My mother-in-law was wonderful. I miss her. I think of all the joys that my life with her son has provided and that she missed because she died a mere two years into our marriage. But her life, her love echoes down to me and our family even now. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday. Her dining room table, the one sitting in my dining room right now, should have been concave in the middle because it would be covered in everyone’s favorite desserts. She loved bustling around the kitchen getting the meal together that she would share with family and anyone else who would pop-in over the course of the holiday weekend. What I have appreciated more deeply with each passing year, since her death, was her grace, gratitude which always leads to joy.
Her love of gardening inspired my green thumb. She marveled at God’s handiwork in each flower in her garden and she shared her observations with me. “Look at this cock’s comb flower, Dana. Feel the velvety flower. Look at that deep rich color. God is something else, isn’t He?”
Aberdeen’s love of gathering and sharing a good meal with those she cherished sits at the center of my memories of her. It wasn’t the fanciness of the food, it was the fact that we had food and plenty of it. She would reminisce about being a child of The Depression, and while she never was truly hungry, she was not always full or satisfied.
There was no such thing as a “throw away” everything could be re-used or as we say today, re-purposed. She was recycling long before it was cool to do so. But her re-purposefulness extended beyond gallon milk bottles to people. Folks that had long been discarded by family and friends, Aberdeen believed could be re-purposed, as well. Consequently, she never gave up on those considered lost. She was grateful for God’s ability to move in the lives of those she loved and for whom she prayed. This demonstrated life lesson has saved me and my middle son’s relationship. I knew that while we were estranged I needed to lift him in prayer and like the prodigal son he returned to us a wiser and better man who was more grateful for the family he to whom he returned.
I am grateful for that my mother-in-law lived her gratitude out loud and boldly, it has given me a richer life steeped in the grace and the hope that she shared with me so many years ago.