Years ago, when I married my hubby, I had high hopes that I was gaining another large family with his many siblings, nieces, nephews and all the cousins in the extended family. DH was the baby of 5...and his Dad had a BUNCH of brothers and Sisters who had a bunch of kids...so the family is really quite large, even larger than my own which I thought was pretty good sized if you count all the extended family.
Being the shy type (I know, you wouldn't know it from my blog...but really I am! LOL) I'm not good with talking to people, but a few of DH's family were pretty good at talking to me so it didn't matter to much. Course there were also some who weren't real good at that, and there were even some who decided they didn't like me to well because I wouldn't come up and start talking...or even say Hi to them, unless THEY started talking first. *sigh* I've never had a problem saying Hi, to anyone who said it to me...but don't always think about saying it first, which may be a little rude...but seriously, why is it such a big deal for ME to say it FIRST? *roll eyes*
Anyway, I quickly figured out that I didn't marry into a "hallmark" family...you know one of those cool ones that were close, and while they may not always agree, would always be there for each other no mater what, and circle the wagon's should the need arise.
For the longest time I held on to the idea that we could still be family....even if not real close, but that finally pretty much got blown out of the water a few years ago when DH's diabetes got out of control, because of to much stress caused by family, and the Dr told us we had to get rid of the stress if we wanted to get his numbers back to doing better.
However, through all the trial's and tribulations....first with me joining the family and trying to get used to new people as a VERY shy young woman, through the final blow up with DH's sister (that also encompassed one or two of his brothers in the end), there was one Sister-in-law (Kathie...married to the one brother who still talks to us from time to time) who stuck with us...and welcomed me into the family not minding that I didn't talk much because she was really good at talking herself and could do it enough for both of us.
I may not have always agreed with her and what kind of wife and mother she was, or even fully trusted her in some respects...but she was always nice to me and didn't make me feel bad if I didn't talk all that much. In fact, she made me feel comfortable enough, that I COULD talk to her lots better than with most of the rest of DH's family. We had times we didn't talk much...especially the past few years (because of a few things that happened) but I've still always considered her one of my favorite sister-in-laws...cause at least SHE would talk to me, when we were together.
She was the only one who would let her kids come visit us for a week or two at a time in the summer when they were teens...there was at least one summer, that we had a couple of them several weeks. It was wonderful to have the kids visit, since we weren't blessed with any of our own and I was so thankful she was willing to share them with us.
She enjoyed some of the same things I did, including flowers (especially Iris) and I'd spend some time at their house while DH was working out of town, when we first moved to Nebraska...because I couldn't go with him then. She helped us out when we moved to our first farm...and again in the move here to Missouri...although I think she was a bit off at that time, I just didn't realize why.
I didn't realize it, but one thing she had in common with me was her aversion to going to the doc. LOL I don't go as far as some people I know...I do realize that doctor's have a place...but I'm not one to go for every little thing, I just didn't know she was that way too.
I hadn't seen her for some time...she lived in Nebraska, and since we moved we didn't go back to visit...we have to much to do here for that, not to mention not much extra money. I talked to her Daughter Abbie some...and Abbie would visit, cause she lives in Kansas City...just a couple hours away. Abbie told me she thought her Mom had had a stroke last fall, because she was having trouble talking...but couldn't get her to go to a doctor because her Mom wouldn't admit there was anything wrong.
To make a LONG story a little shorter, Kathie moved in with her daughter a couple weeks ago, and her daughter finally insisted she go to the doctor...actually the emergency room, because she was getting weaker and weaker. Since she was now living with her, she could more easily see the rapid decline.
After many many tests, and a stroke and cancer being ruled out, the doctor finally decided she has ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). And...she is pretty far advanced in it I would say...not just getting started with it. She has lost something close to 80 lbs in the last 6-8 months and isn't able to walk much now, without some sort of help. She is having breathing difficulties, and chokes so it's hard to eat a lot. Needless to say, she isn't doing to well...and we aren't sure how much longer she will be able to fight the disease, although at this point she is still in denial that she even HAS it, which knowing her she may never get out of the denial stage. LOL
My heart goes out to her daughter...I know at MY age, I'm not ready to lose MY Mom, and Abbie is so much younger than I am (still in her 20's) so it has to be hard for her. While I haven't been as close to Kathie in the past few years, (we had our issue's...even though we got along for the most part) but it's so sad she has to go through this...and sad to think that the one sister-in-law who would talk to me on DH's side will no longer be there at family functions (if we EVER get invited to any again LOL) to hang out with.
I will remember the good times...the laughs we had and fun conversations we enjoyed together. The help she gave us, and comfort she offered in the troubled times. I will remember it ALL...but will try to concentrate on the fun times, because there were plenty of them and even with some of the issue's we've had...I still am more comfortable being with her than most of my other sister-in-laws. (I'm fine with my brothers wife...but that's a totally different situation, cause it's MY family dynamics...not DH's.)
I have been blessed by many things in my life, and will continue to count knowing her as one of my blessings, for the memories she gave us with her kids, not to mention the fun times her and I had. Thank you Kathie, for your love and support over the years, and letting me be a hands on Auntie to your kids.
P.S. In better news... I will share photos of Shasta's baby calf that was finally born this morning when I can get them off my camera! May be a few days...depending on if I'm home tomorrow...or gone like may be the case.