In the days and weeks since my mother in laws passing this past July there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought of her. I miss her so much and I feel a little lost at sea without her.
I was a lucky one I got a great mother In law and she became a close friend.
To know her was to love her. She was really special. When you spoke with her she made you feel so important. She never wanted the conversation to dwell on her. Though closer to her end time she did suffer and we did talk about her. We tried to make her feel nearly as good as she had made us feel over the years we knew her.
Doris always made you feel like you were a great person. In her eyes you were the best. If her son loved me then I was a rock star.
Just knowing her made me feel like I wanted to be a better person. Not because she would judge you because you fell short but because she saw you in a way that maybe you had never seen in yourself. She was good and kind and you wanted to be good and kind. And just maybe bc such a good and kind person could see you in this way -just maybe you were those good things she thought you were -and you just walked a little differently -maybe more confidently maybe more happily or you acted more kind to others.
She herself was a quiet soul. She didn’t want a big deal to be made over her. We spent hours on the phone. She listened to my problems or just things I did since our last conversation. We talked about her life too. Our phone conversations are my most precious memory I have with her. Being together for our many family dinnners didn’t always allow for the intimate conversations that the phone brought. We were one on one. I was hers for that time. And she was mine.
I was always awed at how far her love spread. She was close to cousins and nephews and nieces. And not once did she make you feel like you had to be anyone but yourself and never did she make me feel compared to anyone. Everyone in her life was as important as the other.
That doesn’t mean she never got upset with anyone. She did. On rare occasions. Usually her dismay was understandable and it came from her fierce love and protection of her people. What she wanted most was for all of us to love eachother. Especially after she was gone.
There are a lot of us. Six sons and wives and grand and great grands, nieces and nephews and cousins and removed cousins, and friends. We all loved her and we all miss her so much.
Since she’s been gone I’ve run the gamut of emotions. I have wondered a lot am I really as good as she thought? I know I wanted to be a better human when she was living and I continue in that endeavor. But death makes you think of the short trajectories our lives have. Some run shorter than others. Doris lived 91 years. But I’ll bet she thought it rushed by. Whether she felt that like I do I don’t know but she loved so well during her time on earth. And in my hindsight of my life I see things that I’m not proud of. Things that I wish I could undo. Am I really the person she thought I was? I don’t feel that way now. But I hold on to the fact that she loved me warts and all. Because I know she saw the lessor sides of me. Me frustrated at my kids, me stressed as we hosted family dinners, probably even me angry. She knew I wasn’t perfect and she still thought I hung the moon. That is a gift I was given from her.
I asked my husband Kevin if he thought any of us were as good as his mother thought we were and he said “no – probably not.” We both laughed and cried a bit. Doris Sweeney saw the light in everybody.
In hindsight there are so many things I’d like to change. I don’t like how fast the sun rises and sets these days. But on each sun rise I can try to be the better version of me – the one she saw in me. She may not be here to put shine on me when I am tarnished but I can still try everyday to be that person she saw in me. I will try. I will.