Last April, for Spring Break, we came to visit my mother-in-law and father-in-law. In fact, that’s where I found myself yesterday morning, in Ohio. We arrived Saturday night in time to watch the Reds score five runs in the fifth inning with my mother-in-law, then watch the Pirates tie it in the ninth, and win it in the eleventh inning with home runs by the same batter. The reds lost, but, I digress. I usually do, apologies.
It was an odd spring break, while most of our contemporaries were enjoying time away with their kids, B and I were dealing with end of life issues with her older sister and her father, my father-in-law. We still are. B’s sister passed away in April, and her dad passed away in June. We are reeling. While B has been driving back and forth to Ohio, I’ve had the kids. It’s easier for us because of our flexibility during the summer. I am relatively free.
I couldn’t have been more fortunate to have found the family I did – my in-laws are like second parents, like friends. Several years ago, I began joking with my mother-in-law that she was my favorite mother-in-law and she retorted that I was her favorite son-in-law. Every now and then I’ll start a conversation with, “you know, you are my favorite mother-in-law….” And she will respond in kind. We’ll howl and sip our coffee and talk about the day or what is happening, or just talk baseball. She’s a big Reds fan and part of the reason I pull for the Reds. As for the ‘favorite’ business – it is a no contest, as she and I are the only ones of each kind. I suppose it would be a tight contest if my brother-in-laws were still around. I lost one to divorce in ‘92 and I lost another when he passed away unexpectedly in ‘03 at the age of 52. Both were great men and treated me like a younger brother. I certainly could’ve used their support this spring and summer.
For Spring Break, we divided and conquered – B went to Ohio and I went to Michigan with the kids and the dog. We, the kids and I, went to Michigan to ski and relax while she went home to her parents to help her sister and her dad, as well as her mom. It’s a complicated story.
Regardless, her mom is still in her home and doing well. Her dad was dealing with dementia and steady decline in his physical capacities – he’d lost a lot of weight and was struggling to walk and get around, as well as dealing with balance issues. His decline began a few years ago in 2011 or 2012 and he began requiring daily assisted living care in the summer of 2012. It was difficult for all of us because until then, he’d lived a fairly vigorous life – gardening, working, playing, fishing, and just plain, living. My kids have many wonderful memories of grandpa up at the cottage or at Christmases or other visits. Continue reading