Mother’s Day and mother-in-laws


With Mother’s Day approaching I was struck by the impulse to send Will’s mother a grandmother’s card from Katy and some pictures of her. She had asked for pictures in the letter she’d sent me at Christmas time. The one where she all but said she still hated me though the Christian in her could only forgive me. The length of time between her request and my impulse was not influenced by the less than pious tone of her only letter – only form of contact really – with me since the infamous phone call of the fall of 2006. The one where she’d found God and wanted us to exchange forgiveness. That was 9 months after Will died and the only contact she’d made herself. She had preferred to conduct her business with me through emissaries but I had put an end to that at Will’s service and informed all her lapdogs that I wasn’t talking to her “people” anymore as she knew my number and presumably my name as well as being able to dial a phone herself. Have I ever mentioned that she and I don’t quite mesh? Everything is personal with her even when it has nothing to do with her at all. She sees slights and outrages between every line written or uttered and no one has suffered the pangs of neglect and loneliness as she has. She could be my youngest sister’s long lost twin. She is the incarnation of every victim mama I hand-held through their child’s middle school experience when I was a teacher. I have limited patience for such things.

Lately though I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t much of an effort to send her photos every few months. She has been sending cards fairly regularly since Christmas and though Katy hasn’t shown the slightest interest when I have given them to her and explained who they were from (she remembers quite well who her paternal grandmother is and is her mother’s daughter when it comes to shrugging things off). there may come a time when she might want to correspond. Visits at this point are not under active consideration. (Truthfully, Rob can’t even prevail upon me to be much more civil and if he can’t – no one can.)

The card I chose was as generic as they come. Not a word about fond memories or love or affection. Just happy mother’s day grandma. Very matter of fact. Though interestingly warmer than the tour guide chain letter I typed up to describe the pictures events and tell a bit about Katy. Rob noted that there was no greeting or salutation even. I printed a second copy to send to Will’s aunt. No card there though.

“Not signing them even?”

“Do I have to?”

I find my former in-laws to be almost as much a burden as they were during Will’s illness when they could never find time or inclination to help out on the rare occasions I bothered to ask (because the answer was always – “Sorry but we’re busy”). I wish I could neglect them completely but as indifferent as I am to the idea of them, I do think they are interested, a bit anyway, in their deceased brother’s only son’s daughter. A bit.

My mother-in-law is living in a nursing home now. I found this out from my best friend who works for a care service that has been providing in-home care for MIL until recently. Apparently MIL can no longer live on her own due to her health and has no family or friends to help. This can only mean she has finally used up everyone she knows. People only mean as much to her as she can get out of them. I know that Will would be disappointed that I can’t get past the past and help her out, so I will do this photo/update thing to assuage that – not guilt because I truly don’t care about the woman at all – feeling he would be upset with me.

Everything will go into the mail in the morning. It might be there by the weekend. Sending mail from here to there is an imprecise thing.