Pain from loss means that you truly loved someone. The grief that our family has been experiencing lately was due to the passing of my wife’s mom, Barbara Kay.
The old myth about how mother’s-in-law are a pain to the son-in-law didn’t apply to us. We got along really well and she told me several times that she couldn’t have picked out a better husband for her daughter. I don’t think you could ever ask for a better compliment. She had worked as an EMT prior to becoming a nurse, so she understood a lot of the things that I see and do at work.
One of the fondest memories I have of her was when Stef gave birth to our second child, William, and was discharged from the hospital a bit too prematurely. She had to go back in after a few days, which left me with a three year old daughter and a newborn son. Both Barb and my mom stayed at home with the kids to help me out and to allow me to go visit Stef in the hospital. Without her help, it would have been a lot harder and she offered it up with no hesitation. I will forever be grateful for her assistance that week.
Barb ultimately decided to leave her beloved adopted home of Cocoa Beach to join us in Tampa to be closer to the grandkids. I helped her move her modest amount of belongings across the state 7 years ago. Since that time, she made so many memories with both of the kids just by being so nearby: Sundays going to church then back to her apartment for a post lunch swim in the pool, never missing a holiday, and going to whatever special events that the kids had. Her presence enriched our lives in countless ways.
Up to the very end, she called the shots. She took great comfort in knowing that her suffering was temporary and that she was going to join her parents along with God in heaven. The memorial bar crawl and beach ceremony in Cocoa Beach was exactly what she wanted. I think that her spirit delighted in seeing people she had touched in different eras of her life all got together to celebrate her and meet each other. The Atlantic waters were chilly, but the morning was otherwise perfect for us to help her join the ocean she called her backyard for so many years.
Much like the Ron Jon’s surf shop up the street from her beach home, she was one of a kind. Her loss will be felt for many years to come by all of us at different times, but that is the nature of grieving. Over time it will get better, but it never goes completely away. That’s how you know you loved someone, your heart hurts right in the spot where they live.