I love this photo of Wesley (yes, more puppy spam)!
Several times a year, we travel to New York to visit my mother-in-law’s grave. It makes my father-in-law happy and it would make her happy as she took care of the family graves long after other relatives have forgotten. She faithfully made wreaths at Christmas and put flowers at Easter and years ago–on every relative’s grave. And when I lived closer, I would help.
Hard to believe that it is almost four years now, and while I personally believe she has moved on to a better place, it is the ultimate show of respect for my in-laws to not forget, and to visit during holidays and on certain anniversaries. So, at this point we go five times a year: January (for their wedding anniversary), Easter, July (birthday), October (anniversary of her passing) and Christmas and pay respects to mom. As a bonus, we pick up delicacies in NY while we are there.
This time, it is her birthday (bonus points, only one day after!), and on the way, we stopped at Teitel Brothers in Little Italy, Bronx, NY (that is a MUST). Of course I wasn’t allowed in with a dog, so while waiting outside, Wesley contemplated the window display (yum!). We buy fresh bread and cold cuts and eat at the graveyard after visiting.
While at the cemetery, my father-in-law would make the run-down on the ‘who’s who’ and some of their backstory and the occasional “Such a shame, no one ever fixes that gravestone/planting, etc., I know for a fact, he left his kids a lot of money…”. Yep, I get the low-down on the stories and slackers in the family (while keeping myself out of that category).
As you can see by the inset photo, there is a mini-garden on mom’s grave. We change out the flowers every summer and clear them away in December.
I miss my mother-in-law, she was the mother I never had, and she only had sons and accepted me as a daughter. I proceeded her next daughter in law by over 10 years and gave her all-access to her first grandchildren, four little girls to make dresses for and spoil! Her and dad were the only babysitters the girls ever had. To me she was always ‘mom’ and I miss her every day.
The first milestones after her passing were the absolute hardest. I remember the first one was Beth’s confirmation. It took everything to keep it together in the church and not cry. She NEVER EVER missed a milestone or event for us or one of the kids.
Nineteen years ago, we moved to Delaware and for the first time weren’t one hour away. But they would come and stay for a week at a time. The last four or so years, we spoke at least every Saturday morning, but I deeply regret that we didn’t speak more and didn’t make the time to see them more until her diagnosis of Stage IV cancer. Then I practically moved in to be with her as she refused chemo, etc.
Now almost ’empty nester’ myself, I know how she must’ve felt. I miss my girls, I miss my youngest (and she isn’t even moved into college yet, but she’s never home).
So, young mom reading this, special attention to #6 & #7: