My mother-in-law is gone. The event came and went so quickly. A big event for us but a mere wrinkle in the history of the world. We gathered Friday, all sitting around in the living room where she entertained us so many times. It was almost like any other gathering. The TV was on. We chatted, about nothing in particular, while periodically checking our phones. We flipped through old photo albums, remarking and laughing at the old outfits, the young faces, the special events. An occasional photo would trigger a memory, and tears would form, sometime concurrent to a smile.
But there were distinct differences that made this get-together stand out from those of the past. She was not there. She will never be there again. But she was just here half a day ago. It's scary how the world can crash in on you in just a few minutes.
We laughed and chatted and sat quietly and remembered. But the air was somber. Our faces were red and puffy. The children ran wildly outside, oblivious to the changes. But she was not there to tell us what dinnerware to use. She was not there to direct the cooking. To wipe and scrub everything meticulously.
Her face smiled happily at us from the portraits that hung on the wall and lined the cabinets and counters. She's gone. But there she was, smiling at us from all angles of the room.
During dinner, Ryan looked around the room and oh so innocently and so casually asked us, "Where's grandma?"
We had explained earlier in the day that grandma had gone to heaven. But his three year old mind just didn't seem t grasp the meaning of that phrase.
"But where's grandma?"
The thought of that moment catches me at random times throughout the day. Driving home from church. At the grocery store. Standing at the sink doing dishes. It always catches me off guard and forces upon me a torrent of uncontrollable tears.
I'm happy that she is now cancer and pain free. But I'm sad that my husband lost his mother so young. I'm sad to say goodbye to the sweet, loving woman that I have come to know. And I'm sad that my children will not see their grandma on this earth again.