her for bringing him into the world. She did have her moments…

      I think it is. We can try to cut ourselves off but that just brings on a different pain, I think.
      Sigh, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Honest and heartfelt writing. It is hard to allow yourself to put into words what you’re feeling and experiencing, partly because it is all subjective. And as you accept, there was blame on both sides for Mick and Jean. And you were in the middle. Nice story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful heart you have, Dale. 💗 It’s no easy thing to do what you believe is right when the person you serve brings very little joy to your life. I love what you’ve written. Honest yet kind. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your generosity and honesty shine out of your writing, Dale. It’s like the Dylan song “Buckets of Rain” – “you do what you must do and you do it well”. Probably paraphrased it but you know what I mean. There is a vast difference between doing what you must do and doing it well. You did it very well. And wow, your sons are a “beautiful reflection” of you and your Mick (another song reference, Funny Girl, somehow appropriate), amazing how one is so much like you and the other so much like Mick. You stuck with Jean until the end and one thing’s for sure, in the far distance when your boys partner up with their choices, you will be a great mother-in-law.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Jilly. It took me all day to write the friggen thing. Didn’t want to pretend all was perfect but didn’t want to be unkind either.
      Aren’t they, though? One of each 😉.
      I sure like to think so (so far, I do all right with the girlfriends that have passed through…)
      You are a lovely lady.

      Like

  11. A painstaking, painfully honest post, Dale. It’s sometimes cathartic to tell it how it is/was. And this sounds as though you feel the better for having written it. I hope that’s the case, because it should be, for all your efforts to deal with a situation you inherited. Condolences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sandra. I’m a believer in being honest (hopefully not too brutally). She was something else but I did what I could and yes, it was cathartic!
      Much appreciated

      Like

  12. May she rest in peace. Complications or not she did have people who cared for her and loved her. Maybe now, mother and son are together pain free…
    You were a wonderful daughter in law.
    A big hug to you and thoughts to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, Dale. I can tell you took such care in writing this, a tribute that speaks truth to a complicated relationship. She was a link to Mick, too, and now she’s gone, so you must feel that ache, even if she perhaps (ahem) was not your favorite person in the world. It sounds like you truly did what Mick would have done, and you were a good daughter-in-law to her. It is even more difficult to say goodbye now to loved ones when we can’t actually see them. She looks very happy in the Mother’s Day photo, and I know she had a better life because of you. Sending hugs to and your sons. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear Dale,

    I have to just add my nods to the comments that have already been made. Whether she realized it or not, (and it doesn’t seem she did) Jean was fortunate to have you for a daughter in law. I appreciate the internal struggles you’ve had during this time. You went above and beyond the call. Brutally honest and well-written, this post gives us a glimpse of a truly courageous warrior-woman…that would be you. Dale the Magnificent. Own it. It’s you. You’re my hero.

    Shalom and lotsa admiring hugs,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Rochelle,

      Your nods are always welcome. I like to think she did, when it was something she wanted 😉 And yes, you know there were moments of rip my hair out but it’s done. We go on, we do what we feel we can and must and then we rest. You are way too kind (but hey, I’d be a fool to refuse it)

      Shalom and lotsa appreciative love,

      Dale

      Like

  15. Again, I can only say: I totally get it…. I know how it felt! I too have to remind my HH time and time again, and again, to call his mum, then he listens to her for 20-45’ and when I ask afterwards, what were the news, he usually says: Oh nothing…. (of any importance or interest). When we visit, it’s mostly me who talks with her, or replies, or tries to entertain – HH is bodily present but not with the rest of him. She had her birthday, we wrote and sent TWO cards, none of which was acknowledged. My 98%blind mum wrote her a card too, no phone call or thank you. All is due, but no consideration for nobody is given. At least since she has moved closer and being back in her youth-related surroundings, she has become a happier person, but she’s such hard work – and YET: She’s my husband’s mother and we thank her for that, repeatedly – even though I have, at a very ripe age – ‘stolen’ her son who didn’t want a younger bride…. Luckily, we’re a forgiving-and-forgetting lot, right?! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oy! You got that right. Sounds pretty much like our mix. You know the first thing she said to me when we met was: “I liked his other girlfriend.”
      Okay then. I responded: “I’m sure she was really nice.” What the hell else can one say. She was passive-aggressive for everything so, yeah, anything we did was not quite right until it was done, then it was great. Exhausting woman but yes, the mother of my love, so… 😘

      Like

  16. It must have been a sad goodbye because so much was incomplete about your relationship with Jean. I’m glad you told the story and hope you will let go now and be at peace. You truly did your best. I would say you were a good daughter-in-law.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Alzheimer’s is the cruelest disease. To both the sufferer as well as the sufferer’s survivors. Sorry for the loss. I think people of that age grew up in such different times they weren’t as touchy/feely as younger people tend to be. Still sometimes, some people savor their misery and foist it on the rest of us. Here’s to peace in the afterlife. RIP Jean ☮️

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is. The sufferer, while they still have lucid moments end up frustrated by the inability to hold on to the memories; the survivors for not being recognized after awhile. My friend brought her father to visit her mother on Mother’s Day. It had been two months since the last visit and she didn’t recognize her husband. He cried all the way home. So sad.
      As for the savouring misery… boy did she ever. Here’s to peace, Jean.
      Thank you, Monika.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I am sorry for your loss Dale. MILs are complicated, but as you say, hopefully she has found peace wherever she is.
    Hubby’s Mum was difficult, and showed no affection towards him , ridiculing or putting him down whenever she could. She didn’t know how to take me, though I tried to treat her the same as my Mum. I have fond and amusing memories, but I have bitter ones too.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh my. I’m so sorry, it’s hard even when you’re filled with mixed emotions. Covid sucks. She sounds soooo much like my husband’s aunt who died a couple years ago at 102. She was hard to deal with too, and we were all she had. She was either in love with us or hated us. And when she had to go into the nursing home we were, of course, to blame. Nothing was ever right after that. She was at odds with her son when I married into the family and I never met him. He died a few years before her, and no one from his immediate family told us or her. We found out accidentally on the internet. After she died we found out that she had a son as a teenager and gave him up. He has contacted us now and we think about how sad it all is….she pined for her son who wasn’t speaking to her, but her first son, the one she gave away had contacted her and she told that son that she wanted nothing to do with him. Life is complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holy moly, Dawn! Goes to show, doesn’t it? There are miserable people out there for reasons we cannot possibly fathom. Things they keep to themselves and we may or may not ever learn about. Life sure is complicated!
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am very appreciative.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I hesitated to click ‘Like’ because there is nothing to ‘Like’ about death.
    You’ve written a beautiful tribute to your mil. You expressed what many feel about in-laws. Some not so much others more. We get what we get. You proved to be a giving and caring daughter-in-law by your actions. These actions will one day influence your boys. We all have to set an example for our children so in the future they know what to do.
    May your heart heal along with your family.
    R.I.P. Jean 🙏🙏🙏
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ah, now your response to my FB comment makes all the sense in the world. Death is hard enough as it is, let alone when you’re left wondering how it goes for those who weren’t always their best self.

    Liked by 1 person

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