Last night I had a great conversation with Kaz’s mother, whom I still call my mother-in-law even though I’m a widow. She’s a lovely woman, intelligent, gentle and sweet, a former social worker who used to work with teenagers in the D.C. school system. We had met only once before Kaz got sick, but saw more of each other during the year of his illness. She helped me take care of him in the very end, and we were together when he passed away (she on one side of the bed, me on the other).
Though it was a sad and stressful time, the experience bonded us. Kaz used to tell us (together and individually) that he wanted us to keep in touch after he was gone. “It means the world to me that the two of you get along,” he would say. Privately, I promised him that I would look after her since he wouldn’t be able to. He was her only child and she was getting older.
Anyway, last night, when I was sharing with her the Vermont saga, she reminded me of a moment we shared with him the week before he went on hospice. We were having lunch in the hospital restaurant, talking about movies and television. Kaz told his Mom that I had worked in many areas: directing, writing, producing, editing. On a whim I asked him, “So, what do you think I should focus on the most?”
He thought about it a moment. “Well, I know what a control freak you are,” he said. “And the best way to have the most control is to write. I think you should focus on writing. That way you can control everything.”
“He knew how talented you are,” his Mom told me last night. “And he believed in you. So I think you’re doing exactly the right thing. You’re following your passion and dreams, and that’s exactly what he would have wanted you to do.”
Sometimes I feel like our shared experience helps keep him alive in some way. She knew him one way. I knew him in another way. Together, we remind each other of who he was, who he became, how he grew, what he believed in, what he liked and what he didn’t.
The irony is that she lost her son but gained a daughter-in-law… and I, who lost my mother 20 years ago, gained a mother-in-law. I think Kaz saw this before we did. He always had a certain wisdom, as if he could see farther down the road than the rest of us.
December 14, 2012 at 9:32 am
It’s great that you’re still very much in touch with your mother-in-law and that sharing your memories brings your husband alive again. All the best for the future.
December 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm
Great story, well written. Its great when we are close to our in laws. More so when we have lost one or both (in my case) years before. The share that same wisdom and worldy knowledge that we seek in time of need, instead of having that absence. Perhaps she is taking care of you as you are of her…for K.
December 18, 2012 at 1:08 am
Thanks for that lovely comment and observation. I think you are right. 🙂
April 11, 2013 at 6:26 am
What a beautiful post. I was very close to my mother-in-law (she passed away in February) and this post reminded me how blessed I was to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. You are blessed.
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