Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Mother-in-Law, a Love Story

My beloved mother-in-law had a massive heart attack Friday afternoon, and is in an Intensive Care Unit in Seattle. My wife is with her, along with her siblings and father, and the rest of us are at home in Portland because we're sick and carriers of upper respiratory germs that could be life-threatening in the circumstances. We wait and hope and send mental messages of health and strength.

I have the good fortune to have had twenty-two years to get to know my mother-in-law; with any marriage, it takes time to get to know the family. When you are the first love interest brought home, and her family has no idea she's gay, it can take awhile for all to adjust. For a history of that, check out the September 26, 2008 entry of this blog.

That chapter of my book was written a couple years ago, now, and the woman has impressed me all the more since. She has been a rock through the challenges we've had with our youngest son, and she is his number one fan. She has been willing to adjust expectations, learn about autism, accept and love him no matter what wild and crazy thing comes out of his mouth, and to believe in his potential. There are so many reasons to love her, and this one is the icing on the cake and so precious to me.

She has also earned my respect more with every year I've known her. She is tough, loyal, determined and wacky in ways that surprise you just when you think you've got her figured out.

Not everyone believes in mental messages. In fact, I'm probably one of the eccentric minority who feel like there's any good in sending thoughts careening up the I-5 corridor and into her hospital room, where she lies sedated and recovering. But I'll be doing it nonetheless, thinking waves of love and rah-rah messages of strength her way. It can't hurt. And maybe it can help.

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