Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday. I’m not sure how old she would be today – late 70’s? Early 80’s? I’ve never known anyone for such a short time that made such a huge impact on my life.
The obvious thing is that she raised John to be the man I feel for. But for 6 months, from September 1983 to February 1984, she became my friend.
I hadn’t known her but for a few weeks when John and I got engaged. She made me feel so comfortable, I didn’t have any fears about temporarily moving in with John and his parents while looking for a job and a place of my own in the unfamiliar territory of Chicago suburbia. I lived there for close to 2 months. Dorothy and I would get up and have breakfast with John before he left for work. Then we would lounge around for a few hours, look through wedding magazines, talk and watch Oprah. On those mornings, I told her things I never told my best friends. Then we might go out to lunch and/or shopping, and I sort of looked for a job. We ate out every night. After I found a job and got an apartment, Dorothy and I shopped for a bedroom set for me and John - their wedding present to us. I will never forget her rolling around on the water bed while we were filling it for the first time, trying to get the air bubbles out. Oh to have a video camera…
Dorothy was the person that introduced me to the profession of purchasing. When I knew her, she had been a buyer before getting laid off. Are you kidding me?! People get PAID for BUYING things?! Why didn’t anyone mention this glorious job to me while I was in college??!!
I miss her. I’ve said it for over 25 years and I will say it again – I truly believe that God gave us those precious few months together because without them, I would have missed out on a big piece of who John is. But sometimes it’s hard not to think about her without feeling cheated of time with her - for me and John, for Jim and Hannah, for Diane and Mike. She died very suddenly, a few months before we were married. I still can't help but feel she should have at least been at that ceremony. She would have been the ultimate Grandma. I’m sure she would have spoiled our kids ROTTEN. Hannah has been told many times that she is just like her. It would have been nice for her to see that for herself.
Mrs. K., I only knew you for a few months. I can only imagine how your children grieve, and only hope I can impact someone's life the way you did mine.