The Loss of Charming Lisa

by Vicki
(Atlanta, GA )

I wasn't sure if my story "belonged" here, as my grief is for my mother-in-law. Then I realized that although she did not share my DNA, she shared the love of her son, my husband, and together we all felt like a family. Lisa passed away about six weeks ago from leukemia complications. Her death was sudden, as no one knew she had the disease until it was too late.

My five years with Lisa were charmed and blessed. She was a gracious, Southern hostess with an impish smile and a sharp mind. She was open minded, generous, and witty. We had conversations often about our world travels, politics (on which we agreed), and literature. From day one she welcomed me into the family and, as I just found out, when she found out Jay and I were engaged she sent an e-mail to her friends saying "I won the grand prize!!" She was a master gardener and a woman of courage. Although her body was never one of radiant health, she always kept her spirited smile up for her family.

She was married to my father-in-law for 42 years happily, and now I watch him suffer without her. I thought I was doing better until I realized that I was just having a good week. I miss Lisa tremendously. I miss Sunday dinners with her and the siblings, watching her move fluidly around the kitchen and put out the nice napkins. I miss how she listened to me, giving me her full attention and showing true interest in all of my stories. I miss her interactions with my husband, seeing her care for him as only a mother can. I miss her whole soul, her flower beds, her eyes and the worlds behind them, her gray hair, her accent, and the way she made me feel.

I wish sometimes that the whole world could see how special Lisa was, how full of life, color, spirit, and richness she was. At first I felt cheated out of more time with her; now I feel grateful that such a woman crossed my life's path even for a day. But that doesn't make these days any easier. I would like to learn to be more patient with grief, as sometimes it feels like the master of my world, affecting everyone around me. Then sometimes I catch a glimpse in my mind of what Lisa must look like now - completely whole, healed and at peace. I put aside what she looked like in the ICU at the hospital, and I remember that warm and wise grin she had. I accept this. I feel sad, and there it is. I miss Lisa, and there it is.

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