Honoring My Mother-In-Law Today and Forever

Ten years ago, I wrote a blog post about my mother-in-law, “My Mother-in-Law, the Star,” honoring her and everything about her which made her special to me as a mother-in-law, and special to everyone in our family as our GG, great grandmother, and matriarch of our family.

GG Lee was eighty-eight years old ten years ago.  When she read the blog post about her, she was very touched, and asked that I promise that I would read the blog post at her funeral.  I told her of course I would honor her wish.

I hoped it would be at least a decade before this event.  We, in the family, hoped she would outlive her sister-in-law’s mother who lived to one hundred and four. I had good reason to wish for a decade, as GG Lee was always healthy, vibrant, and active.

Now, ten years after I wrote the blog post, at age ninety-eight, GG Lee still played bridge weekly, knowing all the new coventions, which I do not have enough brain power left to remember, as well as playing mah jongg, bingo and more.  GG Lee participated in all activities at Aston Gardens, living independently, winning trivia contests and many other contests, and of course, excelling at everything she did.  She attended all events, went to all lectures and enjoyed all the entertainment.  GG Lee always made friends easily and had many new friends surrounding her, but few long (we never say old) close friends outliving her.  GG was always younger at heart than many people much younger than she.

Most of all, I think GG Lee loved the weekly Thursday night family Zoom calls including everyone near and as far as Australia, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania and weekly Sunday dinners with her local Florida children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and being with her family.  A few weeks ago, at Sunday dinner celebrating her ninety eighth birthday, I watched her joy as she kvelded (which is Yiddish and means to delight) at the two three year old cousins frolicking in the pool with their siblings, a total of five of her twelve great grandchildren with her.

As I have felt since the time I became part of her family, Mom has treated me as a daughter, not a daughter-in-law.  And, as a daughter, I write this tribute to her today and for forever.

Today, November 2, 2021, is GG Lee’s funeral.  She died at age ninety-eight, too soon for all of us in the family.  However, she died as we all should want those we love to die, in good health and vibrant to the end, having dinner with friends on Friday night, before Saturday night when she died in her sleep.

Ten years ago, I promised GG I would read the blog post, “My Mother-in-Law, The Star,” at her funeral.  I have lectured in front of hundreds to near 1,500 people live but I did not anticipate how difficult this promise would be to keep.

“My Mother-in-law, the Star” posted July 4, 2012:

“Our GG is eighty-eight years old.   GG stands for great grandmother and is the absolute best name as the great grandchild can say GG at an early age and it makes our great grandmothers beam.  I actually thought GG was already eighty- nine years old.  GG is really easy going about everything.  That is why I believe she would be proud that I have told you her age.

For that matter, GG is always proud of everything anyone in the family accomplishes.  She is the first to compliment and the last to criticize.  GG was president of the PTA at her children’s school and active in volunteer organizations, in addition to working in her husband’s dental office.  GG is not a wall flower.  She will walk up to strangers and talk, most often to compliment them about something.   GG is considerate and caring, but does not cross the line to intrude.  I hear her say, I think I have said enough so let’s change the subject.   GG is appreciative of attention but never demands or uses guilt.

At nearly eighty-nine years old, GG lives alone, plays games with friends, is always ready to help us, goes to the casino to gamble (remember we live in Florida), and spends as much time with us as we extend ourselves to her.  We love spending time with her as she is funny and fun to be with, interested in politics and public affairs, and up on the latest news.  GG wants to go up north next month by airplane alone one way so she can see her four great grandchildren who live up there and celebrate her granddaughter’s thirty fifth birthday and a great grandson’s fifth birthday.

GG is my mother-in-law.  Yes, I am very lucky.  I am also appreciative that I have her as a mother in my life.

GG is generous within her means.  She says she wants to see the enjoyment that her gift brings during her life, rather than after her death.  For my sixty fifth birthday, GG wanted to give me a special gift.  There was really nothing that came to mind.  She was insistent.  My husband is into gadgets galore and is adept at all.  I am mechanically challenged.  But, I thought of an I pad. GG got me the top of the line, full of 3G and every option I pad.  For the first three months, I did not carry it with me, but thought, a few times a day, how nice it would have been if I could have immediately found the answer to a question or check my email from any where I was when I had a break during the day.  Now, the I pad is with me always.

At a family dinner, we were enjoying a light conversation about the perfect birthday gift, money no option, in this electronic age, for a three year old, as our great nephew was about to be three.  I said that all of our grandchildren, down to the sixteen month old love an I pad the best.  The best adult toy is also the best child toy.  We debated the child versions on the market.  GG decided that she wanted to buy him a simple version I pad for his third birthday.

Of course, it was now impossible to get him to put the I pad down for a minute.  GG commented out loud that if a three year old could be so proficient at an I pad, perhaps she, at eighty eight years old, could use an I pad.

We went to Apple to get an I pad for GG.  After we showed her the basics and left, GG spent four hours playing on the I pad.  Within just a few weeks, GG expanded her use to playing Words with Friends with me, to playing bridge, hitting slot machines of course, reading best sellers, watching movies or something on computer TV, sending and receiving emails, viewing videos and pictures of grandchildren and great grandchildren, and surfing the net for articles, jokes, posts, news, etc. she finds interesting to share with family and friends.

Every day it seems, GG is trying something new and different on the I pad.  Yes, we do speak to her often, now more times each day, as she has questions or wants to share her I pad skill.   Today, we discussed how she must be expanding her mind, exactly what we are supposed to do to extend our quality of life as we age. She said she agreed as she continued to play on the I pad as we spoke.  I said there must not be too many eighty-nine year olds who have an I pad.  That is when she reminded me she is still eighty eight years old.  I said I am going to write an article for AARP Magazine about her and her I pad.

She said, good, then I will be a star.

GG, you are a star.  You are the mother-in-law I hope to be when our son marries.  You will be with me always.

 

Joy,

 

Mema”

 

GG, may your memory be a blessing to us all.  We thank God for the years we were able to share with you and be guided by you. GG, you are a star and always will be in our hearts.  You will be with me and our entire family always. I honor you today and forever.

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