A little less than two weeks ago I had to got through the unfortunate experience of laying my Mother-In-Law to rest. What a completely different experience than when my own parents passed, but for different reasons that you might think.
When I picked my wife up from her house and met her mom the first time it didn’t really go very well. The first few weeks of our relationship took place at summer camp so it was almost a month of us being together before I actually came to her house and picked her up for a date. I’m a pretty shy person until I get to know someone, although some people may say the opposite. I don’t recall really saying anything to my future Mother-In-Law, but when I asked my wife about it a couple of days later she mentioned that her mom wasn’t very impressed, or didn’t like me. I was 19 and this was the first time I had dated a woman to the point on meeting her parents so I didn’t know how to act or what to expect. Over time I’m pretty sure that she tried to convince my wife to leave me. I deserved it, I didn’t do anything to change her mind in the early years of our relationship. I know that as my wife and I both grew up and changed, so did my Mother-In-Law’s opinion of me.
About ten months ago she called my wife and asked her to accompany her to a doctor appointment to have some tests done on some abdominal pain. My wife immediately thought the worst, I think we all did. We were right to think the way we did, and we were all correct about the diagnosis, she had developed stage one pancreatic cancer. The doctor was pretty sure it had been identified early enough that removal and maintenance chemo should take care of it. This was news to me, because until before this I was under the impression that pancreatic cancer was basically a death sentence. I understand it now can be controlled similar to diabetes. She was up for the fight, as I figured she would be, since she had already beaten cancer once in her life. My Mother-In-Law was a very tough woman in many ways.
After many months of treatment and some other problems that developed, we think from the treatment, Barbara Miller was called home to God on June 23, 2018. This was a shock. My wife had just brought her home from a chemo treatment the day before and she was in good condition. Through her whole treatment she was still eating well, there were a couple of times we had meals with her and it was not uncommon for her to eat as much as I did. Her appetite was still there. We knew her time was limited, but we thought we would have a few months yet. It was a shock to say the least. We know now that she is now longer suffering, no longer having to be strong and fight. She is at peace.
This experience with her death is different from what I went through with my own parents. The obvious difference is that I would go through a different set of emotions than I did with their passing. I loved Barb, but it goes without saying that this was a different level than what I had with my parents. The biggest difference in her passing compared to my own parents is my understanding of death. With the strengthening of my faith I’ve come to a better understanding of what death is all about. I processed this death from a much different perspective than I did with my own parents. I’m pretty sure I still would have processed their passing with the same outward emotions that I did, but the everything that I processed internally would have been vastly different.
I haven’t stopped praying for my Mother-In-Law since she passed away. The prayers I say for her now are for different reasons. I hope by these prayers she knows that I will do everything I can to make sure that her daughter is comforted as well. I have to make sure my wife makes it to Heaven so that she can be reunited with her mother as well as with Him. I have to do this, I don’t have any other option. This is what I’m called to do. There has been few things as clear to me in my life as this. I cannot fail.
Rest in peace Barb. Thank you for everything you were able to do for my family while you were with us.