Just in case there really are windows in the floor of heaven, or better yet, they have access to the internet there, I’m writing this letter for my mother-in-law to read.
Sometimes I’m still amazed when the tears fall without warning, but they still do. This week it happened when I read this saying, “Thank you for raising your son to be the man of my dreams.” Oh how I wish I could tell you this in person – turn the saying into a cross-stitch or a painted plaque for your wall; then wrap it up with love and watch your hands unwrap it, and look into your eyes after you read it - my own eyes certain to be holding back the tears of gratitude as I look back into yours. But I can’t. 15 years now and I still miss you.
I wish you were here to see what an amazing man your son is. A man who loves me, and your grandchildren, deeply and well. A man who has his priorities right, one who looks forward to getting home to us at the end of the day to simply enjoy ‘life’ with us. Yet a man who works hard, who helps make the world a little bit safer and better place, everyday in his career. He provides well for us. He is a man of integrity. He is stable, trustworthy, and always calm under pressure. I’ve had more than one person whom he works with ask me, “Does he ever get mad?” to which I simply respond, ‘no, not really’. They simply find it amazing that someone can be so calm. I seriously can count on my fingers the number of times he’s gotten angry in the past 20 years. He is faithful and steadfast. His arms are a safe place for me to fall each night. He laughs easily. He makes sure we have fun. He makes wise decisions. He’s patient with me and all my mood swings.
Thank you for letting him ‘fix’ so many things in your home growing up. For letting him cut apart frogs and sew them back up (you may or may not have known about that one!), for letting him take apart radios and tvs and tinker with cars. For trusting him with home repair projects and believing in him when was trying to fix things. And for telling him thank you when he finished. He is so incredibly handy. There are very few things he can not fix. I’m constantly amazed at what a great problem solver he is!
He’s taught me that even though life can be hard, really hard, it still goes on and we can still live a happy and full life. He told me you taught him that. After you lost his dad, you found strength and courage to raise your family and make a happy, secure childhood for them. And you took him to church and told him about Jesus and he saw you believe in God throughout it all. Thank you for attending childhood concerts, and all his sporting events, and especially for all those drives you made to pick him up from college so he could come home and see me! I imagine you were weary at times, and shed a few tears of your own. Please know that it was worth it all. You raised an amazing son.
In fact, I’m sure my two sister-in-laws could say very similar things. You’ve actually raised three amazing sons. I wish you could be a part of all our families. I wish all eight of your grandkids could know the warmth of your hugs and the comfort of your handmade blankets. And I really wish I could tell you this Thanksgiving how very thankful I am to you. I will continue to love your son deeply every day ‘until the day after forever’!
With love and gratitude, Cathy