To Say Goodbye

He went to say goodbye.

To the woman who had given birth to him, kissed his scraped knees, dried his tears, read him bedtime stories, and kissed him goodnight.  The woman who taught him right from wrong, the first woman he loved.

I remember, as a little girl, my grandmother told me when you want to know how a man will treat you, look at how he treats his mother.  I always believed that I would be placed on the highest pedestal if that were true.

I know that he has countless, countless regrets about his relationship with his mom over the past several years.  Busy with his life, and his children, time and distance limited their contact to phone calls.  He hid his dark side from her, and I don’t blame him for that, although I know without a doubt she would never have thought any less of him if he had told her everything.

I wish that our relationship were one that he felt he could talk to me about this, but we are where we are, and he is who he is, a man who does not forgive, or put hurt feelings aside.

If I could talk to him, I would tell him my memories of the woman who was my mother in law for 18 years.  I would tell him how I remember working in her kitchen for two straight days, preparing food for my wedding.  I would talk about going to church with her on Saturday nights, learning his religion from the same person that taught him to pray.  I would laugh when I talked about watching his father run from this tiny, quiet woman with just a hint of fear, when she got the look that said he had pushed her just a little bit too far.  I would remember with reverence how she stood at her husband’s graveside with quiet dignity and grace as he was buried.  I would tell him how much I had learned from her, and how deeply sad I am that she is sick, how I will be relieved for her when her suffering is finally over, but so, so sad for all of us who stay behind.

No one can know, with certainty, what life has in store for us.  I hope that in time, we can all be a family together.  A different kind of family, to be sure, but really, what is a “normal” family?  Being able to put differences aside in a time of sadness, to share grief out of a genuine caring for one another, isn’t that the most important part of family?

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