Posted by: amyedwards | October 5, 2008

With a Grateful Heart . . .

Because:

1.  She was my friend long before she was my mother-in-law.  Chanch and I dated (off and on – but that’s for another post) for almost four years before we were married.  During that time, Chanch was away at college in Florida.  Ladrene and I became very close.  I even moved into their basement apartment while he was away.  My rent was reduced, and the extra money helped pay his tuition.  Many an afternoon she and I spent missing Chanch and watching Lifetime (4 hour) movies or taped “Young and the Restless” episodes together:)

2.   She was an incredible mother.  She raised up three wonderful children and loved them unconditionally.  She did her very best to raise them to be godly, first and foremost by setting a godly example.  I was fortunate enough to fall in love with one of them. 

3.  She forgave me after I betrayed her trust and disappointed her.  I’ll not go into details about it now because it was truly forgiven and forgotten, but against her advice, Chanch and I decided to get married during his third year of college.  He quit school and we got married.  She wasn’t too happy about it.  But I’ll never forget standing on the stairway just before she was to go down the aisle as mother of the groom.  She turned with tears in her eyes, put her hand on my face, and said, “Welcome to my family.”  She never brought up the past!

4.  She taught me so much.  Chanch and I were not raised the same way.  What couple is?  That’s why marriage is all about compromise.  So, in order for me to do my part in the compromise and do things the way he preferred, I had some learning to do.  From what I hear, most mother-in-laws are happy to do the teaching:)  Mine was too, but never in a condescending way.  She was always so gracious and never wanted to offend me or my parents for having done things differently.  I really wish you could know just how honestly I can say that!

5.  After several years of marriage, Chanch and I had some marital problems.  At the time, we were living in his parents’ basement apartment, saving money to buy a house.  Chanch left for close to a week.  You can imagine how uncomfortable it could have been for me living with his parents.  And, to be honest, it was a little.  But Ladrene stayed out of our business and didn’t take sides.  She could have easily chosen to believe her son was innocent and in the right, but she knew that separation and divorce was not the answer because there was no biblical reason for such.  So, she prayed . . . and prayed . . . and prayed until he came home and we sought counseling.  (As a side note:  we realized in counseling that part of the problems we had stemmed from bitterness and guilt that he did not finish school and gotten married too early.  She never said “I told you so.”  And for those of you who do not know, Chanch went on to finish seminary just four years ago.   She was a proud Momma!)

6.  She prayed earnestly that God would give us a baby.  I can’t tell you how many times she cried with me during the 3 years we struggled to conceive.  She even paid for me to see a chiropractor 3 times a week for months because someone told her it might help me get pregnant:)  But ultimately, she trusted God to do what was best for us.  That’s why we could not wait to tell her when my test was finally positive.  Chanch was going to her work and would see her first.  He promised he would wait until I could get there so we could tell her together.  Chanch told her we were thinking about changing our guest room wall color and which color did she like better – pink or blue?  She looked at me and said, “Are you?”  Again, we cried together but they were tears of joy!  Both additional pregnancies brought the same reaction.

7.  Family was so important to her.  I realize we all say that, but Ladrene proved it.  If you knew her at all, you knew she had 6 children (the in-laws were always considered her own) and 9 grandchildren.  She was at every birthday party, every school program, every grandchild’s ballgame, etc.  If there was more than one event happening at the same time, she would go to one and send Mike to the other.  It was important to her that we all were supported in whatever we were involved in.  I remember when we were teaching the college and career class at our church, she organized and cooked a fundraiser dinner to help raise money for a winter retreat.  All for a bunch of kids she didn’t even know, but she loved their teachers. 

   And then there was family night.  For years, we would all (Mike and Ladrene and their childrens’ families) get together for dinner at her house once a week.  It was important to her that we all stayed connected and that she got to see all of her grandchildren together.  She wanted them to grow up together and be more than just cousins.  As the grandchildren got older and more involved in extra-curricular activities, we gradually cut family night back to once a month.  Our last family night was the day we took our family picture, just one week before she passed away.  She had already booked October’s family night, and you can bet we’ll all be there.  It’s a family tradition!

8.  She was so much more than a mother-in-law to me.  And I was never a daughter-in-law to her.  We were always family.  I seriously cannot relate to people when they talk about typical “in-law” relationships.  Mine was so different.  I was so blessed!  She would call during the week just to talk to me.  She knew Chanch was at work during the day, but she wasn’t calling for him.  She wanted to talk to me.  I was important to her, and she wanted me to know it.  The feeling was more than mutual.

9.  She was the best “Grammie” to my children.  My grandparents loved me and I knew that, but they weren’t typical grandparents.  There was very little spoiling, and much more griping when I was a child.  Grammie was a spoiler.  She loved Noah, Colby and Addilyn, along with the other 6, more than anything and they knew it.  My heart breaks for Noah because he is old enough to understand and really miss her.  He is also old enough to have precious memories and remember how much he was loved.  But, as much as I’m glad Colby and Addilyn don’t really have to grieve her loss right now, my heart also breaks for them because they won’t really remember Grammie.  They’ll never know how she used to say “Coby” instead of “Colby” simply because she couldn’t get that “l” in there no matter how hard she tried.  And how happy she was when I got my girl.  She always said that everyone should have at least one of each.  If she was anything, she was a “Grammie”.

10.  Ultimately, I am so grateful that I know one day I’ll see her again.  I have no doubt that she is in Heaven now.  In fact, she’s probably irritated that I’m crying while I write this instead of rejoicing that she’s in a much better place.  It is so hard to lose her, and I miss her more than words can say, but I’m so thankful that one day we’ll be together again.  And what a reunion that will be!

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Responses

  1. Beautiful tribute, Amy. She certainly sounds like she was an amazing and godly woman.

  2. That was really beautifully written. I know you miss her so much.

  3. Oh, Amy. I can’t stop the tears right now. I feel the same way about my mother-in-law. I could write the same words about her. Isn’t it awesome that God gave her to you?!! I always say that when I married david I got such a great example of a family that I never had. Most of all, I hope my kids and grandkids can say the same thing about me. What a great woman. I know you miss her so much. You have given her a great “tribute”.

  4. You can tell how much she meant to you by reading this post. I am sure she felt blessed to have you as a daughter-in-law. I had to come back and post b/c I was crying so hard the 1st time (I think Avery thought I was a little crazy:) This is a beautiful tribute to her.

    I also LOVED the song at the end…I don’t think I have heard it before, but now I want the CD. Thank you for reminding us to take each moment and make sure people know how important they are to us.

  5. Amy, i couldn’t wait to get inside to read this after we talked. My tears are flowing again. My mom did love you like a daughter, and I’m so glad I have you. Thank you for writing such sweet (but we both know how true) things about my mom. I miss her so much. I pray that you and I can be the same kind of mom to our children as she was. I love you SO much.

  6. Amy, you have expressed your feelings so well in this tribute to her. She sounds like she was a beautiful lady, inside and out. I also feel that for my Mother in law and feel for those who don’t have that relationship with theirs as it is so special in many ways. I am thankful you knew her for so long and was able to experience life with her beside you. I know you and your family will miss her terribly, but pray you have peace with God’s decision to bring her home. Still in our prayers!


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